Grace Fowler has joined the crew of Sea Dragon this week as an apprentice deckhand on board! This energetic and intelligent young lady describes what it’s like to get accustomed to life on board in today’s blog.
Life on Board
by Grace Fowler
My day began at 2:40am, by far the earliest start my body has seen all summer. At three I took over the wheel as we motored toward Detroit. Mitch and I spent the the next three hours engulfed in the industrial smells and bright lights that mark the area around the city. Around each bend in the river lay a new set of twinkling lights from which we needed to find our small guide buoys. The watch was fairly uneventful, and was only marked by a few passing boats and a handful of shooting stars.
When not on watch, my time is spent on deck or in my bunk napping. It’s a balancing act of trying to get enough sleep and experiencing sailing. By my next watch, we had passed through Saint Claire Lake, and were winding past more tankers in another stretch of river. The river was spotted with motor boats of all shapes and sizes, American and Canadian, cruising the sunny yet chilly waters.
When we finally reached Lake Huron in the afternoon, we hoisted the sails and got moving. Bouncing through large swells at a pitch, it was the first real sailing I’ve experienced this trip, and the first good sailing for the crew since near Toronto. Moving on deck is done by carefully balancing on the angled surfaces, but below decks, things get crazy. Walking in tight hallways, sleeping, and going to the bathroom on a harsh slant is all challenging, and tends to induce some stage of seasickness. Though I have only been on Sea Dragon for two days, it’s already starting to feel normal. While I am far from knowing how to do everything on the boat, I am learning, and it is incredible how quickly I have adjusted to the boat’s routines and forgotten about my own back home.
Around 8:30pm I am awoken from my latest nap by the kick of the engine going into gear. The wind has died and the swells lessened as the sun begins to set, just in time for my next three hour watch.