We’ve had such different experiences of this last bit of time that it’s rather difficult to pull it together into a coherent post. So we’ve decided to let images speak for us for the most part.
I (Dena) got aboard the Mystic Whaler in Manhattan and we left immediately. The Clearwater Festival was the weekend’s big event, and the Whaler looked great.
My cabin was modest, and short term. I’ve slept several places since this, including the co-ed foc’sle. (Or forecastle, as it is spelled properly.)
As a West Coast girl, I had no idea there was so much greenery on the East Coast. Even very close to the City, along the Hudson, beauty can be found easily by sail.
Back at anchor in New London, I (James) rode the 16-mile round trip to Niantic daily, climbing Mount Motherfucker, Holy Shit Hill, with the occasional Motherfuckingcocksucking Mountain to alternate the pain between my knees and my lower back.
Most of what I (Dena) do on board the Whaler is work – real work. I’ve been exhausted by long days of hard labor, sweating profusely and assiduously guarding against sunburn while at the same time putting on a show of ultimate saltiness for the patrons of my daily adventures. The pauses to tell sea stories refresh me and, I am quite certain, fatten the eventual tip pot.
One fun day, the maintenance task was climbing aloft, harnessed and gloved, in order to slather the mast with Vaseline. Too perfect.
The job in Niantic took a turn for the miserable. There’s nothing like being loaded down with meaningless office work shoved off by a bossy lackey who can’t perform her own job, while at the same time being expected to cut through the cloud of hateful negativity generated by the born-again AA’er who takes all of the good parts of the job away. Leaving what? The bike ride. Every day.
And the occasional stolen moments of beauty on the boat.
As this was happening to James, I was keeping up by short messages and phone calls. My strength was building, my understanding was growing, and I could tell that my job would get easier. James’ got harder and harder; the contrast was not pretty.
So when you’re miserable, you either stop yourself from being miserable or you continue to be miserable. I (James) chose the former. Quitting the job by leaving for lunch and not going back, I emailed my boss a detailed list of all the issues I had with a family marina that was desperately trying to appear corporate.
When I (Dena) told Pat that James had quit his job, she grinned like a loon. She waved the Captain (known as Cap to one and all) over and told him she had great news. When he heard, he danced a jig. Literally. Then leaned in and grinned.
Within two minutes, I was back on the phone with James, extending an invitation to come anchor out with us on the Thames. The only bunk was in the foc’sle and we weren’t even going to sail, but he said yes.
Immediately upon stepping aboard, I (James) realized I was home.
This schooner is not only inviting, but it is loaded with finely crafted character (and characters) that will define this summer for the two of us.
From aboard, New London is beautiful.
Even Groton ain’t so bad.
Shortly after getting underway, Cap offered me a position as crew aboard the Mystic Whaler and I happily accepted.
Unrelated to any of this, I (Dena) have been offered a contract on my first book. It’s not signed yet, and I’m not supposed to announce it until it is, but tired, happy, and now with James sailing with me, it’s the sparkle on my water. I’m going to have a book published!
So here we are, living life, getting paid to go sailing