A Travellerspoint blog

Scrub A Dub Dub, Two Sailors in a Galley

Where “Summer” is a Verb

sunny 70 °F

Goat Island, Newport, RI
Saturday, May 24th, 2014

We were allowed to sleep in today. Breakfast was at 08:00 and the workday started in 09:00. I suppose that yes this is sleeping in for some folks, but it wasn’t exactly what I was thinking when the Capt. announced that we could sleep in and take it easy in the morning. No complaints, just a statement.

Work duties were passed around and I signed myself up for Galley clean-up and out with our Second Mate Ben. I think that we made a good team and together we spent 2.5 hours crushing through the work load. Every surface and space needed to be wiped down, scrubbed and sorted out. I cannot say thank you enough for his willingness to tackle some pretty foul tasks. Some water had leaked into a storage cabinet under the range. We are unsure of where the water came from, but it wasn’t pretty. I got the refer sorted and I am very happy to report that our provisioning efforts back in Charleston, SC were not in vain. I had bought almost the perfect amount of food. Very little went to waste and we were not short of anything, excepting one egg out of the four required for the last of the baking. We did not over buy either except for some fresh salad greens. This crew did not eat greens like the Pride crew did. I suppose that every crew that I cook for will be vastly different. The only logical thing to do is to hope to crew with every single sailor on the seas, then I would have a pretty good grasp on provisioning!

Ben and I got all of the dishes washed, counters cleaned, cabinets sorted, refers all happy and scrubbed the entire sole of the ship. Really not bad for 2.5 hours of work, albeit far too early in the day for me. We were officially stood down shortly before 12:00 for the rest of the day. My work was done on Geronimo! I successfully survived my first voyage as a deckhand! The crew were released and goodbyes were started. Some of them could flee for home, some of them were leaving the state to attend a party and that left just Phil and I to hang out together for the rest of the afternoon and evening. We both had flights in the next morning.

All of my efforts this morning, and in truth all week has entitled me to my first shower since I left home. IT WAS TIME! While I showered, a Phil went to go and pick-up a rental car for us to tour the town and get ourselves to the airport. Now that I was all squeaky clean, we were off to see the best and worst of Newport, RI. On my must see list was some of the famous mansions that I had always heard about. Phil and already seen these before when he was he with his wife, however he was VERY accommodating for me. He drove me there and then sat in the parking lot, playing catch-up on his phone, while he waited for me to tour two mansions. I got to see The Breakers and The Elms. In fact I talked my way onto the last special tour at the Elms. It was the Servant’s Life tour. LOVED IT. I got to see all of the behind the scenes rooms and areas used by the staff of the house. I totally felt at home there. When I was in the kitchen, you could say that I had what to amount to a personal religious experience. I actually shed a tear or two on this tour. All I can say about both homes is WOW. I am still processing what I saw there. Just WOW “! I learned that “Summer” is not a noun, but is a verb. As in “I summer in Newport.”

The coolest thing happened at the Elms. While I was on tour in the house, upstairs in one of the bedrooms, I thought that I saw my friend from MN, Mr. Geraghty. I know him from a couple of my Victorian reenactment groups. I did a double, triple and then a forth glance before I could ascertain that it wasn’t him. I actually said out loud to no one but myself, “How queer would it be to see some of my Victorian friends here?” Not 30 minutes later, as I was crossing the formal lawn of the house do I hear, “Oh Mr. Cusick!” I turned around and gazed upon Mr. & Mrs. Kragh and their Sister and Brother-in-law. I know these fine folks from the same Victorian groups as Mr. Geraghty and they are quite good friends of Mr. Geraghty. They were on the tour right before mine. As they went through the kitchen the remarked to each other “Mr. Cusick should be here and see this.” I guess that I am very accommodating because I fulfilled their thoughts within 10 minutes, I’m guessing. Such a tiny world. I cannot explain just how happy that made me, to encounter some of my Victorian friends on holiday in Newport, RI! Perhaps they were “Summering” in Newport?!?

Kit – The Deckhand and Victorian Gent

Posted by kitcusick 22:02 Archived in USA Tagged summer scrub mansion Comments (0)

Cassiopeia, for the Girl that I Love

Cellular Service Ahoy! Oh and some land too

semi-overcast 60 °F

In transit to Newport, RI – Goat Island, Newport, RI
Friday, May 23rd, 2014

I really slept like a baby this time. I woke up every hour on the hour screaming. I had nightmare after nightmare, so I should be fighting for Morning Watch at 04:00 – 08:00 right? I surprisingly wasn‘t tired at all and was able to get myself up when I got my wake-up call. At 03:30. Thank God for my Isagenix E-shot. It kept me going all morning strong. The weather was damp and quite chilly, so I am quite glad that I was able to scrounge up proper foul weather gear for this transit. I definitely look the part of a sailor this morning. As I took the deck the off going C Watch gave us their report of utter darkness out but other than that not too much going on. In the time that it took to have me relieve James at the helm, the entire heavens appeared and glittered with a full set of stars complete with a brilliant crescent moon. C Watch was not impressed but mentioned that of course this would happen as I took the deck. If you got it, you got it, right?!? And this sailor boy seems to have it this trip!

