I had some great experiences over Summer Cruise 2015. I had a great deal of fun, met new people, and learned some new things. Here are my journals from our ten days of Summer Cruise.
Upon arriving at the ship, I found the crew had already begun to undock. I had to rush to on board. Our crew has the requirement that while docking and undocking, one must always wear a life jacket. I made my way down to get a PFD, but when I returned to the top deck, I found that I was the only actual crew member on our boat, the Olympic Venture.
The rest of the crew were on the Challenger or the Cape Romain. Since we had pulled out from between the two other boats, the crew on the Challenger had to toss a heaving line to get a stern line across so that we could pull the Challenger back in. Of course, the first attempt failed and drifted too far aft, sending it into the water. After tying off the Challenger, we docked on the outside of the Pier, and I went to store all of my gear.
I found a giant mess in the galley of everyone’s gear. I checked in the crew’s quarters and found that we had received new racks, which were still being installed, so I went back up to help with preparing the boat for the next day.
Once that was all finished, I started doing logs as the temporary ship’s yeoman while ours was currently gone, and at the same time, I began to rehearse the script for the Regional Bridge, before relaxing for the rest of the day. We didn’t sleep till around midnight, due to having to wait for our racks to be completed, but I was excited to see what was waiting ahead.
We woke up bright and early to raise the colors and to get underway. I found myself in an unfamiliar position with handling lines, as I was now the Jumper. With the boat prepped and ready to get underway, we untied and were off. I felt it had actually been a long time since I had been on the Bay. The feeling was like being at home. The sound of the engines, the smell of the water. It all came back to me in an instant.
I made sure to keep rehearsing what I was going to say so that I would be prepared for the bridge. Finally, we made it to San Francisco, where we quickly refueled, before moving over to pier 45, where our friends, the Sea Scout Ship Albatross tied up to us. We headed out for Liberty, buying our skipper a bucket of donuts, as is tradition for us on the Intrepid. We weren’t out long before returned to get in our dress blues, for one of us, the last time they would get in their regular crews uniform. Peter and Llew, our two Sideboys for the bridge, left with me for the briefing of what was going to happen. I was excited to see the Balclutha for the first time, and actually found it a fairly interesting ship. I was always lead to believe that the whole boat was made of wood, only to discover that it was in fact, metal.
It was at the bridge that I discovered that the stars on my Regional patch had been sewn on upside down… my bad. I resolved to fix this once the cruise was over.
The Bridge commenced, below decks on the Balclutha. Originally, we had planned to hold it on the top deck, but due to strong winds that were nearly throwing peoples’ covers in the water, the plan was changed. I went back down to regroup with my crew on the pier, having no need for me to stay on deck. Once the bridge began, we found ourselves packed in tight. I was flattered at the warm welcoming that the new quarterdeck received at the bridge. From there, the bridge proceeded, deviating slightly from what the script actually said, but it still went smoothly. The Bridge eventually closed and we all left, heading to the dinner that had been made for us (thank you galley crew!)
After dinner, my crew and I began to head back to our boat to change clothes to help with clean-up and liberty. We returned back to the place where we had all had dinner, helping clean up, before heading out on liberty again. This time, I went with Thomas and Finn back to Pier 39, with some Albatross crew. We bought ice cream, and afterwards went to search for the three Albatross kids who said they were going to go watch the Sea Lions, yet after spending ten minutes searching for them, we headed back to the boat, only to find out that they had been picked up and had to leave early that Summer Cruise, and after verification that they had indeed been picked up, we headed off to bed to ready ourselves for the long cruise in the morning.
Waking up at 0530, we began the second leg of our journey. We let the Albatross untie first, and quickly followed after them. For the majority of the cruise, Sea Scout Ship Albatross was following us, until engine problems forced them to return to Martinez. Our crew continued up into the Delta, with a nice, smooth cruise, to Steamboat Slough where we anchored. We went swimming for the rest of the day before having a nice dinner and some rest.
