A Travellerspoint blog

Please Continue to Hold an Operator with be with you Shortly

On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!

overcast

St. Paul, MN
Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Life still on hold for the last week and a half. Granted that I’m not exactly just standing by waiting doing nothing. I have had several job interviews and I have sent applications in to numerous more places as well. Again some ship but mostly corporate America. But my sailing adventures have been simply on hold until…….wait for it……….NOW!!! I just found out this morning that the ship will be ready in a day or two and that Captain would still like me to crew as Deckhand for the transit. He is thinking, weather depending, on departing some time on THIS Friday. I inform him that this should be doable. I never did see that sign that I wanted. Perhaps this call is the sign?!? Less than one hour later I see my flight itinerary come across my inbox. I guess that I am leaving in just over 12 hours!!!! Pretty much right where I was 12 days ago. Except that now I have to redo my laundry and start to repack everything. With that said, I’m off to go and get some work done.

Signed Surprisingly Busy and Busy being Surprised,
Kit - Not the Cook and wasn’t the Deckhand earlier but now is again the Deckhand

Posted by kitcusick 23:11 Archived in USA Tagged go geronimo Comments (0)

A Sign

What Sign?

overcast

St. Paul, MN
Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Today is my last day at home before the Geronimo adventure. I am madly shopping, laundry, and packing. I am finally getting REALLY super pumped about the trip except I am not sure if I should go or not because of possible missed employment opportunities back home. I half-jokingly mentioned to a friend that it was too bad that I couldn’t get a sign from above. But with just 12 more hours before I leave for the airport, I figured that the decision was already made right? That is when my phone rings. It is the Captain calling to inform me that the ship has been struck by lightning. Everyone was fine, but it fried all of the electronics. The trip would have to be postponed until repairs could be made, new equipment purchased, and the vessel inspected by the Coast Guard. I was asked if I could simply put life on hold. Well, I reflected back on me wanting a sign from above, so of course I said “Yes, I could wait – no problem”. I decided that this would be the perfect time to sit back and look for that sign that I asked for.

So until that sign comes, you can find me sitting here drinking Long Islands and moping about the house with my puppy dog Anubis, My lady Kate and my dear friend Erin.

Signed Disappointedly,
Kit - Not the Cook and now not the Deckhand either

Posted by kitcusick 23:06 Archived in USA Tagged sign lightning geronimo Comments (0)

Prolog

Again Please

sunny

St. Paul, MN
Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Well here I am again! Long time no blog. Happy May Day! So much has happened since I left the almighty Pride of Baltimore II last December 20th. I thoroughly enjoyed returning home to heart and hearth. While I can confirm the phrase “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” I can also testify that this doesn’t hold 100% true 100% of the time. Even though I was away for a 1/3 of the year, I came home and within 7 minutes of touch down, I was already over the weather. YUCK! Minnesotans, please listen to me when I tell you that there is much better world out there. We deserve better. We long for better. Don’t tell Kate, but I am planning on moving the heck out of state ASAP. I plan on bringing my pup, Anubis along with me. I also plan on forcibly cramming Kate into our car and driving as fast as I can, if needed. FOLKS seriously listen up good and hard – I get that we love our state, our history, our scenic views and all that, but just think of how much fun that it would be to see all of these thing while visiting!!! Live life in paradise and when you get bored take a “vay-kay” to MN. The best of everything. So start packing. I know that I am.

In other news – I have turned into a cranky old curmudgeon overnight. I do not know what happened, but what I do know is, life was better back in my day and these damn young whippersnappers are going to ruin everything. I have discovered just how much I dislike the “shore folk” mentality and how much that I love to surround myself with the “Schooner” mind set. Luckily, this mind set doesn’t require a boat, ship or even access to a water source. I am delighted to report that I have seen this mind set in some of my dearest friends and family, but not all. If you are wondering if you perhaps made the cut, please keep your eyes peeled, as I will be posting an official list shortly. 