I had the helm for the first hour, and was relieved by the Capt. in the second hour, just in enough time for me to go and do the hourly boat check. I loved the fact that I was able to navigate by the stars. I was using Cassiopeia as a guide with the starboard shroud. I smiled with the thought that I was using that constellation as a guide to head back home for it is the initial of my girl back home. I reflected back on the memories of her teaching me about that constellation at the MN Renaissance Festival, where we first met almost 20 years ago. The sea is a wonderful place to reflect on the bigger picture. And before I get myself into trouble, I am aware that Cassiopeia is named after a vain Queen in Greek mythology, however I associate the constellation with Kate because it looks like her initial “W” and she introduced it to me, not because I think that she is a vain queen.

I took back the helm for the third hour so that the Capt., who was interested in making breakfast, could go and do so and have it ready by 07:30. I remained at the helm for the balance of the watch. I watched an amazing sunrise. I loved it and I got part captured on my camera. Bonus points to me. It was a very quiet and peaceful watch and I am glad that I could spend three hours, of my last full watch, alone on the deck contemplating my life and how I fit in with the universe.

My time spent before lunch was whale watching, as we saw quite a few Humpback whales about ½ mile away from the ship. I think that I even got some on camera for once! Totally mind blowing to see them play about, as much as whales play about that is. This was the first time that I saw their flukes (tail fins) up in the air and then slapped down on the water surface. This last day at sea sure has been both eventful and completely uneventful. So very pleasant.

16:00 – 18:00 My final watch of the voyage is the First Dog Watch. I was elated when the Capt. said that he was planning on always cooking dinner, unless I was jonesing to do so. I TOTALLY wasn’t. He said that I had earned the right to stay up on deck and take the helm for the final two hours. It was freezing cold and very windy, which would have been wonderful – IF we wanted to sail the completely opposite direction. Motor it is and straight into the wind to boot. I know that sailing could have been possible, if we had all the time of the world, but we all wanted to get to land ASAP. I have noticed that the end of every trip, folks just want to get home in the worst possible way. I am no different, at least in this regard.
Some of us need to get back to hear about possible career options (no word), and some others, whose name I shall not mention (James) needs to get to land to register for his college Major. The program stops accepting requests at midnight. We are due in around 00:15. In my best Mr. Kepler impression, I laughed and laughed and laughed on that. Been at sea for days and it comes down to mere mintues. I got some lovely photos of James, whose name I shall not mention, sitting in the cockpit with his laptop on his lap waving his phone ever head and pleading for cell service. It is always nice to get away and leave it all behind, right? He managed to successfully register as we passed Block Island.

I have to say that it sure felt great to see land again. We managed to pull in to Goat Island Marina and stow the boat shortly before 23:00. At 23:01 we had ran to the nearest pub and drank until close upon which we staggered back to the ship. Surprising none of us over indulged at all. Rumor has it that after we clean the entire ship, inside and out tomorrow we will get the rest of the day off! I was also informed that my travel home will be first thing Sunday morning!

Kit – The Deckhand and Shore Bound Sailor

Posted by kitcusick 20:31 Archived in USA Tagged island phone land whale cold goat Comments (0)

You May Have Shark Week, but I got Shark Watch

I am dubbed the “Wildlife Whisperer”

In transit to Newport, RI
Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

I slept like a baby all 7.5 hours allotted to me! An honest day’s work in the elements does that to a guy I guess. First time for everything, right? I had to jump up and dress quickly, slam a piece of frittata down my throat and get up on deck by 07:50.

08:00 – 12:00 is the Before Noon Watch and I was expecting a rather tame morning as we are well past the storm, dolphins and bioluminescence. I guess that you can never count any anything when you are in the ocean. The Captain decided that I would take the helm and he would clean all of the heads (bathrooms). I scored big time, right?!? Especially so, since while I was at the helm, a medium sized shark swam right next to the ship and then circles around and come back for more. Shark attack! I was able to call Charlie up on deck and he was able to see it as well. Sharks at the surface are a lot rarer to see than dolphins. What was even more impressive was that four more came while I was on watch! I had only seen one shark my entire time on Pride, now five in one morning! Two of them were big guys. Really big guys approximately 6-7’ long. AWESOMENESS and no I am not going swimming this time around. Instead I got to make lunch for the Captain and crew. I made a fresh Kale salad with Fresh Red Peppers and Cheddar Cheese Cubes. Served with Sesame Chicken and Tomatoes marinated in Balsamic Vinegar with Red Onion. Oreos for dessert.

12:00 – 16:00 Nothing but more Masonic study, blogging and relaxing. I almost forgot the waving and flailing about trying to kill the never ending stock of black flies. When I got bored with the killing of flies, I set the jib again. Such is a sailor’s life, I guess.

16:00 – 17:15 – Power Nap again. Dang my eyelids get heavy out here. Must be the rocking action of the waves that causes that.

17:15 – 17:50 Dress and eat a most delicious supper. Thank God for Phil, the ship’s Sicilian Sailor. Man, can that guy cook. Italian Sausages in a red sauce with broccoli and carrots served with my left over kale salad and garlic bread from scratch. Yummy.

