A Travellerspoint blog

Death Bed and the Call of Duty (Recreated from Lost PC)

A Porpoise with a Purpose and Oh Captain! My Captain!

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Halifax, Canada

I will try to contain my emotions for the moment. Today feels like a weather forecast – all talk about Highs and Lows. To start the entry as the day started, we will need to start with the lows. I woke up this morning seasick. Yes indeedy-do. I opened my eyes and said “Oh No – I want to die”. I managed to crawl out of bed just long enough to cancel the normal breakfast plans for the day and decided that I would lay out cold cereal, milk and English muffins with preserves. The smell of the coffee brewing was almost enough to push me over the edge. I was seriously wanting to vomit all over the place, but then I would have to it clean up and all I really wanted to was go back to sleep, not work harder or longer. With Breakfast laid out, I was able to mention to the First Mate that I was sick and needed to go back to sleep for a while. It was decided that the Duty person for the day could take over making lunch for me. I gave Rebecca the Bill of Fare for lunch, Asian Stir-Fry on Rice, and crawled back into bed and passed out. I took two pills before I crashed, however. Please think back to my last posting about pills. Yes, I was that bad. The good news is that I slept right through lunch. The bad news is that every time that I opened my eyes my stomach would flop.

In the early afternoon, I mustered enough strength to go on deck to try to recover while looking at the horizon. Nope. No relief. Nothing. However I got to watch them raise the Top Gallant Sail for the first time. Very exciting! This is the slightly smaller square sail that is raised from the decks above the large Topsail on the For’mast. It goes to the very top. So super cool.

Top Gallant

Top Gallant

I should mention here that we are still within sight of Nova Scotia. We passed Halifax around 15:40. I went on deck again and had a private moment and paid my respects to the victims of the R.M.S. Titanic. The three Titanic cemeteries are all located in Halifax. I was really looking forward to being in this area, unfortunately I still feel sick.

So now, partly because I can no longer wait and partly because this is where it fits into the story chronologically, we saw PORPOISES!!! Honest to God, it was just like the movies - a big pod (20-25) of them swimming right in front of our bow for a really long time (40-45 minutes.) It was incredibly awesome like nothing else! I kid you not, a mother or father and baby were swimming together side by side. It made everyone just melt. They just kept swimming, jumping and rotating around and swimming upside down and zooming all around our ship like we were standing still. I haven’t even mentioned that we were zooming along at about 9.5/10 knots at this point in time. And because they were playing for so long, I was able to take lots of footage of them. The best part is, I got brave and laid down in the head-rigging to get as close as possible to them. AWESOME Footage. I know what you are expecting me to say – damn laptop. HOWEVER, this time I uploaded three files to YouTube before I lost my laptop!

http://youtu.be/NO8mD3Z6jJc
http://youtu.be/QHEmbeGGPBk
http://youtu.be/UOP0kgFuzeM

I must also say that I saw a wonderful thing happen when the porpoises came swimming with us. My Captain is a no nonsense type of Captain when it comes to sailing. He has a great sense of humor though and is very likable. In fact, I find myself wanting to be in his presence for as long as I can to glean any and all knowledge from him. With this said, he can be very intimidating at times, which only raises our respect for him even higher than it is already. In my mind he is everything that a Captain should be. Let me tell you that I was very surprised to see him walk up to the Bow Sprit from the Quarterdeck and lean out over the porpoises and frantically wave his arms at them, all the while shouting at them. My puzzled look must have told the Captain that once again I was lost. He informed me, “The Porpoises come to the ship to make us happy and it is our responsibility to let them know that we are happy to see them, otherwise they will swim away. So you have to shout and wave at them to let them know how you feel.” This brought tears to my eyes watching him wave and shout like a child playing in the sea and it also confirmed my thoughts that he is the ideal Captain for me. Thank you, Captain Miles.

Sweet Sleep All,

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

P.S. I did also cook today, but who knows and who cares what it was because I saw PORPOISES!

