Sunday, April 11, 2010
HELLO FROM SUNNY (but cold) NEW ENGLAND!
I apologize for abandoning my blog for so long but things have been crazy, hectic, emotional and wild in my world.
I guess I should pick up where I left off...
We left the Dominican Republic in beautiful weather and headed up around the eastern end of the island turned west and sailed along the coast of the D.R. and Haiti. We ended up not stopping in Cape Hatian as planned, instead we continued on towards Cuba. We passed Great Inagua island of the Bahamas about half way through the trip to the south, on the 15th of March. On the 16th we got word at about midday that we were to turn around and sail back to Great Inagua to pick up 5 students and a professor from University of Massachusetts Boston. Annoyed at sailing a whole day out of our way we turned back. We got to the harbor in the late afternoon, took a swim and headed to shore for some much needed R&R. We found a little bar that served cold beer and cocktails and made a good evening of it. The next morning our guests arrived and we shuttled them and their luggage to the boat. We really had no idea what to expect but as I shuttled one student, Raul and the professor out to Amistad, he leaned over and asked, "So, is there any booze on the boat?". I knew we would all get along famously.
Getting to know these students was one of the highlights of the trip for me. They were all super friendly and willing to learn (most of them) and we had a blast.
You can't even tell the difference between the crew and the students at this point... :) What a blast.
We arrived in Matanzas, Cuba on the 22nd I believe. We were greeted by local Afro-Cuban dancers and a welcoming ceremony. Every night we were in Cuba we were invited to a "cultural event" that usually consisted of drinking mojitos, dancing, and generally having the time of our lives.
That is me and Staci with the dancing girls.And that is me dancing with a local.
And me on deck with mad crazy roots! Gurl! Dye yo hair!!!
This was another cultural event in Matanzas...
We sailed, caught fish, laughed, joked, played guitars, danced and all in all, had an amazing trip.
At 4 am on the morning of March 25th, we left Matanzas and sailed to Havana with the U Mass kids on board, and 2 reporters from the Connecticut area.
Read Ted's article HERE.
We were met by reporters from all over the world and local officials. It's impossible to go into detail about how welcoming and friendly everyone was. We were treated like guests of honor. We were also greeted by our tour guide who would become like family to us, Jorge... "OH JORGE DON'T LEAVE US", became a popular song on the guitar... He would load us up in the bus and tell us interesting facts and show us amazing places like the Hemmingway home outside of Havana, various slave monuments and he even took us to a Cuban Baseball game!!! It was game 3 of the world series there and it cost us 3 dollars to get in!!! INDUSTRIALES CAMPEONES! Our team from Havana ended up winning the day we left Cuba.
This pic is the Havana pilot coming aboard, and my back.
There are lots of other pictures on my computer but I can't get it hooked up to the internet right now so those will come later.
Our students left in Havana and we stayed till the 31st. We sailed overnight to Key West where the coast guard boarded us at the sea bouy. Things went smoothly with the search of the vessel and the questioning of the crew. We docked at the Coast Guard station and scattered as soon as the coasties let us. A few crew members left that day and others in the days to follow. I stayed for a week to see my friends and show the remaining crew around. I had a great time and I think the crew did too.
On the 8th I left the Amistad at 4:15am and didn't look back. I had some amazing times aboard. Lived, laughed, loved and cried. I wouldn't change anything.
I flew from Key West to Miami to New York City. Took a shuttle to Grand Central Station, walked 4 blocks to Times Square and sat down. It was overwhelming and I gave myself 10 minutes to take it all in before heading back to Grand Central. Ten minutes because if I gave myself eleven I wouldn't have hopped on the train. I would have tried NYC out for a while...
But I didn't! I made a commitment to spend the summer in New Haven, CT aboard the Schooner Quinnipiack and that's what I am doing. We have a pretty exciting summer planned with school groups and educational sails and volunteer programs. We are meeting up with 4 other Schooners in a couple of weeks in Greenwich, CT for a fundraiser which should be nice. My friend Dane is working on the Schooner Argia and they will meet us there so it will be fun to see him again.
Will is moving back to Provincetown, Mass for the summer so look for that visit to be a wild one sometime later this summer.
Lilly is sailing a boat north from St Thomas to Maine and will be there for the summer so look for those adventures too...
As far as the Amistad goes, the are leaving Key West in the morning and headed north to Wilmington, NC then onwards to Mystic, CT. When they get there I will go meet the boat and get all my belongings. I only brought my giant backpack with me because I had too much stuff and couldn't find my suitcase that got stowed somewhere, no one seems to remember where. So I will go for a quick visit and a real goodbye to my remaining crew and friends.
I feel like I have lost my train of thought and am now rambling so I will end it here.
Hope you enjoyed the cliff's notes version of my past 2 months.
Thanks for not giving up on me.
I will leave you with this... It's me on the bus in Havana, with a bottle of Havana Club. NO, it's not a sexy pose, it's me checking to see how bad I smell because we had no showers on the boat... :)
All Photo Credits go to Jaresiah Desrosiers of U Mass Boston - Thanks Love.