December 14, 2000
Latitude: 15 degrees, 14.5 minutes north Longitude: 45 degrees west-925 miles to St. Lucia

Madness or Masquerade?



Caption: Crew Runs Amok (click here to see a larger photo)

Poseidon, god of the sea, the storms, and protector of fishermen, dressed in a drape of regal blue, was standing tall, braced with an unusual staff that had a fish speared lengthwise on the top. His majesty, Amphitrite, was by his side, draped in paler blue. Both were at the bow of Pacific Bliss near the salt-water pump. 

“You will come to the middle of the net one by one,” he commanded, “the captain will be first.”  Gunter dutifully sat in front of Poseidon, his head bowed.  This was a good thing, because Poseidon then proceeded to dump about ¾ of a bucket of salt water upon Gunter’s head.  Next, he took a white brush (of dubious background) and dipped it the remaining salt water and sprinkled it on Gunter’s soaked locks.  “I hereby christen you Captain Gunter of Pacific Bliss,” he pronounced.

Next I was called to the middle of the net.  I pleaded with Poseidon not to get the bucket-on-the-head treatment because of my role in the forthcoming masquerade.  My pleas were heard (Poseidon being an understanding god) and I got the ½ body treatment, followed by the sprinkling, with the words, “I hereby christen you Lois, the Ocean Navigator of Pacific Bliss.” 

Next Georg, who received the bucketful-on-the-head treatment, was christened “Master Chef of Pacific Bliss.”

Anne received the half-body treatment, but her christening was special.  Poseidon said, “I hereby christen you Anne the Fisher.” Then he pried the fish off the end of the staff and handed it to her!  We have not caught any fish so far, so perhaps this will change our luck!

After the ceremony, the crew had 20 minutes to re-assemble, in costume.  Anne made use of her Christmas decorations that had been put to use in our two Advent observances. 

Anne, “Fisher” with her special gift from Poseidon.

Poseidon and Amphitrite at the helm.

Captain Gunter came out looking like Darth Vader, but he claimed he was “King of the Garbage.”

The Queen of Boabdil, of the Alhambra, revived from her sleep, still reminiscing about the 9th century, came out of her chambers in the starboard hull, wearing a Moroccan caftan, and carrying her pillow inscribed, “It’s good to be Queen.” From a colorful cloth purse, she handed out gifts to her subjects obtained from the Queen’s Chambers.  The subjects were pleased to learn that the Queen’s Stores (in the bilges) held plenty more food-including tuna and Fruits de la Mer, just in case we did not catch those elusive fish.

Queen Boabdil with King of the Garbage.

Georg had promised a meal of “just a few special tapas” to go with the champagne we had brought all the way from Canet, France.  (Thanks, Jeanne and John; these bottles were from your selection and received rave reviews.) Our chef had worked all day to prepare such culinary delights; in fact, he admitted he had even dreamed about tapas the night before.  We devoured two appetizer trays containing jamon and cheese from Spain and olives from France.  We also enjoyed a vegetable tray of cucumbers and tomatoes, two dishes of chilled garlic & oil mashed potato salad, two of fruit cocktails (one with blue cheese), along with warm toast squares brushed with olive oil.  All in all, we had a rollicking ½ way party, and have been fortunate to experience a great crossing so far.

Master Chef Georg

Masquerade Masterpiece (click here to see larger photo)

“What about the madness part of my story?” you ask.

Well, Gunter keeps humming, “Still Crazy After All These Years,” and keeps to himself a little these days, but the rest of us are still quite sane.

We asked Gottfried what happens if someone does go crazy during the passage, since he is an Atlantic crossing veteran, having participated in the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers).

He could only tell us of a case history from the book, Psychology on Board, that discusses what to do in the case of extreme seasickness. In this case, the crewman had been seasick during the entire Atlantic crossing and with quite a distance to go, the yacht was still experiencing bad weather. The crewman had gone out of his mind, intent on suicide, wanting to open the hatches, take the ship off its course, and kept trying to jump overboard. The crew finally disinflated their dinghy, wrapped up the crew member with the dinghy so he could do no harm, then tied him to the mast during the day, and into his bed at night!





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