Posted by kitcusick 15:46 Archived in USA Tagged captain halifax porpoise top_gallant sea_sick Comments (1)

A Little Bird Told Me (Recreated from Lost PC)

Then There was Silence

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Nova Scotia, Quebec, Canada Still

The seas are still rough. While I have always enjoyed being tossed about in fairly rough waters, it is rather hard to not get sea-sick while below decks. The not so secret way to avoid sea-sickness is to focus on the horizon. The only stable object when underway is often the horizon and if you are able to focus on it you can keep your stomach. The problem is when you are below decks for extended periods of time because there are no windows, ports or any way to view the horizon and sea-sickness is way more prone to pop up. Every ship's cook that I have encountered will tell you that it will happen to everyone at some point. I was once informed that when you get up every morning, check the forecast and if it looks like it might be rough take two Dramamine pills, and if it looks like it might be smooth take one pill. Those of you who know me well know that I HATE PILLS. So that isn’t happening. I am opting to rough it out. Should I ever mention that I took pills, you will know just how bad it really was. My method of choice is to simply pop up on deck often and hang out for a bit until the world rights itself, then return to the galley until almost puking, reserving just enough energy to climb up the companionway ladder to get back on deck. Repeat.

On one of my deck tours I saw more birds on deck. One of them was so cute, he just kept hopping around taking the full tour of our vessel, in and around all of the line coils hanging or sitting on deck. I got some really cute video footage and some decent pics, which you will not be able to see until my laptop makes it back to life.

At this point in my entry, I would like to share a phenomenon that occurs on Pride of Baltimore II. When we are underway voyaging, especially if it is cold or wet out, we are too tired to talk. I have now served many a dinner to a table full of shipmates and friends, who love to share stories, dreams and thoughts with each other at all hours of the day and night but on these inclement weather nights, they file in to the dry sink, pick up a plate, load up with hot yummy foods and sit down across from and next to sailing companions and say nothing or next to nothing. Tonight was one of those times. Again I was able to take footage of this occurrence happening from my Galley. It is kind of like someone forgot to play the matching soundtrack from the scene that is playing out. I would start the conversation, but I am too tired myself.

Sweet Sleep All,

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

P.S. The Bills of Fare and photos might be forth coming should my hard drive be recovered. Please pray for it and send your monetary donations directly to me to assist with defraying the high costs of my stupidity.

P.S.S. I did also cook today, but who knows what it was! Please see above note.

Posted by kitcusick 15:53 Archived in USA Tagged sea bird dinner sickness Comments (1)

Communication is Key (Recreated from Lost PC)

There She Blows!!!

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Nova Scotia, Quebec, Canada

Communication is key in life, but it is especially so when aboard a ship. To facilitate this a system of “Call Backs” has been developed. This works fantastically well because it is so simple. Someone shouts out an order and the person or group of persons whom it is intended for shouts back by repeating the exact order. This proves several things at the same moment. First, that they are paying attention and are aware that it was meant for them, and second, that they heard it correctly and that they are planning to fulfill the order. Once the command has been completed the person who performed it will shout out that it has been completed. For example:

  • First Mate shouts out “Take up staysil sheet 6 inches”
  • Deckhand closest by the staysail sheet shouts out “Take up staysil sheet 6 inches”

The Deckhand then moves to the proper pin or cleat and hauls in the staysail sheet 6 inches

  • Deckhand shouts out “That’s 6 inches” and then stands by
  • First Mate checks the staysil and if he is happy with the trim of the sail, he shouts out “That’s well”
  • Deckhand shouts out “That’s well” and then he makes fast on the staysail sheet
  • If the First Mate was not happy with the trim he would have shouted out “Take up another 4 inches”
  • Deckhand would shout out “Take up another 4 inches” while taking another 4 inches of line in. Once he has taken in the line he shouts out “That’s 4 inches”
  • Again the First Mate would check and so it would repeat until it was trimmed in properly.

Every command, more or less, works like this. It makes for a very well-run ship. Everybody is always on the same page, even folks who may not be directly involved with the order still gets a heads up with what is happening.
I have explained this for two reasons, first for your education and benefit. If call-backs were used in more situations ashore, life would be easier. And second, I was hoping to get an answer. If we have this level of communication going on, can someone please explain to me why I never know what the hell is going on????

