Thursday, August 22, 2013

28th New Thing ~ Water Wings

I took 319 pictures of this New Thing. And trying to narrow it down to a select "few" for the post is taking longer than the two-day adventure of the 28th New Thing itself.

Joujou is French for 'toy.'

There's something about my friends, Jim & Laurie.....and the water.
They live in a house just on the water.
They provided and set up my outdoor bath tub, which I frequently fill with water and which overlooks the waters of Puget Sound.
They'll have spent the entire summer sailing up the coast of Canada, from Washington to Alaska, living on their boat. The water is implied.
They took me out on the water.... for my first time, sailing.

28th New Thing ~ Sailing

It wasn't just my first time sailing. It was also my first time on a yacht or any vessel (other than a ferry) on salt water. It's not that I'm against or afraid of boats. It's simply that I've had very little exposure.
My only childhood memory of being in a boat wasn't even on the water.  The boat sat on a trailer, stored in my grandpa's garage. I'd climb up into that boat and pretend stuff. Mostly, I loved the steering wheel. I stood on that little blue and white boat and steered myself all around the world.

Jim and Laurie live next door to me. And they own my little beach cabin. I've known that they had a sail boat for a couple years now, but had never seen it.

Upon first gathering ideas for potential New Things, I listed "Sailboat." And I asked Jim if I could come see their boat. Really, I was just hoping to 'come aboard.' Take a look around, ask some questions, snap some pictures and write my New Thing about being on a sail boat.

Jim said yes, and that we'd have to the boat out. "Out? Oh gee, that's not really necessary," acting like I didn't want to put them out.

But in actuality, I was a little nervous about being out on a real boat on actual water.

For the record, I wasn't afraid of "no boat accident."
I was slightly concerned, however, that I'd spend the entire time leaning over the rail, throwing up.

Sometime in early May, Laurie said that we needed to pin down a weekend for sailing. A weekend? Yes, we'd go out, spend the night and return the next day.
Yes, overnight.

Did you know that there's a Maritime Superstition that it's bad luck to start a voyage on a Friday?

Friday afternoon, I met the crew of Joujou in Gig Harbor.

Jim prepares for our voyage. 

Laurie prepares for our voyage.

Little Bug prepares for our voyage.

Stowaway Spider prepares for our voyage.

Little Bug prepares to eat Stowaway Spider.

Did you also know there's a Sailor's Superstition that it's bad luck to have a woman on board? Distracted the sailors from their duties. Unless she's a naked woman, in which case she's said to calm the seas. (

Leaving Gig Harbor.

It's a beautiful gray day.

Looks like we just cut a path through the land, as well as the water. 

Part of the abundance of pictures has to do with 
the beautiful clouds we saw, both days. 
In the Pacific Northwest, they are easy to dismiss 
because we are so accustomed to the cloudy skies. 
But I'm continually amazed and grateful 
to live where there are beautiful, abundant and ever-changing clouds. 
(I love that about me!) 

Popcorn and M&Ms
Vashon, from an angle I've never seen before.

Jim doing some nautical, sailory stuff...

...that looks important.

It's hard to describe the sound of the wind as it fills the sail. I love it.

Heading north through Colvos Passage

Alki and West Seattle, if I really squint. 

Happy feet!

I know there is an abundance of 'correct' terminology for different things on a boat. I know, for example, that the rope or line on a boat is not called 'strings.' But because I can't remember what it's called precisely, I'm calling the tip of the boat, the Pointy End. 

My orchestrated Titanic Moment...followed by.....

.....My Bona Fide Barbie Moment.


Coming up on Blake Island...or is that really an "uncharted desert isle?"


Welcome to Blake Island.

Entering the harbor.

There was no room at the...dock.

So, we 'rafted' onto the George Emery. 

Then we explored the island...

This is a shot of me wishing I had a more powerful lens for my camera.

It was such a lovely evening.

