Our first adventure finally arrived Saturday after months of waiting (and possibly panting with fear...). You see, I have a sort-of reputation among friends for being slightly...well...unpredictable...possibly insane...definitely fearless. So, I would imagine there was a little worry circulating about what I would plan for our club's inaugural adventure.
(The truth is...I DID have a different adventure planned, but it fell through last minute, and I had to find something to replace it. I think, in the end, I did alright by the girls!)
One week before the big day, the girls received our expected travel time (1.5 hours) and a list of supplies (On the list: bikinis encouraged...yes, I am still crusading the Bikini Revolution, and I am stoked to report 5 of our 7 adventurers donned bikinis. Stephanie even rolled her tankini up to join the Revolution, so really we were at 6 out of 7. Next time we'll reach 100%. Whoop! Whoop! See my June 2011 blog about that if you have no idea what I'm talking about.)
I also sent a set of clues for them to mull over: A, Aegis, Bert, Quaint, John Candy. Have you figured it out yet? Well, probably not, as the clues were meant to be totally vague. I didn't really want someone knowing what we were doing before the trip...that would just be lame. I wanted them to stew over the clues, then get excited and nervous and pumped for whatever was coming their way.
I think it worked.
Though Karen (damn her investigative skills!) managed to figure it out less than five minutes after we started our drive. Apparently, she's a John Candy fan...or just agrees with me that Summer Rental was his only decent movie. However, her first guess was bear chasing. I didn't even think about that one, but hey, if we want to stick with a John Candy theme, then The Great Outdoors would definitely be my second favorite Candy movie. Bear wrastlin', huh?!? Maybe the next adventure...
Any guesses? Nope. Not it. No. No. No.
Our first adventure was in Annapolis, Maryland where we spent a full day sailing on the Chesapeake with the sharks and jellyfish and drunk speedboat drivers. I tried to have something for everyone, and Jackie is completely obsessed with sharks, so I researched it. Yes, despite what our trusty Captain claims, there ARE sharks in the Chesapeake. Little sharks, but they do exist. Google it.
The funny thing is Jackie was more preoccupied with jellyfish stings than shark bites and insisted she would be the first to get stung. I, being her trusty best friend, promised to be there for her in her time of pain, so I vowed to pee on her if she got stung. No, this is not an episode of Mythbusters, and yes, human pee is a natural remedy for jellyfish stings. Seriously. Google it.
We didn't see any sharks during our trip, but we did see a ton of jellyfish and managed a few close encounters, but more on that hot mess later.
To be honest, as awesome as sailing and jellyfish encounters sound, I think everyone would agree the real adventure of the day was driving to Annapolis with me at the wheel. I am not the best driver in the world, and the girls quickly figured out several things: 1) I distract easily and seven girls in my Pilot was definitely enough distraction to warrant Stephanie's remark (insert NY accent): "It doesn't really seem like you're paying attention." No, Stephanie, I'm not. I suffer from a specific form of attention deficit disorder that only strikes when I'm in the car and driving through DC and have no idea where I'm going and the stupid GPS is not talking to me like it should be. Well, and it didn't help that I insisted on telling stories about getting lost when I go hiking or dancing or to the men's bathroom in some Cuban restaurant in Florida...wait, I didn't tell that particular story, but it's a good one to save for another long car ride. 2) If my gut instinct is telling me to turn left because I missed the exit, then I should do the opposite because I have no womanly sense of direction whatsoever. Thanks, Jackie, for bringing that to my attention. 3) I always thought it was Jackie and I that got lost together. The truth is it's all my fault. Sad. But true. 4) I curse an awful lot, particularly at other drivers who drive too slow or don't use blinkers or who just generally piss me off. It's my Irish temperament and a specific form of tourettes that only flares up when I'm behind the wheel. 5) When I do get lost, I always end up in the ghetto. Insert abandoned shopping carts, drug dealer cars and seedy alley streets. You're welcome, girls, for that brief tour through a less privileged part of Maryland.
Despite a few unexpected hiccups and more than three illegal u-turns, we finally made it to our first stop in Annapolis...Subway. Sailing is hard work, and we needed to wrangle up some lunch for the coolers...and for our Captain and his first mate. I have to say, if you ever have an inkling to visit the smallest and slowest sandwich-making Subway in the entire world, then visit the one in Annapolis.
I felt so bad for the two 20-somethings behind the counter, I decided I needed to bring some life back into their otherwise dull and claustrophobic work day. So, I started rambling...and rambling...and rambling...but I couldn't stop, and before I knew it, half the girls had escaped outside and only Jackie and Karen remained faithfully at my side, though they both attempted to hide their faces behind their sunglasses in an effort to avoid the Subway cameras.
Regardless of my rambling, those two Subway workers had an experience that morning, and they learned a lot about females. They learned that just because a woman doesn't know what type of sandwiches men like to eat, it doesn't mean she's a lesbian. They learned that when a woman says "I'm easy," she's not referring to her sexual nature; she's referring to how she likes her sandwiches. They learned that although a woman may combine pickles, olives and avocado all on one sandwich, it does not mean she's pregnant.
And, I walked away from Subway with a wealth of knowledge about what men like to eat...they like meaty foot longs. Oh yes.
With food in hand, the girls started discussing what type of bathroom accommodations the sailboat might offer, and we agreed that hanging our bare bottoms over the side of the boat was probably not the best way to introduce ourselves to the Annapolis community. So, we invaded the McDonalds next door to use the restroom. For me, this was the most harrowing part of our adventure, and I spent the rest of our ride obsessing over cockroaches and leaking toilets. Notice how I refuse to use a stall with pee all over the floor and a bug the size of a small turd floating in said pee, but I have no qualms about urinating on my best friend. Whatevs.