17:50 – 18:00 Get instructions from C Watch, in which they said nothing exciting happened.

18:00 – 20:00 Second Dog Watch, the last watch of the day for A Watch. The Capt. told me to relieve James at the Helm. He went below to enter a log and do supper clean up. Within five minutes of me taking over we were surrounded by dolphins. I saw probably 40-50 of them. Then the babies came to play. There was a small one, probably not more than 24” that could breech clean out of the water and did so right next to me time after time. I am really bummed that I left my camera below, but it is really hard to photo anything while on watch, I have found out. They never left my side the entire watch, they just stayed and played!

It is about this time that the Capt. bursts onto deck and trots over to get a bucket and the pump. Never a good sign on a boat. Apparently the water tank had overflown into the space between two water-tight bulkheads, the space right in the middle of the bunkroom where I sleep. Only two people on A Watch translates to, we each were stuck doing what we were doing without relief. I was on the helm the entire watch and the Capt. was stuck cleaning and pumping water.

On the second hour of me as helmsmen I saw a large gathering of dolphins just forward of the ship on the starboard side, when all of a sudden a spout of water blew up into the air. My first thought was “Could this be a whale?” Well the ship came right up alongside of the pod of dolphins and sure enough there was a large whale within 5’ of the ship!!! It blew again this time get my deck wet! I called to down below and Ben, the Second Mate, popped right up and saw it as well. As we passed it, it blew one last time and then dove down. Incredible. Of course this when the rest of the shipmates decided they could grace the deck. You snooze, you lose! Laura has declared me the “Wildlife Whisperer” because every time that I take the wheel, the animals come flocking. Earlier in the trip I had joked with the Capt. that if he could deliver a whale, my trip would be complete. Needless to say my trip is now VERY complete.

Today I saw five sharks, 50 dolphins, including babies, one large whale, a bunch of ducks and a bunch of sea birds. You would think that I was at the zoo. For comparison in four months on Pride, I saw one shark, 16-18 dolphins, one whale, way off in the distance and two sea turtles. Maybe I had better ask the Capt. for some sea turtles as well.

We only have about 160 miles left to Newport, RI, which translates to about 24 more hours of sea time. Currently we are going past the entrance of New York Harbor. I am off to bed as I have Morning Watch as my next watch which is at 04:00 – 08:00. I do not mornings unless I get to see whales. That is my new rule.

Kit – The Deckhand and The Wildlife Whisperer

Posted by kitcusick 20:23 Archived in USA Tagged wildlife shark whale Comments (0)

The Never Ending Day of Work Work Work

A Plague of Flies on Both of Your Houses

all seasons in one day

In transit to Newport, RI
Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

I suppose you would like me to continue? Geronimo is just fine, but C Watch, on the shift right before my watch, saw several flares go up on the horizon, and of course you have to report those to the Coast Guard. The running back and forth was C Watch reporting the flares to the Captain and the radio was the Captain reporting and answering the Coast Guard questions. Lots of dialog before the Coast Guard was able to ascertain that the flares were part of a US Navy exercise and there was nothing to worry about. Great of the Navy to let the Coast Guard know, right??? The galley sounds were simply Laura making brownies for some of the crew.

All of the excitement happened on my watch! I had the Mid Watch which is 00:00 – 04:00. I was super pumped because this is the peak time that I am awake normally. I love working that time of morning. The ship is bouncing all over the place and the wind is whipping right along. Again the perfect weather for me. The Captain is at the helm for about 30 minutes when he says that we are starting to round Cape Hatteras, which is the part of Virginia that rather sticks out in the ocean, so the seas are normally very rough on a good day. He then tells me to take the helm and says, on his way below decks, that this is known as the “Grave Yard of the Atlantic Ocean” and that the steering is really hard. So, yea, Capt. Basically tells me that is going to suck and then leaves me for dead all alone on the deck. It must be good to be Capt. The sad part is that I actually loved it. High winds and high seas – Oh yea –Bring it baby!! I had to occasionally hang on to the ships wheel just to stand up right. Death grip on the wheel and one eye on the binnacle, one eye on the horizon and one eye on the sky. The Capt. And I traded off of occasion, but I had the helm more times than I didn’t. We rounded the Cape and successfully passed the ship on to the next watch. Time to sleep off the adrenaline.

04:00 – 08:00 Sleep
08:00 – 08:15 Eat Breakfast
8:15 – 11:15 Sleep
11:15 – 11:30 Dress for 80 degree weather in the blazing sun.
11:30 – 11:45 Eat Lunch
11:45 – 11:50 Wash up lunch dishes and finish dressing
11:50 – 12:00 Get instructions from C Watch

