Thursday, April 14, 2011

All Aboard

Jack was a little nervous the first day but once he made it into a boat, he was in heaven.  I met my class in the office.  There was Charlie, a single, retired CIA employee, in his early 60s.  In the group were two other women, one in her twenties, one in her thirties. 

As we walked to the dock to get on the boat, I could feel the soft wind from the south and smell the river.  I can’t say it was the most pleasant smell but it was great all the same.  The marina is owned by the National Park Service and the there are trails through the marsh and a picnic area with pavilions and grassy areas.

As we neared the dock, the campers from the sailing school were receiving some dry land instruction before getting on the boats.  I saw Jack and waved.  He was grinning ear to ear.

We met Chip, the dock master.  He looked to be the surfer-type dude, wearing his red long trunks, no shirt and going barefoot.  His long sun- bleached hair was down past his shoulders and he was tanned brown head to toe.  He gave us a ride to where the sailboat was moored.

This was where Charlie began.  He explained how to get the boat and sails ready. He was methodical in his teaching and repetition.  He would pose questions and help us to problem-solve on our own.  We learned right of way, how to set the sails and a little about tacking.  Charlie took us out on the river and had each of us take the tiller.  He taught us the commands used by the captain and we practiced and repeated all the things he told us.  We were also expected to read up on a training booklet before the next day.

There was time to talk on the boat too.  The other sailors were Courtney who was a teacher in a private school in D.C. and Lisa who had just graduated from Johns Hopkins with a degree in International Relations and was waiting for security clearance to begin at the Agency.  They were both pleasant and we got along well.

When we were out on the river we saw the kids on sunfish, all in a rainbow of colors.  There were two on a boat and we passed Jack coming in.  He waved again and was looking pretty proud of himself.  We continued to the mooring and Charlie went through how to take the sails down and stow the gear.  Chip was our escort back to the dock again.

It was a thrill to be out on the water with the sun in my face; I loved looking at the water, the sails and the beauty between the marshes and its wildlife and the Capitol and Washington Monument off in the distance.  We said our goodbyes and I went to sit on a picnic table near the van to wait for Jack.

I loved this; Jack loved this.  We talked about our adventure all the way back to our house.  This was an empowering experience and I was looking forward to the two weeks.

1 comment:

  1. What a great adventure! What a great time for you and Jack!