Speaking of communication, I think that I have finally communicated successfully to my shipmates that I really want to know if we happen to see sea life. This was brought up because for the past day everyone keeps telling me that they have seen WHALES during their watches. WHALES!!! And believe or it or not, I had to mention, like a thousand times, that I REALLY wanted to see one for myself and, yes, that I would consider it worth my while to leave the galley and climb up the companionway stairs to get to the deck should we happen to see a whale. Some experienced Deckhands wouldn’t bother looking even if they were on deck! So yes, it took a while for them to “get it”, that I needed to see one. I finally came across loud and clear when I promised baked goods should I see sea life. Oddly enough, the very next sighting I was summoned and I came flying up the companionway with my camera in tow. I got to see TWO WHALES!!! In the wild, not on TV, not in a Zoo but real wild whales swimming in the ocean in exchange for a pan of brownies. Who wouldn’t bake brownies for this?!? So, while I would love to say that I got lots of photos to share if only I could get my laptop files retrieved, I cannot. The whales would surface, blow and then dive down and all of this would take but a few seconds, if that. No time to snap a photo as it was the water blowing that alerted you that there was a whale to see. I did, however, take photos of the spot where the two whales came up and I would love to share them, however you know the drill……damn laptop. #%$&#@#

I should mention that we are sailing! We made it into the St. Lawrence Bay and are finally able to sail again!!! So not only did I get to see whales, I got to see them while sailing a tall ship in the Atlantic Ocean. Life is grand. I should also mention that the seas are rather rough at the moment. It is very windy and choppy. In fact, we are sailing through a squall.

Right when you think that life couldn’t improve – it did! It was during this windy, choppy squall that I was asked to go out in the Headrig and help furl the staysail. The Head rigging is the “cargo net” looking thing that is under the Bowsprit. The purpose is to catch the sails as they come down and serves also as a walkway for us to get out there. To help you understand what it looks like, just think thin black ropes spaced every two feet or so, slack, right under a huge beam of wood, right in front of an enormous ship that is cruising along at almost top speeds, 20 feet above the waterline. Now picture the ship tossed about in the choppy water and the wind blowing hard against you. Now imagine this entire thing in the pitch black as it was in the middle of the night. Great! You now have it correctly pictured in your minds. So I am standing on a very stable deck, when I am asked to go out on this thing with no lights and nothing really to hold on to. My mind said no, my heart screamed HELL YES! With the gentle encouragement from Brittany Mauer, one of the Deckhands, she and I went out in the Headrig and she taught me how to furl the staysail. I would like to say at this time that she thought nothing of jumping out there and doing her job without even a slight hesitation. Deckhands are unstoppable, invincible super humans that are also great friends! Thank you Brittany for making my day even better.

Sweet Sleep All,

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

P.S. The Bills of Fare and photos might be forth coming should my hard drive be recovered. Please pray for it and send your monetary donations directly to me to assist with defraying the high costs of my stupidity.

P.S.S. I did also cook today, but who knows what it was! Please see above note.

P.S.S.S. WHALES rock!

Posted by kitcusick 16:30 Archived in USA Tagged whale nova_scotia headrig Comments (0)

Lights, Camera, Action (Recreated from Lost PC)

Anchors away!

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

Matane, Quebec, Canada

The weather did not bother us at all! Just the gentle rocking of the ship that rocked all of us to sleep. I love hearing the rocking, creaking and the sounds of the water and wind that this wood-hulled ship makes when the engines are off. FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE ERIE, NO ONE WAS VACCUMING IN THE OTHER ROOM! Quiet, peaceful, beautiful. It sure was nice to anchor for the first time, as it meant that we could all sleep at the same time for the first time since I boarded. This ship has been moving constantly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week since we left Erie. Rather strange to think on that. No gas stops, rest stops, changing drivers or being pulled over! A pleasant change from the normal road trip.

