Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Short and sweet, I left TX yesterday, had a great time, flights got diverted, had to spend the night in snowy Chicago. Ate REAL Chicago style deep dish pizza, leaving for the airport now.


See yall in Bermuda in 5 days!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thank you Dave and the Living Like a Pirate team!!!


As you know I have been in contact with Dave over at www.livinglikeapirate.com and he has been very interested in the Amistad and our mission. Through email correspondence I gave him info about us and the trip, he expressed interest and offered to send me some "booty" a.k.a. a t-shirt and stickers and a coozie for my beer and some temporary tattoos for me and the crew. Too cool. Then he told me he was going to send shirts and stuff for the crew too! Today I got both packages and to my surprise...

On top of the goods was a letter in an envelope...
It read:


Thank you for giving me a way to be a small part of the history of the Schooner Amistad. Enclosed is a small check to help & lots of LLAP gear. I hope you & your crewmates enjoy them as you embark of this adventure.

Have a great time & please keep me posted so I can follow your historical cruise.

Good Sailing!

Dave Ladage

How awesome! So I looked in the envelope again only to find a not-so-small check! WHOA NELLY!!!! All I can say is THANK YOU. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! It's people like Dave that keep these non-profit corporations going through the tough times.

I'm sure I speak for all the members of Amistad America when I say how much your donation is appreciated.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Home at last.

After a solid 12 hours of travel that started at 4am in Norfolk, Virginia I am now home at my parent's house in Allen, Texas. So happy. So tired. So full. Mom made pot roast and mashed potatoes and gravy and corn. Yum. I am gonna sleep like a baby.

I am pretty bummed that I wont be doing the crossing from Norfolk to Bermuda because I feel like the rest of the crew is going to learn so much and bond and go through some really tough and trying times together and I will join them in Bermuda kind of like an outsider and a newbie for the second time. I really hope they welcome me back with open arms and I don't have the "sick kid" label for the rest of my life.

Ok, so where do I begin? It's been quite a week. Last Wednesday I flew into Norfolk where I met my new crew. The first mate, Carlos, came from the Liberty Clipper, which you guys know I used to work for. The second mate, Janet I had never met but let me tell ya, this chick knows her stuff. She really amazes me. The third mate just got here yesterday and her name is Cassie. Our cook is Hanifa, she rocks, she plays guitar and sings too so we get along very well. The engineer is Ron, he is 67 years old and from Corpus Christy, Texas, so you know we get along. He is so funny. He says being around all of us keeps him young. The second engineer is Stacy, she is very intense but is really passionate about sailing. The deckhands are me, Sayzie, Sawyer, Isaac, Ruben, Sam, Tommy and Deon. Sayzie is so nice and happy and we get along really well. Sawyer is very quiet, nice and soft spoken. Isaac is hard to place, I feel like he is going to be quite a joker when we all get to know each other a bit better. His alter ego's name is Hank. Then you have our Documentarian, Ruben. He is the camera man for the trip and acts as a deckhand. He is really funny and witty. We have taken to calling him Raul for some reason. Sam is from Sierra Leon, Africa. He was a translator when the Amistad sailed there last year and when it was time to leave he came with the boat and is here on a work visa. Tommy is a very well known sailor and very familiar to me, I feel like I know him from somewhere. He is super so nice and I am looking forward to working with him. Then we have Deon, who also came from the Clipper, who knows some of my friends from there and he is a riot as well. I am so looking forward to getting back to the boat and having a great time.

The more we learn about our trip the more it becomes clear that this is bigger than all of us. It's bigger than any of us imagined. We are visiting island nations affected by the slave trade starting with Bermuda. Our journey roughly goes like this...
St. Lucia,
Dominican Republic,
Haiti (maybe),

The trip is all dependent on making it to Havana by March 25th which is the anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. If we have to cut out an island or two to make it there in time we will have to do so. This trip and it's planning runs all the way to the top. Capt. Sean told us the other day, just to express how big of a deal we are, that we were being discussed with President Obama in the white house that very day. Yesterday our CEO went to meet with the state department to go over the details of our stay in Cuba and to iron out details. I'm not really sure exactly what is going on with all that, probably for good reason.

It's a bit overwhelming.

Ruben is filming the voyage and will be making it into a documentary. So, look for that... lol. We will be uploading video blogs via satellite throughout the journey via YouTube as well. Scary and exciting!!! HAHA! He says we are gonna be stars...