12:00 – 16:00 My next watch is Afternoon Watch. Otherwise known is “How to cook a Deckhand on the deck” watch. Luckily I had plenty of visitors on my watch.as lot of pods of dolphins came to play with the ship. I totally love dolphins and could watch them all day. They are 81245% better than our other visitors. Can someone please tell me why, when we are miles and miles off of shore, the ship is slowly being taken over by black flies??? The kind that bite right through your clothing. This inspired “The great fly kill of 2014.” Well after roasting on deck for a while I had the good fortune of being able to take a break and go below decks, providing that I scrubbed all of the soles (floors) on my hands and knees. This still seemed better than roasting myself alive, so I scrubbed until I could scrub no more. In truth we all take turns cleaning the soles every day, so it is never that bad to do. With the soles it was time to go back up on deck and relieve the Capt. at the helm. Out of nowhere this shadow appears and heads right for my face. It was so fast that I couldn’t even react. Turns out that it is a HUGE dragonfly that landed on my nose. Then he just sat there. He sat long enough for the Capt. to go below and grab his camera. He sat long enough for the rest of the crew to grab cameras and one by one take photos. At some point the crew went back to work and I went back to focusing at the helm with my new friend still sitting on my face. My watch ended, and I could just hang out and eat a brownie with my friend. I ended up placing my finger as a perch and he politely moved over for me and I transferred him to a coil of line. It seemed rather rude just to kick him off my nose, I thought that after an hour of sitting on me, this was a good farewell. Not a bad way to end the never ending watch. Way time to get more sleep.

16:00 – 18:00 Sleep
18:00 – 18:15 Charlie cooked a lovely Chili and Laura baked some Polenta cakes that smelled good enough to wake me up, so I was able to eat dinner, which I had planned on just sleeping through.
18:15 – 19:00 Relax since I was already up I decided to sit in the shade and try to study some of my Masonic lectures.
19:00 – 19:30 Power nap instead as I fell asleep again.
19:30 – 19:50 Dress for my last watch of this long day. I was told by the wake-up crew that it was chilly out. So I dressed accordingly for that.
19:50 – 20:00 Get instructions from C Watch.

20:00 – 24:00 First Watch, which kind of made me giggle as this was the last of my three watches today. Within 20 minutes of taking the deck we were in a lightning storm! A pretty intense lightning storm, on the ship that had just been struck by lightning! That means going back down and redressing as fast as one can as we also had to button-up the ship’s hatches and ports. I wasn’t nervous at all, but I should have been after thinking about the situation that I was in. We are the only ship around for miles and we have an almost 90’ tall metal pole waving in the air. Instead I loved it. The rain started to come down and the lightning was behind us, chasing us. It was slowly catching up but I loved the race. It is pitch black out. I cannot make out even the horizon line, not a single star, cloud or anything. I was simply steering the ship into a black hole, for as far as I could tell. All we had was a glowing white wake from our own ship that was reflecting our navigational lights. Then all of a sudden the glowing white wake raced away from the ship, then it raced out in front of our ship! We had a personal escort of about a dozen dolphins that would zoom back and forth across and under our ship. It was the coolest thing that we have seen and you couldn’t even see the dolphins, just the white wake from them. Then it got even better. The rain drops were getting bigger and as they hit the ocean, they caused the bioluminescence to react. To summarize, I now had a full-on lightning storm, with lots of bolts touching down on the ocean quite near us, which would light up the entire heavens, a dozen dolphins dancing around us causing glowing white sea foam trails and thousands of twinkling lights all around floating in the sea. All of this in the middle of a high speed chase between Geronimo vs Zeus with me at the helm. In this setting, I felt like a king. A sopping wet, tired to the point of exhaustion, sun burnt to a crisp king, but a king none the less.

Kit – The Deckhand and King of The Sea, Pro Tem.

Posted by kitcusick 20:02 Archived in USA Tagged cape hatteras flares Comments (0)

Vacation Over, Time to Go Back to Paradise

Where the fish fly.


Beaufort, NC – in transit to Newport, RI
Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

For a change of pace for me, this tall ship actually planned on departing after sunrise and even a good deal after! Most of the time it seems like ships depart at 05:00 or thereabouts. This is what we did leaving Charleston but to hit the tide properly we departed shortly after 09:00. At first I thought that this would be grand as I am really not a morning guy, but let me tell ya that I am even more not a blazing sun – standing on the deck with nowhere to hide in the shade type of guy. Yes mom, I put on my sun screen and wore my long sleeve shirt and kept my hat on. I can also say that I drank bottle after bottle of water. I survived – but barely! A deckhand has a job to do and this one did it. I am happy to report that nothing exciting happened. The best report one could give when working on the ocean.

Today I got to set the jib. So easy compared to the back backing work of setting sails on Pride. I think that I miss the manual work to be honest, but this sure is fun. We broke back into our watch system at 10:30 with B watch taking the first shift. That means I was stood down until 16:00 and then I only had a two hour watch because it was the First Dog Watch – 16:00 to 18:00. It also means that I will have Middle Watch which is from 00:00 to 04:00, which is my favorite time of day to be awake naturally. Huzzah! I was hoping that I could just keep from getting sick this time and at the time of this writing, I have managed to avoid it. Feeling good without the aid of any thing is a very good thing indeed.

I spent my afternoon hiding below decks, out of the sun, working on personal projects. I would dash back on deck every time I heard the call of wildlife. We had three more groups of dolphins come and play, lots of flying fish, and for the record they really do fly and we saw another sailfish, which I suppose could be argued that really does sail!?! Phil caught another 3’ Amberjack and Charlie caught a Bonito fish. Lots of fish that’s for sure.

