Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Rockin' and Rollin'

Home sweet home, the evening before the sail!

It's sail day! We woke up this morning, ate breakfast and made sure every last minute thing was secured or tied down in our cabins to get ready for the rockin' and rollin'! Everything on the ship has been getting tied or bungeed down over the past few days and the closest thing it resembles to me is preparing for an extended earthquake that you know precisely when it's coming. We had one final muster drill to make sure every crew member was onboard. The pilot boarded (she works for the port and is hired to guide us out of the port because she knows where all the shallow and tricky parts are). We all headed up to the top two decks to watch the preparations for sailing unfold. Everyone was so excited! We watched the gangway get hoisted up by a crane into the top deck and it felt like God closing the ark. Our captain came over the intercom to pray a blessing over our journey around the cape. The dock workers threw off the lines and our hull began to slowly steer away from the dock that has been the Mercy's home for the summer in dry dock. All the dock workers and crew on all the surrounding boats were waving and taking photos of us leaving and we joyfully waved back! It was a very unifying and lovely moment. The pilot led us past the city of Durban until we could see the mouth of the port coming closer and closer and the open sea beyond. A smaller boat pulled alongside us and the pilot, having finished her guiding, scrambled from our ship onto the smaller boat waiting for her. And just like that we were on our own. As we got closer to the mouth of the port we could see white caps and waves crashing against the jetty and the captain came on the load speaker and told us that in five minutes we would be past the opening to the port and we would start to feel the waves. We braced ourselves in excited and nervous anticipation. We had been warned about the fact that we are a flat bottom ferry which was never really meant to sail out into the open ocean, which is why we rock so much and we'd also been warned about the roughness of the seas around the cape, but good grief! No words could adequately describe the shift from calm port ocean to the swells of the open sea. It hit us so fast and the ship rocked at such steep angles as we got through all the breakers! It was exciting and nerve-wracking and new! We watched until is started raining and then we all went inside for lunch. Eating during the sail is a whole new experience! You have to walk very slowly because your pitching around with your plate of food! As the ship rocks one way you struggle to take a single step, like you're walking up a steep hill, and then it rocks the other way and you struggle not to start running because it's become a steep downhill. You sit down at the nearest table, preferably by a window so you can keep an eye on the horizon. You must keep one hand on your plate and one on your cup and one on your silverware (yes, that requires three hands) and meanwhile the salt shaker is zipping by from side to side down the middle of the table like a small trolley! A set of big waves comes along and you can hear the silverware start to clatter a second before you feel the swell and a collective uproar goes up from everyone in the dining room as silverware and water bottles and rogue avocados go flying! During our teacher meeting today I almost fell into the first grade teacher's lap! When you walk through mid ships (which has the least amount if rocking going on) every couch and chair is filled with someone sleeping (the rocking makes you feel very heavy and tired). My body is sternly  telling me to get my body as low to the ground as possible and others bodies must be saying he same  because I've  passed people just sitting down in the middle of the stairwell. For fun, we sit and watch the compass on our phones to see what angle degree we are hitting. Fun times so far. It's been a funny day, but I feel like the food flying off our plates and watching people stumble around in zig-zag lines is only going to be funny for so long!
Anchors away!

Hoisting up the gangway!

Our last line holding us to the dock being thrown off!

Can you see our neighbors waving and taking pictures of us sailing out?

Slightly windy!

Can you see the tiny people on the jetty? Now check out the size of those waves in comparison!

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