to begin.


as wicked storms rolled into spring park bay tyler, mike and i would plop a 6 ft sunfish into the angry, angry waters. our knowledge of sailing was nonexistent, and our ignorance made us fearless. 3 high school kids were beyond capacity for this mighty boat. and when the gale force winds got the better of our overzealous heeling, we'd capsize.

stretch, stretch to save our fallen crewman, scramble on the belly of the boat, and then heave all our weight on the keel to flip the beast back over.

soaked and with furious gray clouds above, we sailed onward, only to repeat this joyful turmoil.

ooh the beginning.

the answer to a legit experience on the ocean sea comes from a 35 ft ketch named cappella. she's on her way home to sweden. as of 2.17.11 mats, the 45 yr. old captain, is awaiting my arrival in st. vincent & the grenadines.

the following gnarnia is an attempt to document the journey from the southern caribbean and beyond.

i am no writer, i've never sailed in salt water, i haven't journaled in years, i have no idea what to do when i return home…but…i just bought my first pair of shorts in like 10 years…so…

these entires are meant for myself and anyone remotely interested.

this is.

The Valinor Collective

Monday, March 14, 2011

cherry poppin.

on the eve of departure from Bequia (bek-way), as we sat and ate our din din, this gorgeous sun was setting at the mouth of the bay. here, so close to the equator, there's no lingering dusk or long, golden hour like the midwest. there is maybe a 15-20 minute of beauty, then the sun is like, "eff you í'm out." the contrast between the firey golden sun and the deep blue ocean makes the water appear insanely vivid.
the sun finished off its descent just behind this sea cliff where atop rests an old barracks. still chilin are like 4 cannons from back in the day. darkness came, stars were out, and we were left to eat by kerosene lamp

tomorrow we'd set sail.

we said our goodbyes to Bequia, i waved to the three-toothed rasta bro who sold us our fruits and veggies and  then cleared customs/immigration. I officially became a crewman aboard Capella and got wicked stamps in my passport to prove it. unlike europe, these caribs love their stamps and i'm all about it.
we dinghied back to the boat with clearnace papers in hand. it was time to set sail. Capella was prepped. removed the sail covers, took down the sun shelter, deflated the dinghy, filled up with 90 gallons of fresh water and then we were crusing westward out of harbor.

this surging baller status was at near capacity as i stood at the bow. the wild blue yonder due ahead. my right hand grasped the sidestay for balance. I attempted robo-baller status by not holing on, but that was out of my league in ballerville, for i feared falling overboard.

we were actually heading out to sea.

(insert photo when developed)
mats turned us into the wind. i raised the mainsail, tied it off then scurried back into the cockpit to await my next order. the mizzen sail was raised, tied off and i went below deck to snag my camera. this monumentous occasion needed documentation. the genoa was unfurled once we were on course clear of the lee of the island. now she looked like a real sailboat.
we worked in 4 hour watches. my first watch went from 8pm-midnight. the sun sank like a rock and darkness surrounded us and the boat. at the start of my watch, mats went below to get some sleep and left me with the sole instruction of not to hit anything. seemed simple enough.
it was a surreal feeling sitting alone in the back of the boat, darkness everywhere, only hearing the wind that slowly pushed us north and waves breaking on capella's hull. there was this golden sliver of moon that lingered on the horizon and the amount of visible stars was unreal (sorry jim, it might've beat the grand canyon). we were about 75 nautical miles to St. Lucia, and on my first watch i could see the faintest glow of it on the horizon. we pushed on with phosphorescent in the wake.
due to our direction and the wind direction it made for a gnarnia filled cruise. the boat seemed to be in constant chaos, we were heeled over like 20-25 degrees the entire time while sloshing up and down. the simplest action of moving about the cabin took well grounded feet, a bracing hand or two and determination.
not long into my watch the wind shifted and the boat stalled and went into irons. all the sails flapped crazy loud as if they were furious with what had happened. i was alone in the cockpit and we start turning completely around. after a mini pani attack, i calmly called for mats. he awoke and fixed it like it aint no thang.

surprisingly, the only time i felt sick was when i tried reading during the first watch. it didn't help that i was reading about the shipwreck of the Essex and after 90-something days at sea in a small whaling boat, 2 guys were found sucking the marrow out of their fallen crewmember's ones. (thanks, reade) that was when i had to put the book away and groove to some radiohead.
my eyes were getting obnoxiously heavy, and i was doing the tired, dozing, bobbing baby head thing for like 45 minutes until salvation came at midnight and mats took watch.
the wind wasn't on our side and while i attempted to sleep mats viciously tacked into the wind. i awoke to the entire boat shifting to the opposite side and an insanely loud cranking noise as the genoa was brought to the starboard side.

my 4am to 8am watch started and i was damn tired. the novelty of this whole sailing thing was wearing. wearing until the sun rose behind the clouds that hovered over St. Lucia's two peaks. rays of morning light beamed through those fluffy big guys.

(goog images)

we expected the cruise to take maybe 16 hrs. it took 26 due to the wind. finally anchoring in Rodney Bay, we ate mats' bachelor specialty of cooked pasta, canned weiners and ketchup. it was sustainance, that's all that mattered. i collapsed into bed and 13 hours later awoke to the caribbean sun.

cherry popped and i can dig it.

northward for martinique on thursday.

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