|Photo credit: Thanks, Raymond!|
We got a late start on Tuesday, and by early evening we were coming past Galveston into the Gulf of Mexico. It had been a little stormy that day, so the winds were brisk with four to six foot seas rolling us about as we tacked back and forth to get beyond the long stone jetties that flank the entrance to the bay. Of course, with each tack we crossed the ship channel again, and though during the day the big ships are impossible to miss, taking up your entire field of vision, at night it was another story. They were like hulking blocks of shadow with three tiny lights on top barreling into the Gulf at 20 knots. I found how difficult they were to see quite disconcerting, and needless to say we got our diminutive butts out of the shipping lane as soon as we got past the jetties, one of which we came a bit too close to for comfort.
That's right about the time that my violent bout of seasickness kicked in, laughing in the face of all the ginger I'd consumed. I won't bore you with the graphic details, but suffice to say I spent the next two days dry heaving and curled up in the fetal position sweating buckets. Vlad was kind enough to turn the fan on for me. Thank goodness my brother came with us because it would have been a pretty horrendous first voyage for Vlad with his only companion, besides the hedgehog, totally incapacitated. I think we might have made it as far as Beaumont.
Once out into the Gulf of Mexico, it took us 10 full days to reach Key West. We traveled more than 1,000 miles, generally heading south, southeast and east, with the occasional north and west thrown in (dang that Russian). The first week we went very slowly due to storms and the wind - which kept pushing us toward the Yucatan (too bad David didn't have his passport). My dad told me later that he went down to my mom's house, and she showed him where we were on the Spot tracker. Not being nautically inclined, he asked my mom if we were making good time, and she replied that it was the worst progress she'd ever seen. She described that first week to me as "like watching paint dry," which wasn't an inaccurate description since we I'm pretty sure we went backwards for two days.
At 2:00 a.m. on Sunday morning when we had more miles to go than we did on Friday afternoon, I had generally decided that the whole thing sucked and that I hated the Gulf of Mexico and that I could really use a beer and maybe a sandwich made from something besides peanut butter and jelly. But then we got some wind. What will follow on the blog for the next few days are the highlights of our trip, the things that we found interesting, beautiful, bizarre and frustrating. And I promise I'll explain the Russian.