Man Overboard!

Changing dreams into reality is hard work. Of course, anything worthwhile usually is. Between all the interruptions of holidays, computer crashes, and unscheduled trips that had to be made to take care of emergencies, we finally came to that momentous occasion for all boaters... the shakedown cruise. It's the first time you actually take a new boat out onto the water. Or, an old one you're trying to restore to its former glory, like we are.

The GLORY B. passed with flying colors. Along with the wonderful family crew the Captain put together for the occasion. Personally, I only had one bit of a meltdown. It happened when my son (who happens to be in the Coast Guard and takes these things seriously) decided to surprise everyone with a “man overboard drill.” Because that's how they happen in real life. By surprise. Believe me, one never plans to lose anyone over the side.

Before I go any further, I should explain that as a writer I get very attached to certain things. Odd things, mostly, that have to do with my sense of atmosphere. Shells, rocks with gold veins running through, a particular tea kettle, and the Captain's mustache (which he has had for all the years I've known him). One of my favorite things aboard the GLORY B, other than the mermaid hooks to hang things on, is the life ring that frames the porthole on deck. For some reason, I love that old thing. So, imagine the horror when my son suddenly flings it out to sea when we are clipping along quite nicely and hollers, “Man overboard!”

The exercise being to see how long it takes to get the boat turned around, and come up alongside close enough to recover it, again. Just keeping it in sight all that time was nerve-wracking. Especially when it would disappear for a few seconds in the trough of some little swell of sea. Not that I couldn't replace it with a brand new one if we should happen to fail the test. It's just that it was one of the boat's original items, older than our crew, and one of those magical things that had gained a bit of life “by reason of use.” Sort of a touchstone, you might say.

It took us five minutes to recover. Due partially to being slowed down by about a foot of sea-growth trailing from our bottom that we haven't scraped off, yet. Which is not good enough (if it had actually been a human), but we will get better at it, I'm sure. At least we got it back! Alas, I have no film of it, since the last thing on my mind during all the excitement was pushing the button on the camera. Something else I learned about myself, and will have to adjust to, or there will never be any truly exciting shots of our adventures.

I did get a few pictures, though. So that you wonderful armchair travelers could get a bit of a sense of what it's like to come aboard...