Lately, as many of you may be aware of, in my latest endeavors to keep myself in the style that I would like to be accustomed to, I have applied for MANY, MANY different careers. Some of them are corporate careers while others are sailing for another season. Some are short. Some are long. Some pay big while others don’t pay so well in cold hard currency. Basically my life is up in the air.

What I can share with you is that I have been offered a place aboard two different tall ships for short transits. I have accepted both positions and I am currently packing for the first one. I leave in two days to sail Geronimo from Charleston, SC to Newport, RI. The Capt. Has indicated that he expects to make it in 7-12 days. I was asked to be a Deckhand. Yes a Deckhand. No, not the Cook!!!!! Of course the Deckhands take turns cooking on this vessel, so I still get to cook, but I also get to do more sailing work. I really must thank Barb Krasinski, who was my Chief Mate on Pride, and who is the Chief Mate on Geronimo. She referred me to Captain Tony Arrow and basically vouched for me! A sucker is born every day. I am so very excited to be sailing with Barb (Chuck) again. A new adventure with an old shipmate!

Signed Excitedly,
Kit - Not the Cook

A quick blurb from the Geronimo website:

Geronimo is a 69-foot cutter designed by the Ted Hood Design Group specifically for St. George's School. She was completed and launched in 1998 by New England Boat Works in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. She replaced the school's original Geronimo that served the school from 1974 to 1998. The vessel can accommodate up to 13 persons, and typically sails with six to eight student crew and three professional crew. Since the program's inception, Geronimo has sailed close to 350,000 nautical miles with over 1000 students.

Posted by kitcusick 23:03 Archived in USA Tagged geronimo Comments (0)

Spa Day with Friends

Potato Love

Friday, October 4th, 2013

At Anchor while Underway to Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Our voyaging has been put on hold for today. We anchored at 0400 this morning, or so I was told as I slept right through it. I have to admit that I am still rather in a foul mood this morning because of my stupidity yesterday. I wish that I could get past it, but I cannot seem to shake it. I think that what I need today is a “Spa Day”. Luckily enough for me that is exactly what the Captain has in mind – kind of. But first the ship needs a spa day. Since we are at anchor, this is the prime time to ready the vessel for tomorrow’s huge homecoming celebration in Baltimore. I mentioned before that the guest crew were particularly awesome this time around and today they really proved it. We had 12 extra hands for chores all morning and into the early afternoon. All of the standing rigging had to be retarred, below decks needed extra cleaning, repairs made to some wooden blocks, varnishing needed to be done and, of course, brass always needs to be polished. So much work and such fun times were had! I love working together as a team, with a common goal and a common interest. I know that I am personally very proud to call her home and I suspect everyone on the crew would agree. We all have invested so much of ourselves in this fantasy that we call the Pride of Baltimore. I cannot think if any more fitting name than “The Pride of Baltimore”. Pride is what gets me out of bed in the morning, albeit way too early, and keeps me going strong all day long.
Brittany hard at work cleaning out the Galley Bilges

Brittany hard at work cleaning out the Galley Bilges

The sun was blazing today – seriously hot. I decided that a lunch of a selection of cold salads would be the order of the day. Turns out that I was correct! I really wanted Mrs. Beeton’s Potato salad and I had a bunch of potatoes and willing hands of the guest crew to peel. Perfect match right? I sent guest crew members John & Karl up on deck with 10 lbs of potatoes, two peelers and a small bowl of water. The plan was that they would peel and soak until the bowl was filled, then they would bring the peeled ones down to me, so that I could slice and boil them. Load after load came down and they placed them into perfect order. It is almost like they know me! I love a very organized galley, and by that I mean I am borderline OCD on some things. They finally brought down one last load and lined them up – all but one potato which was placed on top of the rest and crooked. It started to drive me a little nuts that it wasn’t lined up, but I was too busy with raw chicken for the chicken pasta salad to fix. When I finally got over to the potatoes I noticed the single most awesome thing. John had carved the last potato into the shape of a heart and engraved “Kit” in it. He said that he had hoped it would cheer my day up a bit. Frankly, it worked! It was nice to remember that even though breaking my laptop sucked, people didn’t. I was surrounded with shipmates and friends, all living the dream together. Thank you John and Karl, you guys rocked! This crew would love to have your crew back aboard anytime anyplace.
Pototo of Love

