Drakka has been giving us the stinkeye. She's bored. Poor gal has been tethered at the dock for weeks while we attend to THE GREAT ESCAPE. We showed up to patch some gaps n' scour some scum, and she let out a passive aggressive fire sigh that, coming from a dragon, was enough to singe our eyebrows.
"Drakka! Babygirl, what's the matter?"
"You don't love me anymore," she groaned, flopping her head against the dock with a resounding thud.
"That's not true! We’re crazy about you! We’re just spending our time pimping you out for the journey ahead."
Her head whipped around so fast it almost knocked C into the water. "Journey!?!"
"Ohhh... we... sort of forgot to tell you darling, we're sailing SOUTH. To the magical land of not-so-cold, where snotcicles melt away and wool mittens are used as coozies to keep beer cold. Plus, hold on to your dragonly dorsal fins, we've gotten you presents for the journey!"
She eyed us coyly, batting her molten lashes, "What kiiind of presents?"
"For starters we found you TWO new anchors, so that nobody has to rely on drunk Hank. First we have Danny, who is a standard Danforth anchor good for mucky bottoms (mucky bottoms! Such a good name for a southern blues singer!), as well as Ohshit, who was described as such by the man at the marine consignment store on Long Island next door to the titty bar which we did not go to, thankyouverymuch and sorrybutnotsorry, C. Ohshit has our back if a tsunami comes (more or less)."
"And then," C and I grin, exchanging glances and biting our lips, "we got you..." (cue Sebastion the hermit crab's musical entourage; seashells trumpeting, steel drum fanfare, etc) "... A Dinghy!"
Drakka hiccuped an orange puff of fire. "A what?"
"A dinghy! A sidekick! Mini vessel extraordinaire that barnacles on deck while we sail, then pops out and plops down when we anchor, allows us to go ashore, get groceries, set anchors, and I dunno maybe get away from each other if things get too snug, who knows!"
Our dinghy, which we found at that same blessed consignment store, is a used Porta-bote. A snappy contraption that accordions up to something about the size of me if you flattened me out with a steamroller, but can be pried open and forcefully wedged with seat planks, adorned with oars, and rowed out to wherever you please. It sounds super ingenious and convenient and it definitely is the former. Convenient, well, let's just say getting her ready is like C & I trying to fold an origami snapping turtle out of a slab of petrified beef jerky on the very narrow bow (front) of our boat. Then she gets tied to the halyard (a rope that is connected to the tip top of our mast), so we can use the winch (blessed rotary device that transfers weight like Arnold Schwartzeneggar in clockwise form) to lift her up, push her over the edge, and lower her into the water. That sounds reasonable and plausible. In effect it's extremely awkward and gangly. Our dinghy may as well be a giraffe with rigor mortis when it's time to drop her overboard.
What else you ask?? Gosh you are such a good, curious audience. Continuing the pimping, we tensioned the rigging (steel cables that hold the mast in place), put in valves to make sure she doesn't take on water when we sail, restitched some worn areas in our front sail that are getting shabby, repaired the tiny solar fan embedded in the deck (amateur soldering hour), patched her docking scars (C's surfboard repair skills coming in handy), and gave her a butt lift. By that I mean painted her name. No self-respecting sign painter can go tooting around in a vessel with vinyl lettering <insert vomit here>. Sprawled out on the deck draped over the edge swearing at the rippling water every time it made Drakka bob and jiggle beneath my poised brush-in-hand. So now she's got some fancy rump work laden with deep juju of frustration and ire. Excellent.
On to THE GREAT ESCAPE. Firstly we are going to sail to North Carolina. This means:
1. Leave November 2nd, or thereabouts wind and weather permitting.
2. Sail down along the Jersey shore. Stopping at treacherously shallow inlets OR sailing through the night and leap-frogging incremental nap shifts until we reach Cape May (at the very bottom tip of NJ).
3. Not being seasick. (Please please puhleeeease, body of mine, embrace the tipsy turvy!)
4. Not freezing to death.
5. Either sailing up through the Delaware Bay, through the D&C man-made canal to the Chesapeake, anchoring in Annapolis, sailing down the Chesapeake to the entrance of the Intracoastal Waterway in Norfolk, VA, OR (as in "or", not Oregon; you all know VA is nowhere near OR, don't you?) continuing to sail along the coastal Atlantic, bypassing aforementioned bays until we reach that entrance.
6. Continuing into the ICW, a narrow waterway of partially natural bodies/partially manmade canals that serve as protected waters more or less inland. Involving mucho motoring with Little Penny and not-so-much sailing with her wings up.
7. Arriving in Mesic, NC, where we will have the most glorious hot showers of our lives at the home of C's parents who will host us through the holidays. Also where I will paint minis. Also where we will take on mighty Drakka projects with the help of C's dad who knows way more about diesel engines than we do, in preparation for the rest of THE GREAT ESCAPE, which, let's not get too excited but who are we kidding let's get naked and dance around ululating about it, involves tropical islands that will as yet remain unmentioned (wouldn't that be a fun illustration).
We're giving ourselves two weeks, knowing full well there may be blunders, snafoos and sea monsters. People are asking, how do I feel about all this? Mmmmercurial. Three weeks ago I was clogged with terror. Two weeks ago caterpillars of joy were tickling my gut with excitement. This week all the feelings, combined with the stress of packing & moving, have thrust me into a numb shock. We're both very aware of the gravity of this endeavor, but I think C is better at maintaining a buoyancy and an eye on the horizon. I tend to navel gaze and gnaw on potential man overboard scenarios as I'm falling asleep at night. That's why I draw! To shake myself out of seriousness.
Internet access, that great beast that we are either busy taking for granted or gritting our frothing teeth at the lack of, is mighty unpredictable from here on out. Hoping to post incremental updates as we go if I can keep my puke off the watercolors!
All the love & emojis,