We woke, had breakfast, and mustered Amidships to learn that we were going to have another workday! We were going to remain at anchor and get some boat projects accomplished. Blocks were stropped, sails repaired, the midship awning got repaired and I worked some more on cleaning the Galley and Pantry. We were all dancing around like fools to some great tunes and I got some lovely footage of us working and a tour of our ship. Wouldn’t you love to see it….me too. Frecking laptop.

Everyone worked until around 14:00 when we were stood down – except for me who still had supper to cook. The crew was ordered to a mandatory movie afternoon. A deckhand by the name of Brandon set-up the flat screen TV on my Galley counter and everyone gathered around the Main Salon table to watch the flick – except me, who cooked. While you might think that I would feel left out, I didn’t as they picked an awful kung-fu movie. No thanks, I mean, I have to cook, so sorry to miss it.

Everyone was really stoked for another relaxing evening when we were informed that it was time to haul up the anchor and continue down the river. Onwards and upwards.

Sweet Sleep All,

Kit Cusick
Cook and Shipmate on the Pride of Baltimore II

P.S. The Bills of Fare and photos might be forth coming should my hard drive be recovered. Please pray for it and send your monetary donations directly to me to assist with defraying the high costs of my stupidity.

P.S.S. I did also cook today, but who knows what it was! Please see above note.

Posted by kitcusick 16:07 Archived in USA Tagged work_day movie_night Comments (1)

Bird Brains (Recreated from Lost PC)

Weathering the Storm

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Anchorage in Matane, Quebec, Canada

Still motoring away to our destination, wherever that might be! I got to spend a decent amount of time today up on deck. I had a wonderful time checking out the lovely views and playing with the wildlife. Yes, I got to play with wildlife! Oddly enough, I am not afraid of birds while aboard Pride, which is quite another story ashore. I do not know what kind of birds these were, but we had three different kinds playing on deck with us. They would land on the cap rail, the lines or even your head! I had one land on my shoulder and I turned to look at it and he turned to look at me. Neither one of us moved for a while. So very cool. Probably had about 20 birds at any one moment. Don't worry, I took lots of photos and videos to make sure that we could identify the different breeds. Yeah.

It looked like it might turn out to be a rather slow day, so of course the First Mate, Will McLean, fixed that in a hurry! It was decided to have a “Bosun Day”. Projects were handed out to all Deck Hands, Engineer, Mates and Cook. Let’s have a deep clean of the Galley then. You know that even if you clean your Galley three times a day, every day, sometimes you just feel like a deep clean.

The weather is threatening to come in, so the Captain has decided that we can anchor overnight in a bay located just west of Matane, which is a city on the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec, Canada. Sure seems peaceful here, I am so glad that we do not have to weather the storm in the open water.

Sweet Sleep All,

Kit Cusick
Cook and Shipmate on the Pride of Baltimore II

P.S. The Bills of Fare and photos might be forth coming should my hard drive be recovered. Please pray for it and send your monetary donations directly to me to assist with defraying the high costs of my stupidity.

P.S.S. I did also cook today, but who knows what it was! Please see above note.

Posted by kitcusick 15:40 Archived in USA Tagged birds anchor matane bosun Comments (0)

Castle Sweet Castle, eh (Recreated from Lost PC)

and the boobie prize is - motor, motor, motor, eh

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Quebec, Canada

Still in Canada today, eh. We are continuing on our way up through the Saint Lawrence River to get to the Saint Lawrence Seaway, eh. At 12:00 I got word to take a moment to leave the galley and head on deck as we were near something awesome, eh. The crew had been pretty pumped for Quebec City and had been talking about it for a few days now, eh. I, too, was thrilled to approach Quebec City, eh! What an awesome sight she is, eh. It looks like someone plucked a medieval city and plopped it down into a very modern downtown, eh. I now get why people were pumped up about seeing her again, eh. I truly do wish that we could stop for a day or two to explore this incredible looking city, eh.

I also wish that we could stop just to get off the ship and get away from the constant white noise of the hum of the twin motors that never cease, eh. But for now, I will have to live with the consolation prize of living on the most beautiful tall ship in the world, even without the canvas flying overhead, eh. Poor me, right, eh?