Pototo of Love


Potato Salad Made with Love

Potato Salad Made with Love


Lunch Buffet

Lunch Buffet

With lunch finished, we all raced to finish up with our projects so that our “Spa Day” could commence. Spa Day for us consisted of Jesse shaving his full beard down into something more artistic, relaxing on the decks in various states of undress and Swim Call! Before I left home, I had seen footage of previous Pride Crews at Swim Call and I really wanted the same chance. I was starting to think that I might miss it now that we were in October but I got it! In a moment’s notice folks crawled into swim attire and jumped, dived or cannon-balled off of the Cap Rail or Head Rig. So awesome! I promised Kate that I wouldn’t dive off the ship, so of course I had to march right out on the Cap Rail, stand tall and dive off. I was nervous, to be honest, because I had never noticed just how high the Cap Rail is off the water surface, but I wanted to face my fear of heights and do it. I do not know just how high it actually is on a tape measure, but as I was free falling head first I had enough time to think “I did it! Oh my god what have I done……..” The splash of icy cold water then shattered my brains, or so I thought. Anyone who has ever swam with me knows that I HATE being cold. No Mother, I didn’t warm up after a while, I was still cold, cold, cold. However, I was smiling with my shivering blue Iips thinking “I did it”!

Shortly after thinking “I did it”, I starting thinking, didn’t we just see sharks a few hours ago???
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Swim Call

Swim Call

I made dinner and then everyone helped each other with dinner clean-up. Who knew that cleaning could be so much fun? I think that when I return back to shore life, I will insist on assistance from all of my friends when cleaning the residence. Ok maybe not, but it would be fun if it happened.
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Clean-Up

Clean-Up

How do you end a perfect day hanging out with friends, floating around the ocean, swimming, eating and relaxing? Movie night! We brought the big flat screen TV up on deck and set it up on a deck box. We all gathered around and watched another $&#%@* Kung-Fu movie. Such potential again wasted! Perhaps next time, right?

Sweet Sleep All,

Kit Cusick
Cook and Proud Shipmate Sailing on the Pride of Baltimore II

Posted by kitcusick 14:05 Archived in USA Tagged friends movie salad potato spa_day Comments (0)

Shark! Morning/Mourning and The Sea Turtle

Necessity is the Mother of All Invention

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Underway to Baltimore, Maryland, USA

This morning was a good morning, like all mornings aboard the Pride of Baltimore II. Wake-ups, Breakfast, clean-up, Shark sighting next to the boat, polishing tables, reorganizing the pantry. Yes, you read that correctly, a SHARK! It came up not far from the ship and was swimming around with the dorsal fin breaking the surface of the water á la Jaws. So freaking cool. I had joked about sharks earlier in the season and had no clue that it was really an option for us. Of course I was the one who really geeked out the most, but the guest crew were not far behind. I could not get to my camera quick enough to capture it, but one of the guest crew got the shot and was nice enough to share it with me on my laptop.

My morning quickly turned to mourning. I was preparing lunch and grooving out to some great tunes with Brittany, who was working on a project, when her mp3 device ran out of battery. I had the brilliant idea of plugging my laptop into the sound system, which means that I needed it to lay on top of the refer door in order for the cord to reach. No problem. I was smart enough to get out the raw chicken that I needed for lunch before I moved the laptop, but not smart enough to get out the cream that Brittany might want for her coffee. Now that I have set the scene, let me give you my thought process. I said to myself mentally “I need to open the refer door, therefore I should move the laptop because it would REALLY suck if the laptop would fall to the ground. OH OH OH this is a good song. I know! I will just hang on really tight to the laptop as not to interrupt this song and sneak the cream out.” I then grabbed my laptop with my slimy, greasy, wet fingers and opened the door just high enough to have my laptop slide out of my grasp and crash to the floor but not high enough to get the %^#*@^$ cream out of the $^#*@^*&^&$ refer. That sucked as my laptop’s touch screen not only cracked, but it also wouldn’t boot. I am my own worst enemy at times.

