The Crescent Moon Cruise Ship Line By Kate Pursell
oor Roy thought I had lost my mind. What had I lost? My bearings—and in doing so, “discovered’’ the Crescent Moon Cruise Ship Line. It won’t be giving Carnival Cruise Lines any competition. What it will be giving my husband and friends is a story that never fails to give me a huge dose of ribbing. It was to be my very first overnight boat delivery, and I was thrilled to think I would be on watch–by myself– while the captain (my husband Scott) and crew (his best friend Roy) slept peacefully in the wee hours while we made our way from Miami to Key West (stay over one night) and then home to Regatta Pointe Marina in Palmetto. We had left the Miami Boat Show on a Catalina 42, one of my favorite boats to sail, and unfortunately ran into a logjam of other boats wanting to refuel at the Miamarina. A few hours later, drenched in sweat from the muggy weather, we finally unfurled the sails and made it through the bumpy Government Cut to the Atlantic. The breeze was beautiful, and we had a delightful sail as we headed offshore, still in sight of land. And still with sunny skies. It was a picture-postcard afternoon, and I snapped away with my new digital camera. So far, so good. I’ve sailed a lot, but never, ever on an overnight delivery. My husband is the pro, having spent many years as a delivery boat captain, ferrying boats to and from Florida and Central America and the Caribbean. He warned me it would not be a wine-and-cheese cruise. Despite that, I was sure I would do just fine. I did. Until the sun set about seven-ish. Then little demons took over and decided I would get a case of almost-seasickness that found me
70 July 2007
The author asleep, or trying to sleep, on board.
staking out my spot on the cabin sole, zipped snugly in my yellow foul weather jacket and navy foul weather pants. The weather had taken a turn a few notches southward, the seas a bit rough for my taste, and I was chilled. I moved only a few times to gingerly make my way below to the head. Dinner? Please. I could barely keep water down, and smelling the lasagna the boys had heated in the oven–the gimbled stove at work–made me even more nauseous. I still can’t stand the smell of lasagna. Scott and Roy, troopers, of course, didn’t make me feel any worse than I did—considering I wouldn’t be able to pull a watch, and they ended up three hours on, two hours off. The seas were a tad on the tumbly side, about six-to-eight feet, enough to make the boat “tippy’’ as we sailed along at a nice clip (probably about seven or so knots) with both the main sail and jib. No motoring for us. And “tippy” is not good for someone who has nestled oneself into a spot on the cabin sole, barely able to raise one’s head as the boat rocked side to side, constantly changing my view of the horizon. That is until the “Crescent Moon Cruise Ship Line” appeared in what I
thought was very close proximity to the boat. I bolted upright and screamed out in alarm. A cruise ship lit up like a proverbial Christmas tree was bearing quickly down upon us, and I jolted my head to the stern where Roy calmly sat behind the wheel smoking one of the those God-awful cigars that he had promised he had given up. He looked at me in alarm. I looked at him as if he were crazy. This man, a longtime friend, was behind the wheel, steering us into what soon would be a much too close encounter with a skyscraper-size cruise ship. Again, I cried out. “Don’t you see the cruise ship?!” Roy, ever patient, ever kind, looked at me and said, “Where?’’ I knew then it was hopeless. We would soon be tossed into the choppy Atlantic seas as we hugged the coastline to Key West. No stay overnight at the Galleon Resort in Key West. No reveling in the yearround party-like atmosphere of Duval Street. No sipping pomegranate cosmos at the eclectic Alice’s. Roy must have been lulled into a dream-like state not to see the ship. It was about three o’clock in the morning, and he probably was just dead tired. Scott was below asleep. I certainly saw it and pointed to the cruise ship in the northeast about 8 o’clock on the horizon. Bless him. He didn’t just burst out laughing, although he would have been perfectly within his rights. He pointed to the “ship’’ and asked, with a strong measure of hesitancy, “Um, is that it?’’ By then I had forgotten I was almost seasick. I was going to die, and I had to get the prayers going quickly if we had any chance of surviving. “Kate, that’s a crescent moon,’’ See CRESCENT continued on page 68 www.southwindsmagazine.com