Sweet Sleep All,

Kit Cusick
Cook and Shipmate on the Pride of Baltimore II

P.S. The Bills of Fare and photos might be forth coming should my hard drive be recovered. Please pray for it and send your monetary donations directly to me to assist with defraying the high costs of my stupidity.

P.S.S. I did cook today, but who knows what it was! Please see above note.

P.S.S.S. You really wish that you could see these pics of the city.

Posted by kitcusick 15:16 Archived in USA Tagged quebec Comments (0)

Here a Lock, There a Lock (Recreated from Lost PC)

Everywhere a Lock, eh

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Montreal, Canada

Today we continue on our way through the Saint Lawrence River. Who knew that there was so many locks in the river? Apparently everybody aboard this vessel but me! At 19:00 we sailed (ok, motored) past Montreal. It was really exciting to see it lit up in the dark, especially the nifty looking bridge that was lit up with multi-colored lights. I was very surprised to see that it was dark out already at 19:00. Could it be that time of year again? Wasn’t it just Labor Day??? Must be a Canadian thing, eh?

Sweet Sleep All,

Kit Cusick
Cook and Shipmate on the Pride of Baltimore II

P.S. The Bills of Fare and photos might be forth coming should my hard drive be recovered. Please pray for it and send your monetary donations directly to me to assist with defraying the high costs of my stupidity.

P.S.S. I did cook today, but who knows what it was! Please see above note.

Posted by kitcusick 15:17 Archived in USA Tagged montreal Comments (0)

Salad Anyone?

How about some of my world famous "Fried Pie"

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Someplace in Lake Ontario

I forgot to mention, in my last entry, that I also made my Mother’s Cinnamon Pull-A-Parts before I went to bed, so that I could reheat them for breakfast. So far I am living off of adrenaline, but at some point I will need sleep. Not yet apparently! I was so concerned about the 0630 wake-up before I left home, which was a waste of time as I have been jumping up in fear every morning so far. This morning was no different. I jumped up worried about time. I don’t know why as the rolls just needed a little time in the oven and the rest was just oatmeal, dried fruits and maple syrup. Coffee and Tea water is a constant effort. I am always putting another pot on to brew or boil. The watch on duty is supposed to make sure that they have coffee and hot water at the ready for the oncoming watch, but they are busy doing so many work details that this may or may not get done. I love providing for the troops and this experience is certainly the epitome of that. Needless to say that the Pull-A-Parts were a huge hit. Many requests to do them again. Thanks Mom!

So let’s talk about the “Watches”. As most of you are unfamiliar with the watch system I will explain how it works aboard Pride II. While under way we are divided up into three watches, A, B, & C. Watch “A” is on duty from 12:00-4:00, “B” is on from 4:00-8:00 and “C” is on from 8:00-12:00. These times are both AM and PM. So it is two 4 hour shifts that are on Duty, plus they are On Call for the four hours previous to being on Duty for each shift! This only leaves eight hours unaccounted for and yes, they are “Off Duty” for those hours which means they can do whatever they want, but frequently everyone is summoned for “All Hands” and then they are put back to work! The Captain and I and the only ones that are not “Watch Standers”. He is never “On Duty” but he is “On Call” 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I simply work from 06:30 to 21:30 with a one hour break in the middle. I then try to get some time on deck sail handling, meal planning or if inclement weather prevails, I will bring hot beverages or treats to the on-duty watch every hour on the hour.

Our Daily Schedule When Underway:

06:00 I get a wake-up from someone on “B” Watch – While The Engineer Alex and I share a cabin, we always keep the door open. So the only privacy that we have is our bunk when we close our bed curtains. So wake-ups happen by someone poking their head into our cabin and saying my name, time and weather.

06:15 I crawl out of bed by jumping straight down 5 feet, and reach up and grab my pants off the hook and take one step forward into the Main Saloon where I pull my pants up. I walk 20 feet down to the Midship’s Head, use the toilet and wash my hands. If I happen to remember deodorant, awesome. 50/50 success rate with this so far. I DO NOT LOOK INTO A MIRROR. I think that I may come home with dreadlocks.

