Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shanghaied Part V--Abandon Ship!

Lisa Saunders on sailboat in Annapolis with her Starbucks the morning of departure
Monday, March 13, 2012
Well, it's over--and I'm alive to tell the tale.
My mother, an adventuress herself, was excited that I was embarking on a great sea voyage—a once in a lifetime opportunity, she thought. My father, on the other hand, was worried sick. When he last sailed the Long Island Sound as a passenger, he spent time calculating his distance from land and whether or not he could make it if he had to jump overboard. He came to the conclusion that if he wasn't run over by another boat,  he could survive a two-mile swim to shore. Given the time of year I would be sailing in, however, he knew I would never be able to swim that far without giving into hypothermia. In an effort to cheer my father up, our daugther, Jackie, sent the following e-mail to my parents the moment a major event had been confirmed:  
Abandon Ship! Or, Land-Ho!
The Lisa and Jim Story: Adventure on the High Seas
As told by their daughter, impartial bystander, Jackie Tortora
On Friday, March 9, 4:30 p.m., I received a text from my mom that she and Dad had arrived in Union Station in D.C. I left my office and walked next door to Union Station where I found Mom with an enormous pack on her back (she looked like a European backpacker carrying 50 pounds of crap) and Dad who was carrying a large duffel bag, looking like he wanted to set it down. 
We went to dinner at a nice little Greek restaurant. As Mom sipped red wine and generously buttered a large platter of dinner rolls, she voiced concern that Neil and Jules were stuck with all the horrid tasks of readying and de-winterizing the boat, while she sat in a heated restaurant eating chicken kabobs and stuffed Portabella mushrooms. "I feel guilty," she said, trying not to smile as she took another sip of wine. Something made me wonder if she really felt guilty. I think she was very happy to escape the manual labor part of the trip. 
Paul [Jackie’s husband] and I took Mom and Dad to the quaint, touristy part of Annapolis the following day to wait for Jules and Neil, who would be sailing in to pick them up on their way to a remote marina called Carr Creek. After a tough day of sailing, Jules and Neil finally showed up around 8 p.m. They loaded my parent’s train luggage onto their sailboat, plus 20 bags full of "worst case scenario" supplies that Mom insisted we buy at Target.
My parents’ "room," or more accurately, a raised bed in a cupboard, was about the size of two small desks. It was already filled to the brim with the massive amount of luggage they gave to Jules and Neil to lug from Mystic. I had no idea how they would fit on their bed. Maybe Mom would make Dad sleep on top of it all.
The toilet was inside the shower. Since they weren't going to waste electricity on a luxury like hot water, they wouldn't be showering much on this trip. But if they did, they would simply cover the toilet with wooden slats, which then made it a shower. Paul was very interested in the possibility of showering while using the toilet at the same time. He figured that would save hours of time over the span of his life. Paul also said going on a boat seemed like a punishment. He could just picture his Dad threatening him with it when he was misbehaving as a child. "That's it! You're going on the boat!" 
As we waved goodbye to my parents, Paul asked why no one was able to talk my parents out of this. I assured him my grandfather was not thrilled, but Mom was determined to have her adventures and stories...Dad’s ailing back be d_mned! 
The next morning, Sunday, I received a text from my mom saying that Neil and Jules decided to remain at the marina in Annapolis instead of sailing on to the remote, cheaper marina. This made Mom very happy. She was able to have her Starbucks in the morning before they set sail.
Later that day, at about 5 p.m., I received another text from mom.  She wanted to get off the boat IMMEDIATELY. She asked me and her friend Cindy to Google ways to get her out of there. Hours later, at approximately 2 a.m., the seafarers finally made it to a marina half way through the Chesapeake & Delaware canal to Bear, Delaware. After a few hours sleep, the adventurers parted ways.
Upon abandoning ship, Mom and Dad took a half-hour cab ride to Wilmington, DE, and, as I write this, are on a train heading to Mystic, CT.
I am missing many details, but I’m sure Mom will fill in the gaps later. 
Love, Jackie
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
OK, it’s me, Lisa Saunders here. Now begins the task of filling in the “gaps.” Although Jim and I were only on the boat for about 36 hours, I've had enough adventure to last a lifetime! If you want to know more about sailing, and why it should be avoided at all costs, contact me at saundersbooks@aol.com

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