As I was packing in preparation for this trip, it seemed to feel somewhat familiar.
We'd be gone overnight. 
Sleeping in the great outdoors, kind of.
My packing list included flashlight, pillow, stocking cap and warm clothes.
Wait a minute.... this sounds a little bit like camping, only on water.
I wondered, "Is this a trick?"

But it was nothing like camping on water.
This was the opposite of camping.  THIS was wonderful.
Jim and Laurie were such good hosts, 
it was actually like a Bed and Breakfast on the Water. 
(Now that's a business idea!)
I slept great. The crisp morning air greeted me with the smell of coffee and breakfast.
And Schoolboys to dip in my coffee.
It was wonderful (did I already say that?) and I could totally get used to this.

The Women's Room was being cleaned....Laurie and I improvised. 

This yacht had recently been to Panama.

I loved all the boat-y looking things. 

Good-bye, Blake Island!

On the way up to Blake Island, there wasn't much wind. We motored most of the way. 
But on Saturday, we truly sailed for the return trip. It was wonderful.

This is Knot Tying 101.

This is the realization that I might need 
Remedial Knot Tying before 101.

This is Jim explaining that maybe I should find a different hobby.

I was, at least, able to tie my own shoes.
No, I swear...Jim did not help me with this.

This is later, when Jim was retelling the story of how he would have rather pushed me overboard than to continue trying to teach me how to tie a knot. 

Sailing back into Gig Harbor. 
And I'm happy to report that there was not one queasy moment. 
Thanks to Laurie's magic wrist bands.

Some New Things take a vacation day to accomplish.....and some New Things take a vacation day to recover.
Just prior to the sailing trip, I had taken some time off. And I'd be taking a long stretch, just after. So I didn't give myself a cushion day. 

I wondered if I'd be sorry to use my regular two days off for this adventure, then go right back to work on Sunday. Some New Things can be really exhausting or intense or stressful, so that when I go back to work, I feel like I didn't really have any time off at all.
But when I got back to work, on my regular Sunday, I felt like I'd been off for a week. Like I had to catch up on my email, phone messages and concentrate to remember what I'd been working on before I left.
The sailing was so incredibly peaceful and restful that I felt like I'd truly gotten away. Slipped from the real world into a relaxing fantasy and traveled so far away. 

At one point in our trip, Jim told me about how some of our common phrases originated from sailing terminology.
Two examples he gave: 
  • "By and large" (either way, into or with the wind)
  • "High strung" (I'm not sure exactly what, probably something to do with the strings?)  

When I got home I looked up a few more. I found these at

Rummage sale – A sale of damaged cargo (from French arrimage)

Footloose – If the foot of a sail is not secured properly, it is footloose, blowing around in the wind.

Bitter end - The anchor cable is tied to the bitts, when the cable is fully paid out, the bitter end has been reached. 

Cat o' nine tails – A short nine-tailed whip kept by the bosun's mate to flog sailors (and soldiers in the Army). When not in use, the cat was kept in a baize bag, hence the term "cat out of the bag". "Not enough room to swing a cat" also derives from this.

Sway - A vessel's motion from side to side.
  • Also used as a verb meaning to hoist. "Sway up my dunnage." (I don't know what this means but I think we should all go around saying it.) 
Probably my favorite:
Groggy - Drunk from having consumed a lot of grog. 

I'll let you go look up this one: Kissing the gunner's daughter. It's a little saucy, savvy?

Other terms, of interesting nautical origin: 
Cut and run, Touch and go, Thwart, 
Clean bill of health, Three sheets to the wind, 
Skyscraper, Taken aback, Dressed down, Under the weather, 
Son of a gun

My deep thanks for Jim & Laurie. And to them, I say:
Fair winds and following seas
(A blessing, to wish the recipient safe journey and good fortune.)

Just so you know, I really wanted to post all 319 pictures for this New Thing. 
Mostly because then I could use the line: "We're gonna need a bigger blog."  
(I know, I know...I couldn't help it!)