Depression set in quickly for me with the loss of my brand new laptop, but excitement grew even quicker for the crew and guest crew once they realized that even in tears, I would honor my promise of “Show me wildlife and I will bake treats for you”. Before I could even preheat the oven, SEA TURTLES were spotted from high up on the shrouds. Two new, to me, forms of wildlife in the same day. Are we in the Galápagos Islands? Brittany convinced me that it would be an ideal day for cookies and she wanted to bake as well. I decided to do my Mother’s brown sugar cookies and she decided to make my Mother’s chocolate chip cookies. Before I know what is happening, Brittany has started to form the Brown Sugar cookie dough into the shape of sea turtles. Brittany and I start discussing whether we had to bake all of the dough or what to do with it. This is when it hits us like lightening – if we bake only 2/3 of the cookie dough, we could make Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches. OH MY YUMMY! A hot, fresh out of the oven cookie covered with a thick layer of cookie dough topped with another hot cookie. Yes please, I really needed these in my time of woe. Major win for team Kit & Brittany.
The Greatest Idea Known to Sailor-kind

The Greatest Idea Known to Sailor-kind

I also got some lunch and dinner made and we sailed as well! A day of highs with only one major setback. Some folks like to cry into their beers, however I prefer to cry into a glass of cold milk with a warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich or I would if I wasn’t afraid to get the milk out of the %^$&# refer.

Sweet Sleep All,

Kit Cusick
Cook and Proud Shipmate Sailing and Crying on the Pride of Baltimore II

P.S. If you have followed my blogs you know that I am writing these retro actively and that I have lost all of my photos from this wild adventure until October 4th. You should start seeing more photos in my future entries! Thank you Brittany for the photo of the cookie sandwich.

Posted by kitcusick 14:38 Archived in USA Tagged shark laptop sea_turtle cookie_sandwich refer Comments (0)

Come Sail Away

Homecoming Queen

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Underway to Baltimore, Maryland, USA

All good things must end, I suppose, and being in NY was one of them. We departed NY, NY at 10:40 this morning. I am trying to focus on the positive. I am always excited to get underway and set our glorious sails again. I am also very excited about what seems to be a really decent group of Guest Crew. Along those lines – we have a full house with 18 souls aboard. First of all I get out of doing any dishes for this entire voyage. Second, I might have a chance to do more sail handling because I am not doing clean-up after most meals and there was a lot of sail handling today. We sailed all day and all night and we should continue sailing for the next day or two without stopping. I love voyaging so much, now that I seem to be mostly immune to the seasickness experience.

Baltimore. The Pride of Baltimore II. This is our home port and they are planning a large homecoming for us, as the Pride last saw Baltimore in May. We should be arriving in Baltimore by Saturday. She has been sailing up the East Coast and all thru the Great Lakes, which is where I found her, and back again. This homecoming concept is both exciting and odd, as I am an official Ambassador to Baltimore and Maryland, but this isn’t my home. What will Baltimore hold for me and my Shipmates? Will the public remember the harbor’s crown jewel?

Sweet Sleep All,

Kit Cusick
Cook and Proud Shipmate Sailing on the Pride of Baltimore II

Posted by kitcusick 14:51 Archived in USA Tagged crown_jewel guest_crew Comments (2)

$$$ Eggspensive $$$

Always Eat Dessert First

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

New York City, New York, USA

Provisioning day! In New York! Without transportation of any kind except for a little red wagon. I am serious, a little red Budweiser folding wagon. In Manhattan. These are the thoughts that kept going through my mind as I made Breakfast. I was going to go out before lunch, but I was having a tough time wrapping my mind around the concept of no transportation. The Captain informed me that he wanted me to shop Whole Foods and pointed in the general direction of its location and handed me the ship’s credit card. Great, all this sailor boy needs, right? Luckily I stalled long enough that I had to make lunch and much to my surprise a volunteer from a previous season on Pride stopped by. I invited him to lunch and he offered to go with me to the market! This was a whale of a deal for me. I got great company, good conversation and much extra help in the way of lifting and toting. Off we went pulling our little red wagon behind.

