New Sea 2010 - Days 2-5

Day 2
  The first bit of business on day two was to capsize Pulling Boat 12.  The mighty 12 was going to be our vessel for the next six days of training.  We got up at 5:30am, put on our swim clothes (covered by warm layers) and met at the pier to strip out boat for the drill.  We were briefed on the process, went for a short run, and quickly boarded the boat.  After being towed to a mooring ball we all lined up on the port gunwhale and flipped our boat.  We successfully righted her and began bailing like crazy.  This was to end up being the first of three capsize drills during training.

  After swimming in from the boat it was time to get warm again.  All I remember is being intently focused on the ladder as I swam back to the pier.  The overcast, rainy, cold weather of the previous day had been replaced by a sunny, and slightly warmer air temperature which made warming up a ton easier.

  The next bit of business was packing the boat and setting sail.  We got left the dock in the early afternoon and headed off toward Penobscot Bay.  With favorable winds, we managed to extend the planned mileage by about 13.  It was a nice sail across the bay and we tucked in just north of Hurricane Sound on the southwest side of Vinal Haven.  It was also the first night of anchor watch.  Luckily none of our watches lasted more than 50 minutes a person.

Day 3
  We woke up at 5:30am with great anticipation of only dipping in the cold water.  Yes, at least for a couple days we were saved from staying in the water too long.  I have perfected the five second dip.  This was followed by an amazing breakfast of fried bagels and hot cocoa.

  Today's big adventure was setting foot on land.  We pulled into our afternoon anchorage and began a massive hike of 300 feet about sea level.  Ok, it wasn't that impressive, but the view from the top was awesome.  We played on the island for about an hour and then set out to Seal Trap for our evening anchorage.  Equipped with both local "facts" and "myth" we successfully began a running joke about Seal Trappe that lasted the rest of training.

Day 4
  Guess what time we woke up today?  That's right, bright and early at 5:30am.  It should be noted that sunrise was occurring around 5am, so the sky was bright when the wake up call was announced by the last person on anchor watch.  Again we practiced our quick dips in the cold water.

  Today's sail brought us to a lovely anchorage on the western side of Vinal Haven.  We were missing two trainees which we had to pick up at North Haven the next day.  One had been ill and the other was coming from school.

Day 5
  Wake up and dip.  This morning was a quick breakfast because had to beat the tide to make it up a very short bridge.  And by short I mean that we had to step the masts, switch to a steering oar, and I had to bend over slightly when we went under it.  The width of the bridge wasn't much bigger.  Our boat had about two feet of clearance on either side.  After we made it through each of us got a chance to try the steering oar.  We paddled until we made it to the Fox Island Thorofare where we set up our sails again and headed to the pier to get our last two comrades.

  When we arrived we tied the boat off to the dock and were given a short time to walk around town. My first experience in a small Maine fishing town left me feeling like I had walked around a backstage lot from a movie set.  It was Sunday, so the whole town was closed.  Time to get to Hurricane Island!

 Bit of history:  For over 40 years Outward Bound ran the Sea Program fully/or partially from Hurricane Island.  The last few years OB was not able to use the island.  Once again we have, if just in a smaller capacity, access to the island beginning this summer.

  Finally we faced our first natural navigation challenge.  The famous Maine fog decided to roll in during the afternoon.  Time to put on our navigational game faces, sharpen our dead reckoning skills, and have a blast with the newest challenge.  I got to take the tiller for a bit during the fog.  It was great seeing land, then the land disappearing, then tacking hoping to find the land again and rejoice when you ended up where you thought you would.

  Unfortunately, the fog receded and left us again with clear skies.  We also ended up rowing for a good part of the day as we approached Hurricane.  We docked the boat and went on a walk of the island.  Our trainers took us up to the "crack" for a group initiative.  I am a bit claustrophobic and standing in between two large rocks with only inches of space in front of me had me making a quick mental pro/con list for whether this was worse or better than dipping in 48 degree water.

  That night we anchored off of Hurricane with more fun to be had on the island the next morning.

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