Red, White, and Green

Sunday July 25, 2010

In order to be back to Muskegon (and then back to Grand Rapids) at a decent time we had to be pushing off by no later than 9 am.  We were hoping for only a 12 hour sail back this time, but even at that we’d still be losing an hour and getting to Muskegon sometime around 10 pm.  It probably would have taken more than an earthquake for me to wake up on my own since apparently Mindy had gotten up very early and was ‘crashing around the cabin, slamming cupboards and banging plates and glasses’.  I heard none of this.  Matt thought I was joking when I said I didn’t wake up until he went to shake me awake.  Yeah, I’d say the previous night is probably one of the most tired times I’d ever been in my life.  Not even bothering to put on real clothes I threw a fleece over my pajamas and went to the office to check out.  Matt got the boat ready for departure by filling up diesel and filling up the water tanks.  Hey, might as well enjoy as many perks of the marina as we can.  It didn’t take us nearly as long to get ready to leave as I thought it would.  But since we were just going to be spending a whole day on the boat with only each other it was just quick showers and then back to the boat.  Plus any cleaning up/packing could be done en route.  We were right on schedule for our departure and after gracefully pulling out of our slip we watched Milwaukee disappear behind us as we headed out to sunny skies and blue water.

 

Hello person in the mega yacht, can I be your friend?

Going for the ‘just rolled out of bed’ look

Skyline, Art Museum, and all the beautiful trees!!

The water just leaving Milwaukee was a beautiful emerald green color and any debris from the morning before had vanished.  The wind was quite gusty around 20 knots, so we raised the main and unfurled the jib trying to get as much speed as we could in case winds ran out later in the day.  The waves were about 3-4 ft which slowed progress down just a little bit, but we were still managing 4-5 knots.  Much better than the 3 which initially carried us over.  The first few hours we all hung around in the cockpit pretty quiet, still trying to fully wake up.  Since I had been trying to get myself into healthy eating all spring and summer I’d been depriving myself of one of my favorite things, pop.  (Or soda for you southerners) Just for this trip I’d purchased an eight pack of 24 oz Pepsi and one of Mt Dew, my absolute favorites.  It didn’t take me long to break open a Mt Dew and start getting my sugar buzz on.  Then one of the most depressing things ever happened.  I was about 1/4 through it when it just didn’t seem appealing anymore.  I actually started craving…..water.  What was wrong with me?

Since we didn’t get to do as much partying on the boat as we originally thought, there were still almost 2 full cases of beer and about 10 of the Daily’s premixed cocktails sitting around the boat.  Ken decided that now was as good a time as any to start drinking and the beer began to flow.  Pretty soon we all had a cocktail in our hands as we lounged around.  Since one of the big draws for Mindy to join us on the trip was a promise of at least one full day to lay in the sun while in transit she decided it was high time for us to change into our bikinis and get a little tanning done.  Too bad the temps weren’t in the high 80’s that day because with the winds still blowing hard on us it felt like it was barely 70 degrees out.  Drinks were definitely going to be needed to keep my focus off all the goosebumps on my body.  I’m a bit of a pussy when it comes to bearing skin in cool weather.  For some reason I can run from bar to bar in the middle of December with a tank top and no jacket, but ask me to go away from the protection of the dodger when the winds are over 10 knots and I want to bundle up.  Just one of life great mysteries I guess.

As Matt and I had to work at the drinks in our hands, usually completing only about two per hour and then taking a break from it, Ken was determined to get a little tipsy on this trip at one point and continued to drink beer after beer while sitting in the warm sun.  We tried to convince him and Mindy that sunscreen would be a good idea since the sun reflects right off the water and can burn you pretty badly even if you don’t feel it baking into you because of the wind.  I had it just a few weeks ago that I didn’t reapply mine in the afternoon and thought becuase the sun was getting lower in the sky I’d be safe from sunburn.  Sure enough when I got home that night my legs were putting off heat like a furnace and I had bright red legs the next day.  However, Ken and Mindy did not want to heed our warnings.  Since Minday was used to laying out in the sun almost daily and already had a nice tan going the effects were minimal on her.  Ken on the other hand was not so lucky.  It was late afternoon when he lifted his shirt sleeves and there was a distinct line of red skin and white skin.  Checking his legs under his green board shorts was the same exact thing.  It was almost like someone took a ruler to his skin, drew a straight line and colored half of it red.  Although I felt terrible for the poor guy I could not stop laughing.  Maybe next time we’ll force our guests to put sunscreen on weather they want it or not!

Our whole afternoon was pretty lazy.  We had chillie cheese dogs for dinner…a meal much better for smooth seas.  By preparing/eating them at one at a time we were able to keep the mess minimal.  As far as other boats on the lake that day, there was NOTHING!  Once we were 10 miles out from Milwaukee, we only saw one large tanker.  By the time we began to creep up on Muskegon it was after 10:00 and there were a few fishers out making their way in.  While keeping a close eye out for boats infront or on the side of us…it didn’t really occur to look directly behind us.  I don’t know if it was ESP, but as soon as this thought came into my head I turned around to see the Lake Express Ferry charging at us at 30 knots.  It was a bit off to our rear starboard, but within 30 seconds it was whizzing by to where we could see the faces of people having a smoke out on deck.  We weren’t in any kind of danger, it was just a little shocking to see something so large come up on you so quick.

When we finally attached ourselves back to the mooring it was quarter to 11.  Everyone but me had to be to work early the next morning so Ken and Mindy were completely packed and ready to go when we pulled in.  Matt ran them back to shore while I put away the last few items and made the boat tidy again.  Then I brought our luggage onto the deck and began to load up when Matt came back to get me.  I was pulling out my phone to check the battery when it began to ring.  I answered, and the following conversation went something like this. “Is this Jessica on the phone?”    “Yes….”   “This is the Milwaukee Coast Guard, we’ve been trying to reach you on channel 16 for the past hour, have you not had your radio on?”    “We turned it off when we got back, that was probably right around an hour ago”  (We actually turned it off once we were in sight of land again)    “We received a call from a Crystal Kimble, do you know her?”     “Yeah, she’s my mother-in-law”    “She stated that you were supposed to call her by 9:00 to let her know you’d returned safely, and if she didn’t hear anything that we needed to send out a search for you”     Yes, that’s right.  My mother-in-law had sent out a Coast Guard search for us.  Trying to relay what was happening on the call with Matt who was standing right next to me.  Getting frustrated he goes, “What?  No!  That was for the sail over!!  She was supposed to call the Coast Guard if she didn’t hear from us by 9 am yesterday!  I told her I wasn’t going to call her on the sail back tonight.”   I gave this information to the very nice and understanding man that had spent the last hour trying to reach us.  I did feel a little better when I found out no boats or helicopters had been sent out after us.  They had tried to hail us on the VHF and call Matt’s cell phone (which was dead) and then finally called my cell phone.  I apologized profusely that they had to go through any trouble for us but he stated he was just happy to hear we were ok and wished us a good night.  Would have been interesting to wake up the next morning and see myself on the news as ‘missing at sea’ though.

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