If you read Part I of this series, you know we were just heading out under the Golden Gate bridge on our way to Seattle.
Before I get into the next part of this story, let me explain that the Captain in charge of this yacht is exceptionally seasoned. He is more than qualified to run, not only a boat this size, but much, much larger. He’s also super careful. Because we were doing 24-hour runs (which means the boat doesn’t stop, we literally “go” all day, every day until we get to our destination), we had two other captains aboard so that each watch always has a captain in charge. They are all very experienced, very cautious and are always well-prepared. So, that means weather forecasts were checked and double-checked and there was no indication really of what we were about to experience.
Passing the Marin Headlands, we hang a right round Pt. Bonita Lighthouse. Since we are now in open Ocean, of course there’s more of a swell. But, as we continue north, not only is the swell increasing, so is the wind…wait, that wasn’t expected. About an hour later, it’s clear that the waves are only increasing in size, so I was directed to start securing “loose” things that could easily shift and fall in the galley. These are, at first, really obvious things: cookbooks on the slippery granite countertops, any dishes or glassware left out. One very important “item” to move was a Japanese Beta fish in his clear bowl. While his “real” name was Poseidon, I’d always made fun of him and to me he was known as “Sushi.” In order to secure him, I tucked him into the corner of the galley and placed a non-slip mat under his bowl.
As the waves continued to grow, I am beginning to question the wisdom of serving the crew lasagna. The previous temp chef had prepared a big pan of it and Cappy had informed me that it was to be tonight’s dinner. Ok, I thought…it was bad enough that, earlier in the day, our deckhand had discovered a 1/2 full jar of pickled herring left behind by one of the guests…apparently he LOVES pickled herring. His polishing off that “treat” was going to come back to haunt him later…
Here’s a glimpse of what it was like, as I was trying to get things tidied up. Oh, that creaking you hear in the background…that’s the yacht’s structures and fiberglass being stressed by the swell…
Right now, it doesn’t look so bad. A “little lumpy” as we now refer to it once we’ve been through a few of these. Recall that this is my FIRST open water delivery so it just looked ominous and dark to me. Hey, I don’t know anything about anything at this point, so why worry, right?
We continue on…the swell gets bigger. The water gets rougher, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to back down any time soon. I do like weather, and I’m all for a good storm, but I have to admit…I’m getting a little bit nervous. I heat the oven and pop that lasagna in to warm.
At this point, I’m also looking at my menu plan for the next few hours. Since there will be crew up around the clock, it’s important that I have things for them to eat when they get the munchies or have need an overnight snack at 3am. I had planned to make an eggy-muffin sandwich and have them ready to heat, wrapped in cello, in the fridge. But, as much as the boat is rocking right now, I’m not about to take a skillet out and cook on the stovetop, even if it does have sea rails. So, I cook bacon in the microwave, also manage to cobble together something resembling scrambled eggs in it as well and assemble reasonably tasty looking sandwiches. Unlock the fridge (yes, there’s a lock on it for just such bumpy transits), and pop them in.
That’s something most people who aren’t boaters/yachties don’t know: there are locks on drawers and lockers (cupboards to you land lubbers). There are many ways to secure things that slide on a boat and this is just one way to keep things where they should be…most of the time.
Another hour goes by…the waves get bigger. The swell now has a curl of foam on it, too. Oh, joy.
It’s easy to tell what hasn’t been secured: we hit a series of swells and something goes “crash” somewhere around the boat, and you can hear comments from the crew: “Holy sh**! What was THAT?” And someone goes to investigate. I tell the crew their lasagna is ready anytime they want it, and i turn the oven down to keep things warm. I have never had a sensitive stomach traveling, but I’ve never been in water like this before. The roughest was a fishing trip off Cabo one year where EVERYONE on the boat except me, the captain and the deckhand were seasick. The three of us sat up in the flying bridge as the boat tipped at 30 degree angles. The rest of them…foolishly sat below in the cabin passing around wastebaskets if they couldn’t make it to the head. Important safety tip: if you wait to take Dramamine until you start feeling sick, it’s too late.
Ok, I’m going to leave off for now. In the next entry, I’ll start getting to the really interesting parts. And, I’ll confirm for you that lasagna was NOT the right food for this part of the trip. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so!