Let me tell you about Whole Foods for those of you who have never been. The produce is amazing, both in color and scent. I mean like, out of this world, dream-like techno color and I know that I have never smelled anything so heavenly in my life. However, like all things in life, this comes for a price. That price is not $7.00 per person per day. Not even close. Actually it is far, far away, in a distant land, especially considering that we are talking about the world’s most expensive grocery store, located in downtown Manhattan, where I needed to pick up a huge quantity of fresh produce, and they mostly only have organic. For example, I needed eggs. Just normal every day chicken eggs. The cheap chipper chicken egg by the dozen that you all have in your homes at this very minute. Guess what they didn’t carry? That is unless you wanted to spend major funds on local farm fresh eggs that were all hand collected by one-handed virgin monk children during a full moon at high tide. However, I was able to find such useful items like quail eggs, other bird eggs, and my favorite item of the day, an Ostrich egg. A frecking fresh Ostrich egg! For only $39.99 each. I’ll take a dozen please.
Only in NY

Only in NY

I was able to fill, heaping full, two shopping carts for just shy of $1000.00 and my first born son and all of my future paychecks. My shopping companion was positive that there was no way that I could get it all in the wagon, but I was positive that I could. HAHA I won again! I was able to pack the wagon like a pro and I even got compliments from the staff checking our produce out. All I had to do was to drag our wagon through Manhattan back to our ship and I was golden.

Tonight was our last night in NY and the plan was to walk to an excellent Gelato shop, which our Deckhand Sam knows about, for a scoop or two. After dessert, it was time for supper! To Little Italy to grab some pizza pie and beers with some of my shipmates and hook up with Demetrios again. After the pies Demetrios and I peeled off and we went out to a couple of bars for more catching up. Another memorable evening spent with great friends.

Sweet Sleep All,

Kit Cusick
Cook and Proud Shipmate Sailing on the Pride of Baltimore II

Posted by kitcusick 15:43 Archived in USA Tagged sam eggs whole_foods Comments (0)

Apple? I Don’t See an Apple

Best City, Best Friend


View Sailing the Seas on the Pride of Baltimore II on kitcusick's travel map.

Monday, September 30th, 2013

New York City, New York, USA

I love these exciting mornings – an early arrival! I was able to get breakfast taken care of and cleaned up in just enough time to get up on deck and see Manhattan come into view. I love this city, so iconic, so utterly unmistakable. That is why I was a little confused when Drew, our Bosun, who was standing with me on the Bow, was looking out at the fast approaching city and asked “Where is Manhattan?” Normally I am the one who has to ask the obvious questions, not Drew. I took a photo of him with Manhattan right in the background to show how silly it was. I sure would love to show it to you all. GRRRRRRR laptop crash.

We approached from the Northeast, and so had to sail down and around the tip of Manhattan and go back up a little ways on the West side. It was AWESOME to sail right past the Statue of Liberty. The Marina where we are able to berth is located at the Winter Garden in the Financial District and I have a great view of Miss Liberty from the ship. Incredible to be able to stay right in the heart of Downtown, easy walking distance to Chinatown, Little Italy and SoHo. I was able to make arrangements to meet up with very dear friends who live here now. You might recall reading my blog entry on 9-24-13 about meeting Maria the fashion designer. I mentioned that I had just worked on a big Jewish/Greek wedding right before boarding Pride. Well, the newlyweds, Demetrios and Talia, live in NY and we have plans to do dinner tonight. Even though I just saw them, I could not wait to see them again. As an added bonus, I had my Isagenix order shipped to him and he would be able to deliver it to me tonight!
Dinner with Demetrios was awesome, and I got to show him Pride. He got the full Monty tour and the only regret that I had was that I didn’t get him up the shrouds to the top of the masts. Perhaps later as we have plans to meet again this week. Does it get any better than this?

