Son of a Son of a Sailor I’m Not

Bay @ St. Thomas

St. Thomas.  Beautiful St. Thomas.  It was the first port of call on our trip through the Virgin Islands and it was a sight to see.  The bay… or is it harbor?… was filled sailboats, all floating in the water.  So many colors.  So warm.  So not winter.  So wonderful.  This is the day we went sailing and snorkeling.  It was perfect.  Well, almost perfect.

Know how I said I was afraid to take Mac on our excursions because there was possibility for losing him?  This was one of those days.  We’d be on the water all day and I couldn’t stand the idea of getting that beautiful 7D wet.  Paco came for the trip instead and I even sweated bullets with that camera – it was on my wrist the entire time.  But I’m glad I had it.  I didn’t get any good pictures – everything I photographed was more like a snapshot instead.  But when I looked through them when we returned home, I laughed.  A lot.

This was our sailing trip.  There were six of us – we were going to be the only six on the boat [along with the crew] and we were stoked.  Can’t you tell how stoked everyone was?

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That is not our ship.  I took this picture because that little dingy down there was our escort to the sailboat.  I did not expect to have to ride in a raft… I don’t know what I expected really… but ride in a raft we did.  That dingy is minute compared to that ship.

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Minute.  As in incredibly small and possibly life-endangering.  (Lies.  Life wasn’t endangered.  That’s all hyperbole.)

Below was the crew: Captain Carlo and Katie the snorkel instructor.  The boat had eight people on it.  I don’t think it could hold much more.  I say this to reiterate how small the sailboat was.  That’s important.  It wasn’t some large sailing vessel that tamed the seas.  No.  There was no taming whatsoever.

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So.  There’s Captain Carlo.  There’s Katie.

There’s myself and the hubs.

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And Rev and Mrs. Rev.

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And Alan and Martha.

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Count ’em: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.  Eight people.  One small boat.  No taming.  Do you copy?  Roger that, please, because this next series shows me and a weakness I have for making the most excruciating faces possible when having my picture taken.

To set up the series, I’ll let you know that the boat was a’swayin’.  And it was a’swayin’ so that Alan wanted to capture it in pixels.  I handed him Paco.  And he pointed and shot.  Now you’ll notice that camera does not move – this is the boat moving.  Actually, I have no idea if that is true but it sounds good and I’m going with it.

Don’t make fun of me.  I make fun back.

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1. “Hey look guys!  We’re on a boat!  A SAILBOAT!!  This is awesome.  People wish they were us right now.  Yeah… I’m on a boat, being carted off to go snorkeling and possible attacked by ocean organisms but who cares: I’M ON A BOAT!”

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2. “Uh… holy capsize, Batman, what is wrong with this boat?!?!  One second my eyes are on the horizon, the next I’m staring at my imminent death in the deep blue sea.  Not cool, boat, not cool.  Stop it.  Now.  I mean business.  Ahhhh!!!”

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3. “That’s better.  Horizon.  Still going to hold on for dear life just in case.  You can never be too careful.  DAd always said to expect the unexpected.  Oh jeez… not now stomach.”

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4. “Oh look.  We’re moving.  Sideways.  Fantastic.  Can’t wait.”

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5. “DID YOU GUYS FEEL THAT!?!?!?!  OH MY GOD!!!  WE MIGHT DIE OUT HERE!!!  WHY DOESN’T THING HAVE SEAT BELTS!  MIKE, I LOVE YOU, STOP LAUGHING AT ME!”

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6. “Ah, hey Katie… can’t handle the splashing water, huh?  Yeah… it’s kind of choppy right?  What do you mean this isn’t choppy???  Crap.  I’m a wimp.”

We sailed for about 45 minutes.  We anchored at Buck Island and hopped in the water.  I have never snorkeled – I don’t like the organisms in the water.  I blame it on my first experience at Myrtle Beach during jelly fish season – me and the organisms do not coexist.  But I snorkeled anyway.  And I’m so glad I did because it was fantastic.  Katie would swim down and bring things up for us to look at.  The fish were so cool.  The antimatter (aka black sea urchins) kind of bothered me but as long as it didn’t float, I was OK with it.  It was great and I cannot wait to go snorkeling again.  Like, next week would be good.

The sail back was more eventful.  I tried to photograph the pirate ship but the boat was moving so much I gave up – I decided to hold on for dear life instead.  Sitting in the wind did help with the nausea and I’m happy to report that none of these land lovers got green in the face.  But something did happen.  And it was ironic.  Because Alan had asked on our way out how often sails ripped and Captain Carlo answered in his Hungarian accent, “Uh, not often.  Which is good because they’re expensive to replace.”

I’m here to report the damn sail ripped.  It rrrrrriiiippppppppppeeeeedddddd right down the seam.  My first thought was “I was right – I’m gonna die out here.” As they pulled it in, it ripped even more.  “Yep… dying a little right now.” Captain Carlo immediately said it was no one’s fault but then wanted to know who asked about sails ripping.

Alan… what do you have to say for yourself?

We made it back in one piece.  And even though I thought there was a chance I could a) be thrown overboard, b) be attacked by a sea creature, c) be related to Darth Vader after hearing myself in the snorkel mask and/or d) die, I had so much fun.  This was my favorite day.  The first day was my favorite.  I think the others had too much to live up to.  Because it was [almost] perfect.

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We may be windblown but we’re smiling.  Probably because we’re on land.  And off that minute dingy.

To learn more about Brooke and see her recent work, visit her new site at brookemurphyphoto.com. Follow Brooke on Facebook or Twitter.

January 17, 2011 - 10:12 am

Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon - Brooke, I also hold on for dear life when I’m on any kind of boat. So glad you gave the snorkeling a chance. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

January 17, 2011 - 10:17 am

Becki D - You are awesome. And way braver than me! I am terrified of sea creatures. I live in Florida on the Emerald Coast, but you know how often I brave those jewel toned waters? Once or twice a summer. Never snorkeling or diving. Screw that, stuff with teeth live down there!

January 17, 2011 - 10:34 am

Brooke - Ohmigosh, Becki, that’s how I am!! The jelly fish at Myrtle was a turn off – I actually stepped in gum the first time I ventured into the ocean and thought it was a jelly fish. Ew. Orange Beach had seaweed and something bit Mike – didn’t like it. In Mexico, I was just scared. But this time we were away from the coast and we could see straight down. The idea of having to “watch for barracudas” didn’t go over well but it was great. When we went to Cockleshell Bay two days later, I hopped right in because it was crystal clear with zero seaweed. The Caribbean Sea is my friend.

January 17, 2011 - 10:42 am

bro - So you had an experience with jellyfish? Did someone have to pee on your foot?

January 17, 2011 - 10:47 am

Brooke - Did you miss the part where I said it was chewing gum? I had no encounter with a jelly fish – I avoided the beach as if my life depended on it after have to scrap gum off my 11 year old foot.

January 18, 2011 - 1:48 pm

Denise - You got some really great shots.

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