It is one of the duties of the First Dog Watch to prepare dinner. James, from C watch, was really wanting to cook his mother’s Pasta Carbonara and asked if he could chef and I could sous for him. This was a great plan, until he started going green around the gills and needed to get up on deck for the horizon line. Poor guy. I got his mother’s pasta made and got two pans of breadsticks out of the oven without burning any of them char black. Success indeed. James made a great sous chef again.

After dinner I had plenty of time to get uninterrupted sleep until 23:15. Or SO I thought. At around 21:00 I heard lots of running back and forth, the radio kept going off with the Coast Guard calling the Geronimo, and lots of banging going on in the galley. Needless to say I sprang up out of my rack to find out what was going on…..

That is it for today’s blog. More to come tomorrow.

Sweet sleep folks.

Signed, Kit – The Deckhand, The Sous, an d The Cook

Posted by kitcusick 16:11 Archived in USA Tagged fish flying coast guard bonito amberjack Comments (1)

The Day of Vacation from Paradise

I finally realize that I am in the South

sunny 80 °F

Beaufort, NC
Monday, May 19th, 2014

We have the day off today. All of it. The whole day! It is hard to keep your perceptions of life in balance when you are granted a day off from sailing and you go to town, when the rest of the world is dying for a day off from town so that they can go and spend a day on a boat sailing. I am still thinking that I have it right and some other folks may want to reexamine their world.

So to recap my Monday. I slept in till 10:30. Woke up with the sun streaming in the overhead hatch that is wide open with a gentle breeze blowing in off of the ocean. I can hear the sounds of sea gulls, shrimping boats and the waves hitting the side of my ship. I can smell the sweet smell of the salty ocean from my rack. I could never do this on Pride, but I sure can here. After dressing myself, one of the other deckies, James invites me to walk into town with him. I am always up for companionship, especially that of a shipmate, so off we go.

The walk into the small town of Beaufort is only about 20 minutes. Beaufort was listed as the second best small town in America by some person at some time and after my tour of it, I can certainly see why. The houses are really well kept for the most part and ALL of them are really old. I mean really, really old. A good number of them predate our country! The oldest house I came across was built in 1730. Friends that is half a century before this country was founded! And we found a couple of them from 1730. The most modern house on this part of town was from the 1920’s. In one block houses ranged almost 200 years. I was in 7th heaven. Photos to follow when I get to a better internet connection.

James and I checked out two different cemeteries He was very interested in hearing my knowledge on older styles of grave markers and this history of the different military markers. It was during this discourse that I looked around and was completely shocked to see dozens and dozens of little confederate flags flying all over the cemetery, just like you see the American flag flying at the cemeteries back home. Home for James in NY, by the way, so he was just as shocked as I was. As I do not reenact the American Civil War as a soldier, I am very unaccustomed to see this flag fly free. On the side of awesome car, perhaps, but not just flying. I totally transported me to the ”South”, which was fairly odd as I was already in the South. I forgot to mention that the other night back in Charleston, we all went out for some Southern cooking and went to a lovely BBQ joint. I bring this up as again James and I discovered and was equal shocked to see the 10 Commandments printed on the sides of the beverage cups. I assumed that it would be some spin off, like the 10 Commandments of eating BBQ or something along those lines. NOPE. It was the 10 Commandments as God intended. Got to love the South.

We also check out the Maritime Museum. A great little place. I particularly enjoyed seeing the exhibit on outboard motors as they had a reproduction of a home repair shop that looked just like my Grandfather’s shop. Lots of old motors, like a 1.7 hp Evinrude or a 4 hp Johnson. All of which I fondly remember. They even had a classic 1956 Barbour speed/fishing boat that looked very much like his. Smiles all around.

I spent some time with James going over his knot work. Sure feels odd to be the one teaching folks about sailing as I am still learning everything myself. But I guess they always say that teaching is the best way of learning anything. So James, to you I will tip my hat and say thank you for the invite out, to wonderfully refreshing discourse and for the chance to teach you and therefore learn things myself.

This evening was spent hard at work on my resume. I have a lead for what could be a wonderful career back home in St. Paul. I have internet connection here in port, but will lose it in the morning until we land in Newport, RI in 4-5 days. Because of having it tonight, I was able to send back and forth my resume to a hard working team back home consisting of Kate, my Mother, Liz and Sally!!! Thanks to them I now have a fairly great resume that I am proud to submit. As much work as it was, it was still a delight to do as I got to do it sitting on the deck of my ship at sunset. There are worse places to do office work, right?

Signed, Kit – The Deckhand and Hopeful Employee

Posted by kitcusick 21:20 Archived in USA Tagged south vaction confederate Comments (1)

The Animal Channel

“This is just a test – warning – this is just a test.”

sunny 78 °F

In transit to Beaufort, NC – Beaufort, NC

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

I have to say that today started much better than yesterday. I woke up feeling wonderful, jumped out of my rack and oddly enough still felt great. I got dressed and even before I could make my morning protein shake, I was summoned to the deck as we had visitors. A pair of dolphins were swimming off of our bow. I have sailed two tall ships in the ocean and both times I have been fortunate to see dolphins. This totally makes my trip and all of the vomit that may have come with it totally worth it. I am now convinced that every morning that you get to wake up to wild dolphins, you just know that it will be an incredible day.