06:18 (yes, three minutes after jumping out of bed) I am flipping the lights from red to white in my galley. (After dark, only red lights are used as to not burn your night-time vision.) I make coffee and put the tea kettle on. I make Breakfast and lay it out on the Dry Sink. It must be served by 07:30.

07:30 “C” Watch appears at the table and some of the “A”, if they choose to wake back up for breakfast. I announce “Grub’s up.” And the mob converge at the dry sink. They eat then wash their dishes in 15 minutes and that leaves them 5 minutes to finish dressing for the weather and get up to the Quarter Deck by 07:50 for muster. “C” Watch must get the details from “B” Watch, who is just getting off duty. “A” just stumbles back off to bed. Most of “A” Watch just skips breakfast and sleeps instead.

08:00 “C” Watch is now in command of the deck on duty. “B” Watch recaps how things went before heading down the companionway to the galley. I will have tried to keep things hot, but not dry and burnt and will relay the drysink for them. They eat at their own speed and will go about the rest of the next four hours doing as they please – normally sleeping. “A” watch is on-call and must be ready to appear fully dressed for the weather in less than three minutes at any point in time. I get to spend the next 1.5 hours doing scullery duties to get my galley back to ship shape.

09:30 if all went well, I should be done cleaning by now. I now spend the next two hours prepping and cooking lunch! This needs to be served by 11:30. “C” watch, who is on duty currently will do wake-ups at 11:30 for anyone that needs one. “A” & “B” Watches will swarm the drysink at 11:30, when I announce that the grub’s up. Same process as in the morning. Wake up and dress in 15 minutes, eat in 15, final dress in 5 and converge by 11:50 to get the instructions from “C” Watch.

12:00 “C” Watch comes down for lunch, which I will have tried again, in vain, to keep warm, moist and tasty. Guess what happens now – DISHES!!!! I turn back into the scullery maid to clean up lunch dishes. If all goes well, I will be finished with the normal clean-up by 13:30-14:00. As a reward for a job well done, I will treat myself to deep cleaning one pot or pan a day. All of the pans and pots have become black with use. I found that with enough scour pads, steel wool, soap, and elbow grease that I can make a small difference in one hour’s time. I also found that focusing so hard for an extended period of time below decks makes me seasick.

14:30-15:00 I take a well-earned break by looking over the meal plan for the day, making yet another pot of coffee and putting the kettle back on for tea. I will try to blog a little, but life on deck calls and if I am seasick from scrubbing pots and pans, I will go above and offer my hands for sail management for a whole hour or so.

16:00 Time to start cooking dinner! The never ending food train starts its way back down the tracks. Food prep is god awful slow for me at the best of times and as I newly have discovered even more so when heeled over and everything is sliding and or tipping over. I like the challenge of it, but I do need to leave a lot of additional time to make up for it.

19:30 Food needs to be on the table for “C” & “A” Watches, just like breakfast. The watches are designed to repeat themselves AM and PM all day every day. For example, anything that happens at 7:30 in the morning repeats itself at 7:30 in the evening. It is rather like having two 12 hour days put together in one.

20:00 Dinner is served to the newly relieved “B” Watch and officially I can stop working. However, I try to assist with the kitchen cleanup and be part of the crew. One of the Deckhands is the “Duty” person for the day and they rotate thru every day. This person is responsible for the evening meal cleanup of the cooking pots and pans as well as the serving dishes. I have yet to see just the “Duty” clean by themselves. Almost everyone pitches in and the job gets done rather fast and the whole process is a lot more fun. Music is once again pumping in the background. The beat goes on.

21:30 the Gallery is back to its former glory and I go up on deck to work the sails and stand on deck for about two-three hours and I will also spend about an hour on meal planning, shopping lists, or inventory of the ship’s stores.

24:00 – 01:00 I try to get into bed and pass-out. I have been known to pass-out at the Crew Saloon table at my laptop. My shipmates know to just leave me there and I will get myself into bed at some point.

01:00-06:00 Sleep

06:00 Rinse and repeat.

