Wednesday, August 10, 2011

on the shipwreck {part one}.

the irving johnson. via here.
2005, to put it lightly, was not my year. my boyfriend and i broke up when i came home from study abroad and it didn't go well. cheating. lies. betrayal. so many things came to light in a short period of time. that break-up really it had it all. it was, at the time, one of the worst and most painful times of my life. as i've gotten older i've gained more perspective on it and realized there are worse losses in life. but everyone has heartache at some point, and at that point it was my heartache and it had consumed my life. by march i was ready to go very, very far away and do anything to take my mind off of it.
so, i thought, i'll learn how to sail.
a program at my school offered the opportunity and while i'm never one to take an active vacation, much preferring the lazy, relaxing kind, i thought being busy and doing something different would help keep my mind off my troubles.
the last week of march i flew out to california, ready to sail the channel islands with 15 other strangers from various colleges and a ten person crew with more than enough sailing experience to go around.
the first night out on the water was a disaster. i threw up everywhere, all the time - sea-sickness hit me hard. i felt like i was on a floating frat house keg party - people were just getting sick everywhere. that night, when we fell asleep in our bunk-beds under deck, i wondered why i thought this was a good idea. 
my first, and only full day on ship, went better. while i was exhausted i only got a sick a few times, and by the end of the day i was back to normal. we let our anchor down at night near one of the islands, and i stood the first shift of night watch with a few other people. the stars were amazing, the conversation was lively, and i felt miles away from my troubles. unlike the pervious night, it was a good reminder for why i had signed up for this adventure in the first place.
our second full day was spent sailing back into land - we would spend a night docked in the harbor before picking up under-privileged children to sail with us the next day. as we neared the harbor we started to take our sails down and turned the engine on. i was standing by the rail, looking into the harbor when it happened.
side note: you know when you bring a canoe into shore?
you paddle until you feel it run into the sand, then jump out and drag the canoe out of the water?
well, we felt that same bump.
except we were in a 90 foot tallship, a few miles offshore.
when that jolt happened, i had a feeling it wasn't good. when i heard the captain curse under his breath i knew it wasn't good.
and that's when we started passing out life jackets.


  1. YES! The shipwreck story! I can completely see you there on that ship. What a perfect way to get some perspective after a failed romance. And good for you for sticking it out after getting so sick.

    That sounds like an awesome program. We don't have fancy stuff like that down in Alabama. (ha) Too bad it didn't end well...

    I can't wait to read the rest! Tomorrow, please? :)

  2. Wow! I would love to have the experience-not so much the shipwreck, but the sailing. I used to sail at camp in the summers, and I just love the feeling of being out on the water skippering a boat by yourself.


    Erin @

  3. Way to leave us hanging! I can see how learning to sail would seem like a perfect distraction at the time. The thought of a shipwreck freaks me out!

  4. Fantastic post. I can't wait to read part two. This is quite an adventure and a fantastic story.

    P.S. I just noticed I am the 3rd Erin in a row to comment on this post. Weird:)



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