17 September 2013

Wareham to Cuttyhunk: Day One on the Boat

We are excited, apprehensive, and not without some disbelief that we are finally setting off on the boat today.

The forecast is ideal, says Jamey.  A northeast wind that will push us downwind as we travel from the top to the bottom of Buzzards Bay.

He is focused on the boat, reacquainting himself with C.Spirit and her rigging lines and sails.  Familiarizing himself with how she responds to his turn of the wheel, his pull of her lines.

The girls and I are deliberate with our plans.  I even had a schedule written out with four columns, one for each girl, charting out their day of math, writing, music, lunch, snacks, etc.


The thing with Buzzards Bay is that it is a large and deep body of water.  When wind sweeps across the bay, a nice chop and swell are created.  Back when we lived in Massachusetts, Jamey and I loved windsurfing on Buzzards Bay in these conditions. 

Today, alas, the first day we have sailed on a boat in many years, I did not appreciate the swell.  Nor did the girls.

The seasickness started with Sage.  During one of her vomiting episodes, she surpassed her usual togetherness by deliberately keeping her vomit in her mouth till she ran up to the cockpit where she had left her throw-up pot.  Bless her!

The rest of us dropped pretty quickly like flies in a blender.  As we are generally reluctant to use medications, we did not get to the anti-nausea or motion sickness pills in time.

I finally summoned a small amount of steadiness and went down to the back berth to look for the meds and ended up curled up in a knot with the following running through my head:

How Many Ways Can We Die Today?

1. The boat will capsize, and despite its lead keel, it will stay upside down, and we will all drown.

2. The thrashing of the boat will throw us all off of the boat despite our harnesses, and we will all drown.

3. The rocking of the boat will bash us around and smash our heads against the hull.

4. The pitching of the boat will make every heavy and sharp object in the boat a projectile that will fly around and crush or pierce us.

5. We will run into a Big Bad Something (rock, buoy, log, another boat, sea monster, insert Big Bad thing of choice________) that will gash a gigantic hole in the boat, and we will sink and drown.

6. Jamey will fall off the boat and get dragged behind the boat connected by his harness, none of us will know because we are all down below and are totally worse than non-functional, and all of the above will happen all at the same time.

7. We will simply die of seasickness.

Along with all of these thoughts were graphic versions of each scenario spinning through my head augmented by the actual tornado-like sounds outside --  howling winds, loud waves slamming into the boat, loud boat slamming into the waves, creaking and groaning sounds from the rigging.

At one point, I popped up above to find out how much longer Hell on a Boat could possibly last.  Jamey informed me that he had altered our destination point, opting to turn towards Woods Hole out of concern for how the girls and I were feeling.  Unfortunately, the ridiculously strong tidal current in the channel had us totally motoring full force in place.

We decided to abort this alternate plan as it would take the same time or longer to get to Woods Hole as to sail on down to Cuttyhunk.

I cannot remember the rest of the sail down as I finally slipped into the seasick-free bliss of deep sleep.

WHERE WE ARE: Anchored in Cuttyhunk Pond

WHERE WE STARTED: Moored in Wareham, MA, C. Spirit's home port

THERE TO HERE: 34 miles,  NE winds averaging in the mid to high teens, with gusts recorded to 29 mph.  Seas were 2 to 3 feet.  Downwind sailing with lots of surfing of the swell.

Phoenix and I tried unsuccessfully to stave off feeling sick by staying above and taking the helm.

Despite feeling totally sick, Sage made sure that Skye was well taken care of.
Cuttyhunk Pond

Isolated roads.  We saw one or two golf carts pass by.  The only way to get to Cuttyhunk Island is via boat. 

Most of the houses we passed were boarded up for the winter.  We loved how this home overlooking the water had a room made of windows.  The population of Cuttyhunk in the 2010 census was around 75. 

Cuttyhunk was formed by retrating glaciers during the ice age.  In 1602 Bartholomew Gosnold landed on Cuttyhunk after sailing from Falmouth, England and set up a colony that only lasted 22 days. 

We love rocks.