We arrived at Bert Jabin's Yacht Yard way early and found our Captain getting the boat ready to sail. I should note that our Captain was my Uncle James, who is by far, one of the coolest guys on the planet, and I owe him big time for taking us out and teaching us about sailing, especially when it was over 100 degrees and hot as sticky balls that day.
The picture below is Captain Jim with his WTF! expression after learning that he had not only taken on seven nonsailors, but our group also had two nonswimmers and two girls doped up on Dramamine and Sea Bands because they get seriously motion sick and could possibly hurl all over his beautiful boat. He's a Kershaw though...he recovered quickly and just went with it.
This is First Mate Mike right after getting a rub down by Shawna. Notice her expression in the background...she's wondering how she got tasked with that job while the rest of us were sunbathing.
A few hours later Jackie got cornered in the cabin for another rub down. First Mate Mike is clearly enjoying his time down below. Jackie looks like she's enjoying it too, but that's really her 'this is kinda awkward, but I'm going with it' smile.
And, notice First Mate Mike's face after I snapped this picture for Jackie's husband, Mike (who I might add is twice the size of First Mate Mike). This is First Mate Mike's 'uh-oh...I'm in for an ass-kicking face.' Notice how Jackie is completely adaptable and still just going with it. That's why we love her : )
Here's Mike's very lotioned back a few hours later as he hunts for the next pair of hands to apply some more sunscreen. Stephanie wasn't having any of it and briefly toyed with the idea of dumping him overboard with the jellyfish. She's from New York, after all, and they don't rub suntan lotion on strangers in the North. However, she refrained. She knew we needed him to get back to the docks.
For the record, Captain Jim and First Mate Mike kept us busy with more than just suntan lotion applications. Trish, it turns out, is quite the Captain. What's so amazing is her ability to steer the boat and look pretty all at the same time.
Karen, apparently, is such a natural sailor she is allowed to man the wheel while sitting. Now, that's impressive.
Jackie hoisted the mainsail. It's amazing how squat jumps have such a practical use on the water. Even First Mate Mike was impressed.
And, yes, I know it seems like I spent the day taking pictures. Not true at all. I also spent a lot of time in this position...playing bartender. I am extremely gifted at doling out drinks. Like any good sailor, we came prepared with a full cooler and fridge.
And, when I wasn't taking pictures and ensuring everyone was properly inebriated, I skirted the sails. I am particularly proud of my big ass in this picture as I skirt the sail. In fact, I feel like I needed to be in a skirt for the full effect. Next time...
I also managed to perfect the drunk college picture...you know, the pictures you start snapping with one hand, hoping you get a decent shot with two faces in it. By the end of the day, I was a pro. I also realized early on that if you sit at the rear of the boat you aren't close enough to the ropes to get called to do actual work. So, you get in a lot of sunbathing time. A few hours later, all the girls had discovered my secret, and the entire rear was filled.
We anchored in the Severn River for a few hours, ate lunch and braved the water to cool off. Even Calsin and Trish, who don't swim, ventured out into the water. It was a nice respite from the heat until Jackie started swimming toward the boat like Michael Phelps going for gold. Apparently, a jellyfish had wrapped its tentacle around her thigh and stung her, which caused quite the riot as everyone on the boat started pointing out jellyfish in the water. Not so comforting for those of us still swimming and unable to see them. Karen and I were the last to get back on the boat, and I have to say, I was impressed that no matter how many times she felt a jellyfish head bump against her foot, she remained calm. Must be the lifeguard training.
We spent the next few hours cruising around Annapolis. By this time, the heat was getting to a few of the girls and seasickness was definitely in full effect. We finally decided to dock at Cantlers restaurant and claim our landlegs. Apparently, Cantlers is one of the best seafood restaurants in Annapolis, and the 1-hour wait and insane crowds were evidence of that. While the other girls recovered in the air conditioned bar, Jackie and I slipped away to the boat for a few minutes to take care of some business. Karen arrived just in time to help document what I like to call...well...the sacrifice of real friendship.
With the sting gone, Jackie felt like new just in time for dinner. Love ya', girl!
Sailing really is thirsty work, and although beer buckets were probably not the best choice on a day with 100+ temperatures, we ordered two along with hefty servings of fried seafood and hush puppies. Captain Jim said Annapolis is called a quaint little drinking town with a sailing problem and that his crew would mutiny if he didn't have beer on board, so when in Rome...
Just as the sun was beginning to dip, we boarded the boat again, Jackie took the wheel and we headed back to the docks. And, just when I thought I had learned everything I need to know about sailing, Jackie gave me two more lessons: 1) Boats do not have emergency brakes, so a sudden and violent stop means the person steering the wheel either has no clue what they are doing and has hit bottom OR they are purposely trying to send you overboard. 2) There was a reason why Captain Jim cautioned us to always hold onto something when standing on the boat.
I didn't go overboard, but Karen and I came pretty damn close. Perhaps Jackie had one too many Blue Moons at dinner. Guess my driving isn't so bad after all...
It was dark by the time we made it back to the docks, and we were all dead tired but stoked about finishing our first adventure. These chicks rocked it!
As with every good adventure there is always an air of mystery at the end. In this case, we are left with three burning questions:
1) Did anyone hurl? Yes.
2) Did First Mate Mike get a sunburn on his back? No. In fact, I don't think he got any sun on his back at all due to the excessive amount of sunscreen rubbed into it.
3) Did I really pee on Jackie's jellyfish burn? Now where's the fun in answering that question?
**A huge thanks to James and Mike for taking us out all day and teaching us to sail. And, Mike, thanks for letting me give you a hard time...there's more of that to come if you sign up to take us rafting in the spring : )
The Tough Chick Adventures Chicks