Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Flash! Bang!

First, a reminder to read Flash Fiction Online.  The new edition is out, and there's a great article by Bruce Holland Rogers.  It's the first of a series, and I can't wait for the next installment.  He has a livejournal you can link to from the wikipedia article.  No excuses, people.  Writers have got to read, and reading a flash is going to take less time than it will to go to the fridge, figure out what you want to eat, and bring it back to the computer.  

Argh!  We're under attack!  Please stand by ...

Yes, we finally reached the day when we went on our battle cruise on the glorious Lady Washington with the graceful Hawaiian Chieftain.  

I wish I had a deeper way than photographs and movies to record what we experienced.  Oh, wait, hey, I'm a writer!  Woot!  

I'd say it fulfilled a lifelong dream, but since I never imagined it would be possible to sail on a ship with cannons firing, well, I guess I can say it fulfilled a lifelong dream I never knew I could have.  

See the sail folded up neatly along the mast and angling into the boom below the sailors in the rigging?  That's the spanker (first definition on the link), and my job was to manage the brails--the lines that keep the spanker out of the wind until it's needed. Ten people to a side are ideal to manage the brails when we're hauling it in, about half that when we haul it back out again.   During the battle we hauled that baby out and tucked her back tight several times.  Sometimes the spanker sail helped, and sometimes it actually slowed us down depending on the situation with the tight, variable conditions on the river.  The captain made the call, and we'd haul the outhaul or haul the brails.  I had to sling my camera back right quick every time I heard the captain say spanker.  In a different context, I guess that could be considered kinky ...

When they asked for volunteers I thought for certain that every passenger on board would leap up and cry me me me!  But only about a baker's dozen of us, almost a quarter of them kids, ran back to help.  I got to manage the brails on the port side, but then I lost my job to Brandon for a while when he asked if he could take my place.  Later he got promoted to the helm and, with a whole bunch of other kids, ran the rudder back and forth at the captain's command, so I got the brails again.  Yay brails!

It got cold, but we didn't have rain so it wasn't miserable by any means.  The capricious winds made for an interesting fight.  The Lady Washington is amazingly nimble, and I mean really incredible. 

The crew was very welcoming, informative, and patient with their guests.  I highly recommend touring the ship, sailing with it on a sunset or battle sail if you can, or best of all (a personal goal of mine) signing up for one of the family adventures they offer in the San Juan islands.  I probably won't go this year (watch me change my mind as longing for sailing and the sea keep eating at me) but next year I hope to be a passenger on their nature and historic tour of beautiful coastal Washington State.  They do it right.  

BTW, the kid in the lifeguard shirt?  Yep, that's Brandon at the brails.  He was a real shark for the fun posts.  I wonder if he'll become a sailor one day.  I know someday when I grow up, I'd like to be a sailor, even if it's on a wee river sailboat, lazy rigged so I can run her all by my lonely if I have to.  Judging by how the family reacted to the experience, though, I won't be alone unless I beg for it.


The Moody Minstrel said...

Kami, did you get the CD? And if so, did it play?

Kami said...

I did get the CD, thank you! It's sitting on my forlorn pile along with three important art projects, manuscripts that need to get mailed out, on a table that hasn't been cleared in two weeks.

Fortunately I can listen to music while I'm working on other stuff, so as soon as I get a breather I plan on plugging the CD in and listening while working on art, or dishes, or whatever is screaming the loudest at that juncture.