Ok, so, turns out I am a BIG BABY! All the other boats I have worked on had your regular gaff rigged sails or marconi or whatever. I have never worked on a boat that had square topsails that you had to set and furl from aloft. The first time I tried to go aloft on my own power a.k.a. not being hauled up in a bosun's chair, I froze up (literally it was 31 degrees) when I got to the top of the ratlines just below the lowest yard. My hands were freezing, I couldn't feel my fingers and I didn't know where to put my feet or hands next. I went down to reassess my strategy. I warmed my hands and went up again after some "encouragement" from Janet. ;) This time I made it to the first yard and perched up there to warm my hands before the next few steps up to the cross trees. After some coaching from Carlos who was already up on the top yard, up I went. The next step is the one that got me and continues to get me to this day. Its a big step out over open air to the fuddox(?)(somebody help me out with the spelling or the terminology) shrouds and up to the top mast. I just couldn't wrap my frozen mind or fingers around the damn shrouds and get my grip comfortably. It freaked me out. I tried a few more times before heading down. I went up the next day two times and still no luck. I feel like when it's warmer I will be more confident and comfortable. I can do it. I can do it. I gotta keep telling myself that...

In other news, I got a really nice email from Dave over at Living Like a Pirate and it turns out he likes the blog and wants to feature me on his site! Check him out and visit his blog at this link here. How exciting! Thanks for stopping by Dave!

In New Orleans.

Ok, so here's the scoop. We don't have the internet on the boat and Norfolk is like on another planet and you can't find free wifi there to save your life so that's why I have been out of touch for a week.

In other news, I started feeling sick Monday morning at about 1:30am when I woke up in a cold sweat. I took some dayquil when I woke up and went on about my day. Took nyquil and went to bed, woke up again all sweaty and feeling really bad. Got up, took more dayquil but sat at the other table during breakfast lunch and dinner because I didn't want to spread my germs. Everyone could tell I was sick and Sean, the captain told me to go lie down for a while and rest. So I told Carlos, the first mate to wake me up when they started practicing setting the storm jib so I could be a part of that. He did and I went on deck to freeze for a while. I rested for a while before dinner then the CEO of the company arrived and we had an after dinner meeting that lasted for like 3 hours. I went to sleep and couldn't get any rest due to a grizzly bear snoring in the bunk next to me, and in the morning I couldn't even get out of bed for breakfast. Carlos came to check on me and suggested I go to the Doctor. Which of course, I don't want to do, but he insisted so off we went. The Doc said I have type A flu virus, now, this MIGHT be the Swine but they don't test to differentiate between the two because they are both treated with the same meds. So it may just be the seasonal flu. Either way I am contagious (not airborne) for the next couple of days.

The boat is flying me home and then flying me to Bermuda when I am well to meet them and continue the trip. I am so lucky. I figured it would just be easier to replace me then to go to all this trouble. But I guess they like me.

I will upload some pictures this evening and write all about my adventures living on a tall ship for one week in the frozen tundra. I can tell you one thing, I will NEVER take another job that goes farther north than Key West in the winter time again. NEVER AGAIN!!!!!!!

I can't believe I am in New Orleans and can't even drink a hurricane...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I have the swine flu.

Been in the frozen tundra for one week. Went to the Dr. today. Swine Flu. Flying to Houston or Dallas tonight. I will update you when I get home.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Three more days...

Counting down and getting more excited. Tomorrow morning Lilly and I will be sipping bottomless mimosas at Molly Malone's in Red Hook for my going away party day. It's the only day she has off and she wants to spend it with me (surprise) I only hope we can go a whole day with me being sniped from a rooftop...

In other news, I talked to my good friend John G, whom I have known since I lived in KW the first time back when I was 21. He used to work on the Appledore and then on the Liberty Clipper up until this season when the whole crew got fired after the new owners took over. He moved from Boston to Ft. Lauderdale in hopes of finding work. Three months later, still no job. Then last week the new owner of the Clipper called him up and begged him to come back to work. The boat is doing term charters in the Bahamas for the season and the owner really needs someone on board who has experience and knows what they are doing. That is definitely John. Past crew are giving him a hard time about "selling out" and going back to the company that fired our friends. I told him to tell them to STFU because you have to do what's best for you! They are just angry about being fired and probably jealous you are working on the boat we all loved so much. The crew has since scattered to the four winds, one ended up in Ecuador, others in Maine, Michigan, Delaware, Mass, and other places in between. Quite a few are still looking for work. He flies out tomorrow to meet them in Nassau. Congrats John!