A Watch was on duty from 08:00 to 12:00 noon and I was at the helm for the first two hours of it, most of the time all alone on the deck! I did not get off course, I did not dump the wind and I did not crash into anything. Charlie came up and decided to throw a fishing line in. As he was letting line out in the first 30 secs, he got a fish on and nearly ripped the reel from his hand! He landed a large heavy sliver fish, whose name escapes me, what I will report back on that. It was released back in to the water and off we went. Again all good signs that today had every possibility of being better than yesterday. The next two hours I had boat checks to do and I got to make lunch for the Capt and crew. First time cooking on this ship. I introduced them to Taco Tuesday. Hard shells, beef, fresh tomatoes, slightly blackened bell peppers, raw onion, Jalapeno peppers, cheese, sour cream, salsa and hot sauce. I also make a yummy refried bean side with cheese and onion, because you can never have enough onion or cheese. I had a great Sous Chef jump up and offer to assist – fellow deckie James.

I got stood down in just enough time to clean up lunch with James and as we were just about finished with clean-up, we hear “Man over board!!!” Now other than being completely shocked with hearing this on a rather calm afternoon, I’m not going to lie, my first thought was “THANK GOD that it wasn’t me”. Granted I was thinking this as we both dash at top speeds up onto the deck. Turns out that it was time for a Man-Over-Board drill. Can I please point out that it still wasn’t me?!?

We successfully rescued the lifesaving ring, flag on a long pole that floats, and a flashing lantern that all was thrown over to save the man over board. My task was to use the boat pole to retrieve said items. Simple enough right? Well it was, but I learned very quickly about fiberglass splinters. Roughly 6512, give or take 4 or 5, in my right hand from the dang flag pole. OUCH OUCH OUCH. My hand was very tingly and still is as I type this nearly 12 hours later.

Next thing that you know, I am seeing land again! We had made it to Beaufort, NC. We decided that it would be best to come here to wait out a storm system that is coming thru. We should love Tuesday morning, if all goes well. The Capt. ordered the entire ship be cleaned inside and out and we all worked together for a few hours cleaning up. Ship looks awesome. Right after the clean, I was rewarded with my first navigational course. Simple 101, but still very brilliant and very exciting. I can now “drop a dot” meaning take the GPS coordinates and plot our place on the chart.

The Capt. then cooked us dinner! I have got to say that it was a rather odd feeling having a Capt. cook for me/us. I asked him “So what are you poisoning us with tonight” in honor of my time aboard Pride with Capt. Miles. I quite miss him asking me that every night. The answer was Swai fish, rice and squash. A lovely meal and the man can really cook. Afterwards it was a quick walk to the lovely town of Beaufort to hit a bar or two. Gin and Tonics and an order of crab cakes. Loving it here.

On the walk back to our ship, we saw a bunch of rays and eels in the bay!!! We could see them as we walked over a bridge. Four different wildlife’s in one day! I got a lot of baking to catch up on I guess. I have the whole day off tomorrow, because of the weather. Perhaps some baking can happen then.

Kit – The Baker and Deckhand

Posted by kitcusick 20:44 Archived in USA Tagged animals Comments (0)

And We’re Off!

”Nothing Like the First Puke of the Day”


Charleston, SC – in transit to Beaufort, NC
Saturday, May 17th, 2014

Capt. Ordered Stand To for 04:30 this morning, with a departure time of 05:00. We had to leave at that time due to the tide schedule in order to give us every advantage of a successful departure. I know that life is made up of the little things in life, this morning’s victory came in the form my first duty of the day. I was assigned the “forward leading spring” dock line. All I had to do was, at the proper moment, take in the dock line and stow it in a gasket coil. Every other sailor in the world could and probably does do his in their sleep, however I was really pumped on it as I never was assigned a dock line on Pride. Silly, but remember it is the small things in life, right?

The sunrise was incredible. I haven’t seen one since Pride. I think that I will forever associate watching the sunrise and set with sailing and in particular, my time on Pride.

My next major accomplishment was my next very task of leading the Main Halyard. When it was time to set the Mainsil’, I would be the one setting the pace to raise up the sail. It started with four of us, then when it was time to take it to the crank, it was just me! I ended up setting most of the sail by myself! The first sail of our transit. On Pride this is a ten or more person operation the entire time. Totally new experience for me and I am loving it! What’s not to love about sailing?!?

Being assigned to the “A Watch”, my shift officially started at 12:00 noon to 16:00, so after we got the sail set and on the way, watches A & B were stood down. I went right back to sleep, which wasn’t the easiest thing to do in the world. Unlike Pride, which just heels over one direction or the other and stays there until a maneuver happen, this ship rather bounces around. The seas were particularly rough this morning with a lot of bouncing. Nothing major, mind you, but more than I am used to.

