My first sailing adventure!

My first sailing adventure!

The plan was June 1st. But when sailing you can never be sure.
Everything was weather dependent; and so on May 23rd we set sail.

I had had three days experience. Ali had had one. Even still the captains reassured us that we would learn as we went. “Just don’t hit another boat” he told us. It seemed easy enough.

The day before our big trip we went to the grocery store and stocked up on supplies. We bought pizza and other food that was easy to prepare. Focused activities on the boat (such as cooking) can often bring on sea sickness. Its like reading a book in the back seat of a bumpy car. “Better safe than sorry” I told Ali as I tossed a second box of veggie patties into our shopping cart.

When morning broke, we were all happy for a clear sunny day. We filled our water tanks, disconnected from shore power, topped off our gas, and set sail.

There was no wind as we pulled out of the Limassol Marina, and so we motored with one engine at 6 knots. 

Ali and I were full of anticipation and excitement. As we stood on the bow taking pictures of the coastline and passing boats, a school of dolphins greeted us, as if to wish us good luck. 

Between the three of us, our watches were split: 8-12, 12-4 and 4-8, with each person taking the same hours through the night shift. I had the first watch and was happy for it. The landscape leaving Cyprus was beautiful!

We sailed with views of the mountains and large rocky cliffs down the 50 mile coastline from Limassol. 

At 12pm Ali took over watch and I went to take a nap. I thought sailing would be like normal life just on a boat, but it was actually quite exhausting. The constant movement made me feel lethargic and threw off my sense of gravity. Unless I was lying down, or sitting with my back propped up against something, every activity took twice the amount of normal physical strain.

In the evening I reappeared on deck and was surprised to see the island still in sight. We had been sailing for 12 hours and had traveled only 43 nautical miles.

Logically I knew, sailing is supposed to be slow. But being use to van life, road tripping 300 miles usually takes no more than 6 hours. Our trip was 381 miles (331 nautical miles) and was going to take nearly three days!

In the calm weather conditions, 7mph is nice. But in rough waves and when prone to sea sickness 7mph can be hell; like being sick on a circus ride and knowing you cant get off for days. Needless to say, I was praying for calm conditions.

As I settled into the helm, the sky stretched vast and clear before us. The sunset sent muti colors stretching across the skyline and slightly right, above the moon, I could see Venus.
The wind was picking up now and the waves were starting to get rocky. Despite this, the helm was the one spot I could sit, completely immune to seasickness. And so I snuggled up in the seat with a blanket, ready for my first evening watch.  

On the morning of the third day I woke up rough; covered in salt and sunburn, my hair a tangled mess. After night watch number 1, I had gone immediately to shower. It felt good to wash off a layer of ocean salt, but after 5 minutes I was green and over the toilet. I had spent day number 2 on watch and laying in bed. This was NOT the way I had foreseen things going. 

Sailing was my dream! I had wanting this for years!
I had envisioned how my striped dress would blow romantically in the wind, how good I would be at pulling lines and adjusting sails, how I would feel alive and free.

At this point I couldn’t imagine wearing anything other than leggings, I couldn’t get a brush through my hair and I felt trapped. 

As far as sailing, the boat was equipped with all the modern technology and basically sailed itself. During the captains watch, he would sit inside on his computer, occasionally adjusting the steering from his Ipad. Every once in a while when the wind would take our side, he would raise or adjust the sails with an electric winch.

During my watches, we motored; with the steering preset. I felt cheated- This wasnt “real sailing.

On the morning of the forth day we pulled into Crete. I was full of mixed emotions, but mostly, grateful for land. I loved the open sea, the boat, the idea of sailing, but in reality It had turned out nothing like I expected. Still I was grateful for the experience, and determined to focus on the positive. 

I was in Greece! At long last!

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