Now that my trip is fast approaching I thought I would post this link, HERE it's the link to the Amistad's site, the page that has live positioning of the boat. That way you can see where we are in the world.

I am looking forward to visiting Norfolk and I hope I have a day off where I can go up to Baltimore and visit my old capt. Ryan Healy. He has been such a good friend to me for so long and is always my number one reference on my resume. He and his nurse/roller derby girlfriend are a hoot and I hope I get a chance to visit with them before we leave.

Laura is in the white on the left with the black and yellow helmet... yeah, I don't mess with her... She is a R.N. and her derby name is Reckless Ndangerment... lol

OMG AND GONGRATS to my long time friend Mayra Cortez in TX, she just had a baby! lol look at that little thing!
Carmen Sofia welcome to the world!


One of my favorite blogs is called "If it's Hip it's Here" and today's post is so awesome and reminded me of Maria!

You should start making these things from tanks lying around at the yard to make extra monies!!! LOL


And, another present for Maria today, the picture at the top of the page is called Kia Ora and she is a ferro-cement schooner!!! It's like AJ's big sister. :)

Have a great day of sailing M!!! We are all thinkin' of ya!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Tanning with Taco. That's what I named him today.

I'm giving him a whole can of tuna for New Years.

Case and Point.

The cat was sitting next to me while I tanned today, and kept walking under my chair tickling the back of my legs with his tail. grrrr.... lol what a goofy gato.

This is the view from my porch today,look at the water all churned up from our wind and waves the past few days...

"Been there, done that, messed around, I'm havin' fun, don't put me down, I'll never let you sweep me off my feet!"

So, What woke you up this morning?

ME?! Oh just a little thing called THE CAT THAT WONT GO AWAY!!!!

Somehow in it's sneaky house entering maneuvers it got locked in the house. You know who it came to this morning at 7am when it needed to go out. It was SCREAMING on my inside window ledge. I have a window that leads to the hallway that has those louvered glass blinds on it. I kept yelling at it in my sleep till it actually busted through the screen and jumped on my head. Not that the screen wasn't being held together by masking tape already. Haha! It's not the incredible hulk cat, it just pushed hard enough on the screen to come through. LOL! I laughed so hard at it. Poor thing.

I hope your NYE was great! My "New" year is amazing. I am calm, happy to have a wonderful family and friends, and new adventure is on the horizon. I was home way before any New Year's eve kisses were handed out and that was fine with me. I had a feeling that the night would end in tears and boy oh boy did it ever. Mine. Well, it didn't END in tears but there were tears at the beach party which is why I came home early. When a grown man is jealous of his girlfriend's best friend that's bad news. I wish she didn't resent me for taking this job...

I am playing my guitar and watching Nim's Island, a decidedly different approach to movies compared to yesterday! Hahahaha! I think her dad in this movie is the main character in 300. I keep imagining him yelling "THIS IS SPARTA!" and kicking intruders off the island.

I keep rubbing my eyes because they are all puffy and itchy from last night's episode and my left contact is really bothering me. I was looking for my contacts to put a new year's pair in, uh oh... found the boxes... no contacts. Add that to the list for Norfolk.

So much to do. I think today I will go lay outside in the sun FINALLY! It's shining.

I have a friend in town so maybe I will go see him.

Gotta get out there and soak up the rays, I wanna be tan when I get to the frozen tundra!

First video of the year!!!

LA ROUX 'BULLETPROOF' from soyo on Vimeo.

This time baby, I'll be bulletproof!

I would like to be the first to say...

This is the Gayest New Year on record!!!

Finally!!! Anderson Cooper has been covering the Key West Sushi Drag Queen Drop forever and this year he finally came out to the idiots who couldn't figure out that he is gay. I already saw five of my queens and tons of friends on CNN. Hope you are all having a great time. I love you and hope your NYE is better than mine. My best friend abandoned me for a crazy man. Pray it never happens to you, when a man is jealous of a woman things get crazy.

Merry Christmas and Happy Blue Moon New Year.