I was woken up at 11:15 to dress and be ready for lunch by 11:30. I had to be on deck at 11:50 – IN THEORY. Again my first full watch on this ship. I jumped right up and out of my rack ready to embrace my duties. I sat down to pull up my pants and then promptly vomited. Yes I sure did. First time being sea-sick to the point of vomiting. But like most things that I do in the sailing world, I got the hang of it real quick. Before I know I was able to vomit at top speeds! I could barely dress myself, I was able to make it to the head every time, just in various states of undress. I knew that I had to get on deck to recover by looking at the horizon, so I had to dress. Needless to say that I completely skipped eating lunch and barely got up to the deck on time. I would to say, however that I was on time. I really need to stress that point as that is all I have to cling to in the way of anything positive with my watch. I sat in the shade starring in the horizon until I had to dash to the lee side rail to let lose. Again and again and again. Please keep in mind that we only have two people on A Watch – myself and the Capt. So yes, please let me lose it in front of the Capt. I was not a happy sailor in the least. I even took medication, which I lost only moments later. The saltines were stale and tasted like fish to me and I found the water salty!

I spent the next 45 minutes wondering why I love sailing and what the hell possessed myself to sign up for this gig. If we had a helicopter on deck I would have asked to be air-lifted to shore and left for dead. Luckily for me, and unfortunately for James, I was not alone. He too felt ill, and he mentioned that he felt way better after taking the helm for a bit. So the Capt. asked if I wanted to take the wheel and I said sure. Within 10 minutes I had gotten the course so off that we lost the wind in our sails and come about. KILL ME ALREADY. So the motor had to be started to correct the situation, which I was assured was just fine, as we were starting to lose the wind anyways. Sure, I’ll just cling to that little nugget of hope. I gave up the wheel to Charlie, so I could go vomit again and oddly enough no one tried giving it back to me when I was finished at the rail. Instead I got permission to go and lay back down in my rack. I would have put both my head and my tail between my legs in embarrassment, but I only would have vomited on myself. Back to my rack I went, where I passed out for 5.5 hours. I woke up to a much calmer sea and I was feeling much better – until II stood up. I vomited again! Why not right? I ate some fresh saltines and took the air on the deck for a bit.

Supper was announced at this time – a green leaf salad with goodies in it, white boiled rice, a lovely fresh tomato basil sauce and oven baked chicken breast. I ate five forkfuls of rice and tried the chicken. It was lovely both times I had it. So I took another ½ pill of sea-sickness medication and headed back to my rack as I still had some time before my next watch at 20:00.

I had my wake-up at 19:30 and I felt 95% myself. I dressed and was on deck in plenty of time. I was given the helm, again, upon which I joked at my own expense “because that worked so well last time” This time I only varied 3-4 degrees on either side of my course of 070. I was properly thrilled. I had he helm for the first full hour. A sailfish popped up and was flying right past our ship! We passed each other on the starboard side. Totally awesome. My second hour, I was relieved by the Capt. and simply stood watch and did a boat check at the top of the hour. The third and fourth hours were a repeat of the first two. Easy and delightful. The seas were calm and the stars were in full force. I got to see the moonrise, which was glowing a vibrant red and then slowly fade to a brilliant white. I was able to hold an intellectual conversation with my Capt. I fulfilled a complete watch and pulled my own weight! AWESOMENESS.

Oh yea, this is why I love sailing the ocean blue.

Kit – The vomiting Deckhand, but who wouldn’t have it any other way!

P.S. We are expecting to land in Beaufort, NC sometime late tomorrow afternoon. We are planning on staying there overnight and weather a storm there. I’m off to my rack now as it is 01:00 and my shift starts in 6½ hours from now. Sweet sleep all.

Posted by kitcusick 13:37 Archived in USA Tagged puke seasickness vomit fluingfish Comments (0)

Deckhand at Long Last

An Honest Day's Work

sunny 79 °F
View Geronimo Transit from Charleston, SC to Newport, RI on kitcusick's travel map.

Charleston, SC
Friday, May 16th, 2014

Stand To is at 08:00 today. Breakfast is at 07:30. This is exactly like my Pride schedule. Correction – This s exactly like the Deckhand’s schedule on Pride. LOVING IT!

First thing morning is a muster, when everyone learns what to do for the day. I also got to meet another new Deckhand by the Name of Laura. She is Ben’s sister. And so the mighty crew grows and grows. My first task of the day is ………Provisioning! Yes, that is right folks, my first task as a Deckhand is to grocery shop. Being a Deckhand is SO MUCH BETTER than being the Cook. I liked it because I felt quite familiar with the task and I had the upper hand in the crew to do this. I also got a partner in crime. Laura was assigned to provisioning as well. We hit a vegetable stand/farmers market type of thing first for most of my fresh veg, then across the street to general market for the balance of goods. I was right on target budget wise!

I got to make myself useful in stowing the goods and Galley clean-up. However I also got my tail out of bellows decks and did some “honest work” on deck. Before long it was time to meet the rest of the crew that had arrived while provisioning. James and Phil are both Deckhands as well now. And this brings us to eight, which is our final number. We were granted a 60 minute break, while the Coast Guard came for the final approval. Charlie and I walked into a most beautiful part of Charleston. The homes, oh the homes. So lovely. Palm trees all over not to mention the Spanish moss that just drips off of every tree.

