Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Best Mother's Day EVER!

Another way to spend Mother’s Day, I asked once.  Our babies were now in their 30s, so there would be no warm Sunday cuddles, or homemade cards, still wet and dripping glue.  No more little kisses on my face, and heart-felt, "I love you, Mommy!"  No, it was now just my husband and me.

Forget about the obligatory cards and flowers.  No more breakfasts in bed—they never worked out anyway, since I was the one who had to change the sheets after the orange juice spilled.  Sunday Brunch?  Oh, heavens, no.  So when my husband asked what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day 2010, I said…well, some other things, but the jest of the conversation is that I wanted to do something different.

A week later, my husband handed me a brochure, and a confirmation email, telling us that we had been accepted for a free sailing trip from Long Beach, CA, to Catalina Island.  I must admit that I believed my husband had really scored big on creativity.  He is a creative man, but much of the time, when I open a present, I am puzzled by his thought processes. 

Wear layers, we were told. 
What do I pack?  Will there be a dress-up night?  No, he said, just bring these things, and he handed me a list:
The incredible crew of CIMI Tole Mour
Bring a change of warm clothing, shoes with rubber soles, a bathing suit, a rain-jacket, sunscreen, a hat, a towel, sleeping bag, and pillow. 

This was not a pleasure cruise.  It was a tall-ship with three masts, rigging—the whole package of 19th century traveling. Hosted by the Catalina Island Marine Institute, we were going to travel across the ocean, powered by the wind on the sails.

Rigging, anyone?  I didn't climb to the Crow's Nest.

 Mizzen mast?  Ballentine knots?  Make fast?  Super fast?  Go portside.  Go starboard.  Swab the poop deck (oh, yeah).  All of it and more, it was real and we got to do it.  This cruise was for teachers, showing what students would be doing aboard if they went for two, three, five or more days.
Every single crew member were dedicated trained marine scientists and sailors.  Their depth of knowledge amazed me.  Their respect for life humbled me. Their care for their crew/passengers was genuine.  This crew was what every human being should be.

Leaving Long Beach, CA

Inside the galley, also used for education and classes

Approaching Catalina Island
Racing dolphins
During our 24 hours aboard, we hoisted sails, heaved-ho,  sang clean sailing shanties, learned about the native sea life, snorkeled, climbed out over the bow and watched dolphins race the boat. The meals prepared in a tiny kitchen were of gourmet quality.  We ate like starving sailors, and slept soundly.  We even threw up occasionally, until we got our sea legs.  Some never got their legs, so there were buckets at the ready, with a crew mate anticipating that certain look that comes over the face in pre-vomit stage.

We stood at the wheel, with the captain by the side.  Climbing out on the rigging to the bowsprit, we could look down into the ocean and feel awed by God's creation.
The trip ended too quickly, and we disembarked, vaguely feeling like we had  left a family member behind.  
If you ever get a chance to do this, don't hesitate.  
Give up the champagne brunch, and 'live large'.

 "I must go down to the sea again..."  I think I understand a little more what the poet meant by this.
Go to the links below for some great photos and info!


  1. A great read, and superb pictures.
    It's always lovely to get away from it all.
    Have a lovely day.

  2. Well that takes the cake in my book, Susan. That is by far the best mothers day gift ever. I would be in heaven. How cool. I've always wanted to actually sail somewhere... just like that,hardcore sailing like folks used to long ago. What a wonderful experience.

    Happy Mother's Day! :)

  3. Susan, I was tagged in a game of Blog tag and so I tagged you too! Come on over to my blog if you want to play and you can copy and paste the questions--it makes for a fun post...:)
    Happy Mother's Day too! :)

  4. I loved the pictures and the wonderful imagery. I feel like I was there...and that's as close as I need to come to sailing in a small boat on the open sea for 24 hours!!! I would be the comatose dramamine-Queen passed out on the "puke" deck!!! Thanks for making me laugh!

  5. That sounds just wonderful! I'm sure they have to have something similar here on the east coast. I'll have to mention it to my hubby! Although I get seasick pretty easily!


Go won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!