Posted on: August 16, 2011 Posted by: Cole Ruth Comments: 1

Now that I’ve divulged a few secrets, I’m raiding my closet to find a few more. What else have I not said? I’m not telling who slept with who, or who drives who crazy. What else is there? That I freeze my herbs? I’ll have to keep thinking.

Today we high-tailed it out of Chicago so fast the skyline was dissolving in blue before I had time to stick my head up out of the galley hatch after lunch. I guess not everyone on the crew (aka., the captain) is as keen on cities as I am.

There’s very little wind, so we’re motoring our way across the lake. I’m hoping for a swim call when we get to Traverse Bay, but that might not be until tomorrow morning.

This will be my last transit. Once we get to Bay Harbor, there’ll be no more overnight sails on the Marlin. No more waking up to a sunrise with sea in every direction, or putting the midnight snack out, or taking long afternoon naps because dinner is at 7:30 pm.

Sunset on Lake Michigan.

Outside of Time
We’re out of cell phone coverage and that just seems to reinforce for me the fact that we’re cut off. Not just here and now, on Lake Michigan, but most of the time this small group of people (what can there be, a thousand tall ship sailors out there?) spend their lives, cut off from the rest of the world. They don’t have houses or cars. They don’t day-trade, or have 401Ks. They rarely buy anything except gear; even new clothes are often purchased at the Good Will. They don’t pay rent. They don’t buy food – unless you count ice cream and beer. Their impact on society is minimal.

Tall ships aren’t fulfilling a societal need. Nobody needs us, relies on us. And most of the time they think we’re pirates – so they don’t even know what they’re looking at to begin with.

And yet. I love the expression I sometimes hear on deck: the Marlin is a living piece of history. A little bit of majesty from a bygone era. So what if no one needs us? We exist to be the keepers of a tiny piece of the world’s memory, reminding people wherever we go of what a magical place we once thought the sea to be.

The tall ship sailors are a strange lot. If I believed in reincarnation, I might suspect that the tug of the sea is so strong in them that it is handed down, begun before they were born. But I don’t believe in past lives. I believe that for the most part, they are a bunch of misfits who, like the ships they sail, don’t quite fit in the real world, but belong instead, hovering on the outskirts.

I love the fact that, for as much as we are an attraction for the public, for all the people who walk our decks and peer into our mysterious and other-worldly lives – we are actually doing the same thing in reverse. Tall ship sailors go from port to port, peeking in on worlds they will never inhabit, amused by the goings-on of a society in which we play no part.

So here we go. One last port. One last show. Here’s to making it a good one.

Monday’s Menu
Bread pudding with dates and cinnamon
Sandwiches – I broke every rule on yesterday’s post. I bought honey-cured sandwich ham slices; expensive stilton cheese with apricots in it, and goat gouda (they loved both). I bought organic, pre-washed spinach and a sourdough batard at Trader Joe’s and they made sandwiches for themselves.
Chuck steak slow-cooked in the oven in brown sugar, salt, pepper and chili flakes
Ravioli (another thing I never buy – but I wanted an easy meal day) tossed in olive oil
Zuchinni and yellow squash oven-baked with onions and garlic and salt and pepper. Easy.
Glass noodle salad with mint and thai basil and chopped peanuts and dried shallots.
White chocolate macadamia nut monster cookies

1 people reacted on this

  1. Great post, great menu, great idea to swim in Traverse Bay! Hey I know, why don’t you come up to Alaska when you’re done and we’ll write, cook, and explore outside together! (Okay, it’ll be snowing then…)

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