Speaking the “Duty” person, I mentioned that they get to clean up after dinner, they also get to clean all of the “Heads” (bathrooms), scrub all of the floors, do the trash, refill the water tanks, etc. These get done every day. Also they have a special duty – for example today is Tuesday which means all of the coppers get cleaned behind my range and the coppers behind the heating stove in the Aft Cabin. All brass is also polished below decks. It really is major sucky work to be the Duty.
Rebecca Working on Copper Tuesday

Rebecca Working on Copper Tuesday

The menu today consisted of a Ham and Egg pie for lunch.
Lovely before shot showing a level pan

Lovely before shot showing a level pan


Another view of lunch

Another view of lunch


Looks great huh? I took the photos of the antics trying to keep my pies level as we were heeled over quite a ways. I had to balance them on the handles of my Refer and them shim them in the oven. Great plan until the ship rocked a little and I fell into the side of the oven wall with the back of my hand. Four times. Did you now that blisters can get blisters???

Well the b@$!@&% thing would not bake in time. Did you know that when desperate you can dump 4 partially baked pies into two fry pans, crust and all and fry them until they are cooked thru? I didn’t either, but I got it figured out. I think that I actually prefer them finished this way! Out of my way, Julia Childs, here I come.

Tonight we sailed past 1000 Island while I was on deck. Very awesome. I might go and have a salad now….or I might go and pass-out.
Pass-out wins again!

Sweet Sleep All,

Kit Cusick
Cook and Shipmate on the Pride of Baltimore II

Posted by kitcusick 16:03 Archived in USA Tagged island 1000 fried_pie copper_tuesday Comments (3)

Sailing Away!

Stowaways?

Monday September 9th, 2013

Welland Canal, Ontario, CA

We set sail today! I got up at 06:00 to make a breakfast of “Mucked-up Eggs” (scrambled eggs with peppers, tomatoes, basil, onion and garlic) and bacon and sausage. Made the coffee and made the hot water for tea. I woke the Captain and the rest of the crew at 07:15 sharp. I then laid the “Dry Sink” with breakfast, plates and silverware and was ready to go at 7:30 sharp as promised! I had time to enjoy the “Land Head” one last time and I even took a shower (my first since I left home 5 days ago), shaved, brushed my teeth and even combed my hair! I never thought that I would enjoy a public bathroom so much. Whenever we are in port, because of limited storage tanks, we are not allowed to use the Ship’s Head, we must go ashore. Kind of feels like the outhouse experience, which is odd because the Ship’s Head is smaller and smells more than the normal outhouse! Maybe be more than you wanted to know, but it is life aboard the ship. I got to call home and say goodbyes to Kate and Anubis, my wonder dog.

We shoved off right after I returned from my shower and calls. It was very exciting. We only needed to motor a little ways out of the harbor, maybe five minutes, before the motor was turned off and “bits of string” needed tugging and pulling. We left so close to breakfast that I had plenty of time to assist with the setting of the sails! OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD! Besides the fact that I was finally able to live my dream out, besides the fact that it was even cooler than I could have ever imagined, the part the blows my mind was the fact that I was not only asked/included in this process – I was expected to join in with my shipmates. I actually have real life shipmates. The stuff the legends and ballads are made of. I was going out to the ocean in a ship filled with my shipmates, just like all of the sea shanties that we sing in my 1812 British Royal Navy group, Western Lakes Station. “Don’t forget your ol’ shipmate…”

