Swim Call

Deckhand Meghan flaking the foresail before the swim call

The sea was calm off of the Carolinas, and the wind calmer yet.  We were motoring, motoring, motoring, despite the various marine forecasts suggesting favorable wind.  Hour after hour we eased sail when the wind would allow, and then sheeted the sails in fully when steaming straight into the wind.

The Harvey Gamage crew and students lowered and flaked the sails, despite the hundred miles to travel until reaching Charleston, SC.  The luffing of the sails did nothing to move us forward, so the sails were doused to keep them safe from unnecessary wear.  Flaking the heavy canvas sails in the heat was a sticky affair.  Second Mate Calen throttled back to slow the ship.  It was time for a "swim call."

“Hands to lower the small boat,” echoed the Captain’s command.  As a safety measure for the swim, the ship’s inflatable was lowered as the ship bobbed in the sea.  The proximity of the Gulf Stream made the air and water warm, even in November.  From gainers off of the jibboom to cannonballs from amidships, we climbed up the Jacob’s Ladder and leapt into the ocean again and again.  Swimming alongside the ship, you could easily make out the ship’s keel, rudder, and propeller—plus the occasional jellyfish.  After an extended jaunt in the salty water, the call was made to return aboard, but not before Calen jokingly threatened to throw in our cook Shanna—apron and all.  He was pressing his luck on this joyous occasion.