Thursday, September 16, 2010


We've finally cast off our lines and left New York! I write this from Atlantic Highlands, near Sandy Hook. It is a mere 18 miles away (the ferry makes our 3 hour trip in 35 minutes), but it is a first leg under our belt, and we wanted to wait out a spell of heavy wind that was predicted here, rather than going straight to Cape May. We motored the entire way to break in the new transmission, and the way was gray and choppy. Nothing bad, but enough to make me surprisingly seasick! I've only ever been seasick once, and it was in far more heaving rolling water than this. I tried fixing my gaze on the horizon, but that gave me heartburn. The fact that my seasickness felt like heartburn and not nausea distracted me from it for a moment--but only a moment. Talking made it worse. I felt like my eyesight was deteriorating from so much straining to see something fixed and clear. Finally, I gave up on looking far away and settled for middle distance, where the waves were building in quick succession against us. This helped, because at least there was a visual in advance of the pitching or rolling sensation. It also helped to suck gusts of wind.

But the best remedy was to sit facing backwards, alternately watching the waves speed away from us, their pointy crests darting like hungry sharks, and wrapping my eyes around each letter in the name of the dinghy engine. Relaxing my vision in the soft white of the quick release life preserver box was also soothing.

Some people cope by taking Dramamine beforehand. Others, like Evan, psych themselves out of it, convincing themselves that they are not feeling sick and focusing on steering or navigating. I stopped feeling seasick when I was reading: deciphering the waves as they approached or left, grabbing visual and mental hold of every letter of a word--symbolic rocks and trees on firm land--and relaxing in the stability of a light monochrome box.

We got to Atlantic Highlands and caught a mooring. That's a heavily anchored buoy, basically, with a big rope that you attach to your boat. That way, you can stay out on the water (as opposed to being tied to a dock). Not only is it cheaper than paying for a slip at a marina, but it's also much nicer. You don't hear footsteps on the dock or get rocked against the dock by every wake of a passing boat. You just float on the water, the wind turning you in a leisurely circle around the mooring ball like a handler does a show pony at the county fair. I waited for the wind to pick up and our turns around the mooring to speed up, like a tetherball that's been given a stronger whack around the pole. Fun!

But as it turns out, the bad spell of wind and rain came and went quickly enough. We missed it entirely while watching "Get Low" in the town cinema. When we got back to the boat, we checked to see if it had passed through, never materialized at all, or was just late in coming. As Descartes might have pondered had he been here, could the storm have happened when we weren't looking? According to the weather sites we checked (and photos on the NYT website), it had.

No comments:

Post a Comment