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Tallship culture, the Pride of Baltimore II is very well respected across the community of sailors as one of the best, if not the best, in terms of a hard working crew, knowledgeable and demanding Captains and a wickedly fast and beautiful ship. I have been on a few tallships now, sailed a little bit, hung out with a bunch of sailors and I still had NO CLUE just how much work it is to set sails. Physically demanding work, I mean the kind of effort that highly training athletes put out. After hauling on two lines, I was completely out of breath, arms sore and I could barely stand up. Seriously folks, it is completely insane just how demanding this lifestyle is. So why do folks do it?!? Because when you least expect it you are told to go out on the bowsprit (the long pointy part on the front of the ship with a rope mesh work under it to catch the sails when they come down) of a Tallship that is cruising along at 9.5 knots and stand on a piece of rope to help set the staysail. “Look Ma no hands!” OK, just so that Commander Schifferdecker doesn’t say anything, yes I know “One hand for the ship and one hand for yourself”. I cannot believe that I got to be part of this experience and one day I will get to be the lucky soul out on the bowsprit.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I also cooked lunch and dinner. Sloppy Joes for lunch and Italian Chicken and pasta for dinner with fresh baked French bread. Plenty of it and right on time! A quick note on dinner, we have 13 souls aboard - 12 professional crew and 1 guest crew. I prepared 12 chicken breasts and one vegetarian meal which took just about 4.5-5 hours to accomplish. When I went above decks to let my officer know that dinner was served, I noticed that we now seem to have a “guest” aboard! Apparently we made it to the Welland Canal and for part of it we needed a pilot to board our ship. I guess that at some point he got dropped off while we were under way and he was ready for dinner! It never occurred to me that I would need to do a head count for each and every meal while underway. It was rather comical. I had Isagenix, probably the better option anyways.
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Sweet Sleep All,

Kit Cusick
Cook and Shipmate on the Pride of Baltimore II

Posted by kitcusick 15:13 Archived in USA Tagged canal welland Comments (0)

There is a New Sheriff in Town

shop till you drop then shop some more


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Sunday September 8th, 2013

Erie, PA

What a craptastic start to the day. After working for so many hours and ending with only 2 hours allowed for sleep, needless to say. Moring came early. Luckily breakfast was being provided by Timmy Horton’s and consisted of bagels, cream cheese, coffee and jelly filled muffins. You might be thinking, great, sleep in but of course there is no rest for the wicked and I had to rush to get my shopping list together. Kathleen was in a panic to get out of the door to the shops. On top of making the list, I also had to pass my lunch duties to the person who has Duty that day. His name was Sam and he is an awesome sailor, complete with lots of nautical tattoos, most of which look like Victorian-era sailor tats. Anyways, I had to explain to Sam what needed to happen for lunch as I wasn’t going to be present to make it. Unfortunately, I was allotted only 2-2.5 hours to shop for all of the provisions needed for a 2 week trip with 13 souls aboard in 1.5 hours, in an unfamiliar store, not to mention my first time doing this. DIDN’T HAPPEN not even close. It took the clerk alone almost an hour of ringing my order up and boxing it up. It took me almost 6 hours to go, shop, pick tomatoes and herbs out of garden and get back to the ship. Boy, did I discover a new way of shopping. Did you know that you can push a cart around, fill it up, ring it through with the cashier, and instead of paying for it, they can suspend the order in the computer system while you fill your next cart up? They will box your first order and leave it in the cart and put your whole cart in the cooler, while you shop for more. I know this, as I had to do this 5 times for my five overflowing carts! I filled the back of a pickup truck with provisions and spent over $1100.00 at my first store. SCARY Stuff. To think that I would panic over spending a few hundred for supper ball once upon a time. Now it was time to panic on whether it would all fit in the appropriate storage or did I just waste a lot of money. But before I could stow it all away, I had to get it aboard first, during a very busy tour time with lots of public on deck. It, of course, would have to be carried down the very steep ladder into my galley. This could have taken hours but not when you have shipmates! I was thrilled to see the line of sailors form dockside, across the deck, down the companionway ladder to my galley carrying boxes as fast as they could. It took less than 10 minutes flat and I didn’t carry a single thing! I still had to stow everything and I even had lots of help with that! I am very glad to report that everything fit with plenty of room to spare. I also came in under budget, so if I can stretch the food to make it last over the 2 weeks, I should be golden!

First Provision Run

First Provision Run

Luckily for us, supper was a party at the Commodore Perry Yacht Club that was hosted by Captain Jamie Trost’s family. The Captain grew up in Erie and this is the place where he first started to learn how to sail. It was very neat to meet and hang out with his parents. Such fine & fun folks.
Even though I did not have to cook a thing today, I am knackered from the extensive shopping and stress of it all.

Sweet Sleep All,

Kit Cusick
Cook on Pride of Baltimore II

Posted by kitcusick 15:06 Archived in USA Tagged shop provision Comments (1)

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