I took a splash of water to the face today on the bow when bringing in the manta trawl. I licked my lips and the water was…fresh? My clothes get wet and dry without the outline of the salt spot. All the polish and rust busting efforts are…still evident? We’ve been sailing in fresh water for roughly two weeks and I still can’t quite wrap my head around it.
Growing up with the expansive Pacific Ocean as my playground, my skin is happy in salt. My definition of a shower is getting a daily dunk from head to toe in the sweet, sweet sea. The thousands of miles I’ve sailed upon big blue have brought me to this point, to the land locked, higher density water, and comparatively shallow Great Lakes region. It’s hard to stare out across such a seemingly expansive horizon, just to think there’s land, even another country, so close on the other side 360 degrees around. Simply put, I’ve been quite humbled by the uniqueness and immense beauty of this region thus far, and we’ve only made it to our first lake.
All of our One Water Story legs have brought such different experiences and now we have three enthusiastic high school students on board to Cleveland. There was something about today- the first day of this leg that was unique from all the rest. We got up and after a fresh berry breakfast we shuffled dock spaces to take care of ourholding tank. Pump out through and dock lines off, we raised the Main in the harbor and unfurled the Yankee while heading out the channel. Quickly it was engine off and Sea Dragon was off, moving effortlessly across the water. We went through sail handling, maneuvers and got in a trawl just before lunch. The wind held throughout the day and brought us to the South side of Lake Ontario to anchor for the night. The sailing is what made this day for
me. The consistent wind held, which was just right to warrant full sail without a reef and it was absolutely marvelous. With such a small crew of seven on board, it was the perfect day for our new crew members to get a try at everything in a short period of time. They picked up steering and sail handling quite well!
We’re anchored next to a beautiful shore just West of the Welland Canal and the boat rocks as we feel the gentle swell from across the small fetch of the lake. I’ve never done this much costal sailing and I’ve always welcomed an empty horizon with different shades of blue more openly than a rocky shore with trees, but there’s something about this experience that is a bit magical. I’m sure when this boat was built there wasn’t a twinkle in the eye or a thought in the mind of her sailing upon the Great Lakes. How wonderful to show her something she could not possibly even fathom! Our expeditions are so rich, just as the water systems here, and there is so much to learn- things to learn from mother earth and about our human impacts on these fragile ecosystems. I don’t think I could imagine a better experience for the summer! Something new and different in a region I probably wouldn’t have otherwise take a couple months to explore. I just wonder if my phobia of lake snakes and monsters leaves me in the coming weeks…I’ve never been good with fresh water, but maybe my skin will enjoy it! My mind is certainly loving picturing glaciers in this region, thank you forces of Mother Nature! -Shanley