After lunch, which I didn’t make, it was time to be shown the entire ship, learn how to do boat checks and go over safety drills. There was a fashion show of Gumby suits (red immersion suits for floating around in cold water) and a fashion competition between James and Ben on who could don their suit the fastest. A good time was had by all. I learned quite a bit of very useful information – most of which I hope to never have to use. Man Over board, Fire and Evacuate the Ship drills. I also learned that I will be part of the “A” watch and that I am #6 when counting off for a head count. In a way it kind of felt like Sesame Street with all of these numbers and letters!

By the way “A” watch consists of just the Captain and myself. Every other watch has three folks in it. Should be interesting. We were informed that we needed to finish cleaning up the ship and to stow Thunder Chief, our rubber small boat. Needless to say that this took a small while to accomplish, as this is only the Chief Mates’ second week with Geronimo. So it is the “slightly vision impaired leading the blind as a rock around”. But we got it done and it looks pretty good to.

This brings it up to dinner time and luckily we were able to Stand Down by 18:00. We went out to a cheap Southern BBQ restaurant and I had totally awesome food. Again I find myself asking why do I live in MN???

We plan on shoving off at 05:00 tomorrow and I have 12:00-4:00 watches. This ship likes to Dog the Watch, which means that I will have to get up at 04:30 for an All Hands on Deck so that we can depart. Once underway, 6:00ish I’m guessing, I can go below and eat and sleep until 11:30. I then have to Stand my Watch from Noon to 16:00. Eat and sleep then I work from 04:00 to 08:00 Sunday morning. More to follow as I’m able. I’m off to bed now and I am unsure when I’m able to post more blogs, but I will try to keep up with the writing of them.

Kit – The Deckhand and Soon to be Underway Again!

Posted by kitcusick 23:21 Archived in USA Tagged deckhand geronimo Comments (0)

Old Friends - New Friends

It's a Small World After All

View Geronimo Transit from Charleston, SC to Newport, RI on kitcusick's travel map.

Charleston, SC
Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Who the hell gets up this early? Granted I got to bed by 02:30 but the alarm was set for 04:00, so that I could leave my place by 04:30, by there by 05:00 and fly away by 06:30. I work right up and had everything ready to go. My lovely Kate gets me there on time and the poor thing gets to go back home for 60 minutes of a nap before she needs to get ready for the office. It’s a good thing that I am going on a holiday cruise, you know floating around the ocean, sipping on G&Ts and enjoying the shade of palm trees waving overhead. I should come home feeing rested. I know if any of my Pride deckhands are reading this, they probably just spit their drink out, laughing so hard. No complaints from me.
Actually I was super awake the whole flight and could work on some memory work for my Lodge. Score!

I arrived safe and sound in Charleston, SC at 12:30. Ben, my new Second Mate was able to pick me up and whisk me away to the ship. Did I mention the rain??? It poured hard, for a little while then stop. Then start again, then stop. Again and again. I didn’t really get a good chance to even look at the ship exterior because of all of the damn rain.

This, however, gave me ample time to check out the below decks portion. So I really couldn’t even do that, with the electricians still working hard and the entire ship torn apart. It seriously looked like a war zone. It was really hard to walk into this situation, not knowing anyone at all and not knowing where anything was or what to do. IC should mention here that Barb, the one that got me this gig, couldn’t put her life on hold and couldn’t stay for the transit. She left a few days before I got here. Personally I think that she just didn’t want to see me again. However I did get to meet Captain Arrow, Chief Mate Beth, Second Mate Ben, and Deckhand Jeanine (sp?) who was going to leave us the next day. She too couldn’t wait. Luckily everyone here was totally awesome and basically said that there wasn’t really anything to do because of the construction below and the weather above. This was the perfect time for me to move in and make my space my own. I chose the Starboard Upper Rack in the Bunk Room for mine own. This room is very near the bow of the ship and contains racks for 6 souls. I have a drawer and three very good sized lockers to call my own. Twice the space that I had on Pride and for only a week and a half worth of clothing! They issued me linens and a pillow, and the bed got made up, the clothes all sort and put away and before you know it was…..


After nap time, it was time to assist with putting the interior back together and welcoming another new Deckhand aboard by the name of Charlie. He is a tugboat driver from Hew Hampshire and seems to be totally awesome. This is when I got to do something that I quite enjoyed doing. I watched a Deckhand cook me dinner. I cannot imagine why I enjoyed this so much, but I did. She made a lovely Beef stew, sautéed okra and crescent rolls. Score! I didn’t even offer to help for like a whole three minutes. I assisted with the Galley clean-up and then we all went out to a pub for a bit. I had a really good time getting to know these new shipmates of mine. I also got to meet Captain Sarah, who captains for a local tall ship that lives here, by the name of Pride!!! Of course everyone knows everyone that you know, so it was really nifty to be able to be part of that experience. Thank you Pride of Baltimore II again!

Signed consistently thinking “How awesome is this – I have new shipmates”
Kit – The New Shipmate

Posted by kitcusick 23:16 Archived in USA Tagged rain charleston Comments (0)

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