Now anchored in Steamboat Slouch, we spent the morning doing chores such as washing down the decks, eventually getting permission to go swimming. The current was strong up there, though we were all strong enough to barely be affected by it. Before we knew it, the Albatross arrived after having had engine problems the day before. After helping them tie up to us, we had lunch and I went to hang out with their crew. I discovered that one of their officers, JT, had been studying Astronomy, a subject that highly interested me. We discussed different topics and theories for a while before I continued to relax with their crew, swimming, talking, and making numerous bad jokes. I sat in as their crew did some Ordinary advancement, to get a few snapshots of them all learning marlinspike, before returning to my crew for the rest of the day.
This was the second day where we stood anchor watch. I had been the one to set up the watch bill for the anchor watches, and found that we were three crew members short of a full watch bill. I had thought it over two nights previous. I myself am an early riser, so I decided to take a watch for three hours starting at 0500.
After waking the crew up, we began to prepare to get underway. With our life jackets on, we were all set, when someone pointed out a mouse that had ended up on our fender. After managing to get him off, the little guy began to swim to shore, and we all cheered him on, only for him to be swallowed up by a large fish about a foot away from dry land.
After that encounter with the mouse, we had smooth sailing, beginning to head to Windmill Cove. There were some minor snags along the way, such as nearly running aground, but in the end we made it to Windmill Cove in one piece where we met up with the Gryphon and the Tradewind. That night was Taco Tuesday and all crews minus the Tradewind attended. After only managing four tacos before my stomach decided that they were not in my best interest, we headed back to our boats, relaxing for an hour or so, before the Tradewind invited the other crews to go play volleyball. Unfortunately the courts were taken, so we settled upon other games, just relaxing and playing into the night, until we had to go back to our boats.
The Tradewind and Gryphon were going to leave in the morning, but due to tides, were delayed, giving us some extra time to socialize and hang out. I decided to hang out with them until they left. It was a precious, though short, few moments that I spent with them, just a time to relax.
Once they left, I headed with some of the Albatross crew over to the beach over by Windmill Cove, relaxing with them down in the water. Unfortunately, my sunblock washed off in the water and I got sunburned on my shoulders, and quite badly. I put on a lot of aloe afterwards.
As it came closer to nightfall, I continue to study the notebook on astronomy that the Albatross officer, J.T. had given me, trying to make sense of it. The delta was a great place for star spotting, with fewer lights than out in the city. It made the studying a bit easier for me. As I watched the night sky, looking through the notebook, I couldn’t help but bask in amazement of the millions of pinpricks that shone down, piercing the black sheet of night like an impossible number of needles. It was hard to think of a world without these stars that have guided sailors like us for so many years. It was truly amazing.
Finally in Westgate, our final destination. We had had a short cruise from Windmill Cove, but with all the crews in one place now, we could finally begin to relax and enjoy our time there. Throughout the cruise I had been gathering inspiration for some of my sci-fi novels, but now it was time that I actually gave my mind a break. I spent the rest of my day with the Tradewind and the Gryphon, seeing as they had left for Westgate a day before us, and I hadn’t had much time with either crew.
As the night fell and the sun set, all the crews there attended a flag burning ceremony, where we all spoke of the significance of the American flag and what it meant to us, then to what Sea Scouts meant to us, following up with s’mores over the fire.
It’s the final day we all have together. I decided to make the most of it. I started by spending my morning with the Albatross.
After lunch, I headed over to the Tradewind with Thomas, our Boatswain’s Mate. We hung out with them for a while, until I realized that I had accidentally left my iPod on the Albatross. I luckily got off easy with only a bunch of random photos, since they could not figure out my passcode.
That night, our crews all went to bed well rested, and prepared to go home in the morning.
Day 10: The Return Cruise
We woke up at 0500 to prepare to get under way back to our home port. I set us up for 3 hour watches over all, to allow some of the newer crew members experience what it’s like to have longer watches. The cruise took approximately eleven hours to get back, then another hour to get everything unpacked from the boat, and get the boat locked up. Finally, with everything locked up and ready to go, we got our Boatswain, Torino, who is going to be a Junior Officer this coming year, and celebrated by tossing him into the water, thus ending our cruise.
As I closed the logs for this final day, I couldn’t help but pay homage to the end of a very old summer cruise log, jotting down the words “The crew is wet, but happy.”