Sweet Sleep All,

Kit Cusick
Cook and Proud Shipmate Sailing on the Pride of Baltimore II

Posted by kitcusick 15:35 Archived in USA Tagged new_york ny apple demetrios Comments (0)

Guest Blog from Deckhand Rebecca

Phoenix in Disguise

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Underway to New York City, New York, USA

When I boarded the Pride of Baltimore II in Erie, PA, I was a crispy, crunchy burnt-out sailor coming from six months sailing near Los Angeles. Before that, I had undergone a really awful time in the equatorial Pacific. I was jaded and cynical and bored.

My first memories of Pride blur together as part of a huge trek up a steep learning curve. As part of that crew turnover in Erie, I recall waving goodbye to old crew members, jealous of their ease about the ship, their seemingly inherent knowledge of the way things worked and most of all, their painfully close relationships with each other. Coming from an unhealthy and dysfunctional crew, I could only hope that after this turnover on Pride, we’d all end up so close.

We set out from Erie bound for Boston. My memories of that transit are colored by my own pessimism and trepidation. I remember the crew slowly growing together, learning together, morphing from a group of individuals into one exhilarating creature that pounded the waves and whooped when we hit 10 knots. By the end of the transit, we were beginning to accept who we were again.

We took Rockland by storm. We grew closer.

In Penobscot Bay, we played with the windjammers, saw old friends, and reveled in our sailing abilities. We can do this, I began to say. Next, a transit to Boston: short and sweet and under sail.

Then, Boston. Each of us walked about the town with the confidence of one who has earned his or her place in the city. We worked by day and went out at night, at ease with ourselves and our mission and place in the world. We toured the city by foot, partied with fellow sailors, and got kicked out of Boston Common at 3 AM. We went to the Cantab and danced our hearts out to the Chicken Slacks.

Two crew members signed off and two more crew members signed on. Our vibe was off. During this transit to New York, I recognize the quiet and the stillness of the crew after leaving Erie simply as lacking fellow shipmates. I keep turning around looking for my shipmates, but they’re not there.

Imagine waking up one day with a set of different hands. They function just fine, but the memories and skills aren’t there; they’re no longer yours. In the end, you make do with what you have and make it yours again. The crew will transform and the ship will adapt. We will sail on.

Rebecca
Deckhand Sailing on the Pride of Baltimore II

Posted by kitcusick 15:51 Archived in USA Tagged guest_blog Comments (0)

A Sly Wind Blew in From the North

Out with the Old and In with the New

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Underway to New York City, New York, USA

Today we must sail away from Boston, leaving behind Shipmates Brandon and Alex. Up early today to finish the treats for Brandon’s departure. Yea!!! for no hang-overs for this guy. My track record still stands. My shipmates are not so lucky, some of them need extra encouragement to get out of bed. Poor buggers, if it wasn’t self-induced, I might feel sorry for them. Both the Apple Crisp and the Rice Krispy Treats came out splendidly well and I packed up to-go bundles for both Brandon and Jesse and saved the rest for the remaining crew.

As soon as breakfast is finished, we must shove off and make our way to New York City. I am both excited to sail into my most favorite city but a little disappointed that I must do it without everyone. I am told that this common in this industry but I am not used to it just yet. I am reminded of the movie “Chocolat” starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. The Storyteller says “But still the clever North wind was not satisfied. It spoke to Vianne of towns yet to be visited, friends in need yet to be discovered, battles yet to be fought...” This restless North wind is so similar to sailors. They come and go, much like the wind comes, plays, and then, just as quickly changes directions and moves on.

Let us hope that we have fair winds and fair new shipmates, Jesse and Lydia. If all goes well we should be able to befriend them before we need to furl our sails in New York City.

Sweet Sleep All,

Kit Cusick
Cook and Proud Shipmate Sailing on the Pride of Baltimore II

Posted by kitcusick 14:01 Archived in USA Tagged alex brandon jesse lydia furl shipmate Comments (0)

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