I’m lounging in the “saloon” of Tango, my new home for the next couple weeks. Despite the name, the only exposure to alcohol is in the DayQuil I’ve been sucking down today, trying to kick a head cold before going to sea in the morning. Its 1600 (4pm) on Monday - we point the bow into Long Island Sound, our of the town of Westbrook, at 0630.
Since arriving to the boat two days ago, I have learned much about the crew, their idiosyncrasies, and could write several chapters already about their antics. For now, I’ll share some background on the cast of characters. Plenty of time at sea to unpack their stories.
Sitting opposite me on the couch is Robert. He’s 52, Dutch, is a flight engineer in the airforce of the Netherlands (who knew they had airplanes) and is a funny, good natured guy. He is new to this boat and the trip, but his good buddy Victor has been on the trip 2 other times. Like Robert, Victor is Dutch, 47 years old, and lives with his girlfriend in Curaçao, an enclave of the Netherlands off the coast of Venezuela. Both of these guys are nice, and once you’ve grown accustomed to their thick German-like accents, you are quickly at ease. The irony of an innocent little Jewish guy, crammed into close quarters with a couple guys that sound like SS officers is not lost on me. I’ll likely lock the door at night to be sure they can be trusted. Those two are bunk mates in the forepeak (bow) of the boat. Just aft of their room, to port, is the bunk room where my roommate, Scott, and I reside. Scott is a retired 58 year old army officer. He was green beret, served multiple tours in the Middle East, swears like a sailor, but is a good natured guy living in North Carolina. In a showdown, I’m hoping he’ll side with me, both as a fellow American, and given the warm Israel/US relations.
Richard Azar is our captain. He certainly runs a tight ship. He is in his 50’s, I would guess, was a CPA, knows the systems of the boat like an engineer, and has thought through everything. Type A would be an understatement. He’s nice enough, but going out to a bar at port to swap tales of the high seas is not in his vocabulary. He wasn’t the popular kid in high school. But hey, he’s got a sick boat that I would buy, and this is a free ride south so I have nothing to complain about. Well, except the coffee. I’ll share that story later.
Today, at first light, I heard soft rain tapping the cabin top of Tango. Forget my comments about yesterday’s nap, waking up to the rain, while you are in and out of sleep in a warm bad, trumps everything. I laid in bed for another hour, listening to the New England weather envelope the harbor. Perhaps this is why I sail...or sit at anchor. Details.
After going a few days without a shower, I thought it was time, and socially acceptable, to rinse off. Never mind putting on the same clothes I’ve adorned for half the week, I felt like a new man. I slammed a shot of DayQuil and was ready for the day.
Rather than spending another day working on the boat, followed by intermittent trips to food or town in the clown car, I decided to venture off on my own.
I packed a bag with a book, an iPad, warmer clothes, hat and gloves. You’ll be happy to know nothing left the bag over the ensuing 4 hours. I did, however, enjoy an amazing 4-mile stroll that began along the Long Island Sound waterfront, snaked through some old neighborhoods of Westbrook, and landed me at the authentic epicenter of quintessential New England...Kohl’s Department Store. Mom would be so proud.
One particular item of note was a small cemetery passed along the way. From the sidewalk looking in, I struggled to read the old and weathered gravestones. However, I was able to decipher the year on several - died 1816, died 1830, died 1845. One especially caught my eye: “Edgar E Hayden was killed in the battle of Fredericksburg, VA, Dec 13, 1862”. Civil War. I’m always amazed when visiting somewhere out East how historic and preserved the places can be. Along the walk I saw an Elks Lodge that dated back to 1812. Its fun to think about what life was like back then. A 4-mile walk back then was ordinary, I imagine. Quick stop off at the blacksmith...before visiting Kohl's, of course.
En route, I passed a post office, and decided my day would end successfully if I could procure, hand write, and mail 5 cards to my beloved and our children back home. I continued walking until I discovered a grocery store (good coffee and cards) alongside said Kohl’s (tee shirts, hat, and travel coffee mug). After several small, but crucial purchases noted above, I settled into a small deli, ordered lunch, and began sharing my not-so-exciting adventures over the previous few days with my family.
One of the more notable times for correspondence in my life was while away at prep school. I looked forward to letters more than anything, and it made my week when someone penned something to me from home. There were no text messages, email, telephones back in 1812 - walking to the store to purchase parchment so your relatives could stay abreast of your life is one attribute of the past I intend to keep alive. I hope my kiddos enjoy their piece of mail.
I’m still in the same spot in the saloon. It’s dark now - I’ve been writing for the last couple hours. The crew is up at the club house. Richard has been sitting in the captain’s chair making various phone calls. In one he mentioned a Category 1 hurricane brewing well south of Bermuda. That caught my attention, but I was assured by he and Victor that it is heading the wrong direction and dissipating. Eery reminder of the dangers of going to sea.
Speaking of, here’s where I sign off for 4-5 days. The dark side of the moon. Sorta. Once we head out, it’s radio silence, other than tracking our progress: https://share.garmin.com/Royce. Take that, 1812.
Let’s talk again in Bermuda!
We're the Zimmerman Family!
Home Base | Denver, CO
A family of six that
LOVES to sail !
Follow our crew (Royce, Tara, Avery, Charley, Nora & Ruby)
as we blog our sailing adventures
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