In a world that seems to run on “knowing someone” and having connections, it certainly came through last weekend. I worked for Visual Options for about a year, loved every second of it, great owners, great people and a ton of amazing tools (toys) I had access to. They do a ton of work with plastics like plexiglas and more and more work in print, which is what I was doing. They also build tanks for ships. Or super old schooners like the Adventuress. Visual Options donated their time and materials to replace an aging holding tank that was causing all sorts of problems on board. They were super grateful for the donation and invited a few of us out for a quick tour of Shilshole Bay and then a quick tour of the boat for the five of us.
It was nice to catch up with Neal, Stu and Sawyer on all the happenings at Visual Options since I left over a year ago. I miss them all dearly, so it was nice to catch up while we waited to get the go-ahead to board the schooner. Once we did get the green light, about 30 of us walked out onto the dock, got a quick briefing on how to safely board and then about a 10 minute introduction to some of the crew, what to do in an emergency and some other general information I mostly forgot as I marveled at everything going on with this boat. The ropes, the brass, the wood and the knots holding everything together. Interestingly enough, I wasn’t THAT impressed with the deck, but then later found out it’s being entirely replaced in the near future, so I’m guessing it hasn’t been overly maintained like everything else. I know, weird details I notice.
After the safety of our lives was covered, we got a great history lesson by Taylor (sp?) on the Adventuress. Built in 1913, caught on fire a couple of times. Sunk at least once. The bell most people will see isn’t the original, but the original was recovered by a random collector and given back to the ship and is only brought out for special occasions. By this time, we were out of the harbor and beginning to learn how we needed to work together to raise the sails, including a sailors song I can’t remember a single word of, sorry.
Just as the sails were going up, so was the wind speed and far out on the water, a very dark cloud. As the second sail went up, disaster struck. A loud crack/pop got everyone’s attention and we saw the crew looking at the top of the second sail towards a small rip. The crew and visitors worked together to lower that sail and raise the front, smaller sail to help us navigate directly into the dark clouds in the middle of the bay. At least that’s what it felt like.
About 200 yards away from the ship was a wall of clouds, fog and rain. You could see it and you could certainly hear it. We were dry, for now. Within five minutes, everyone was either down below or on deck, in rain gear. The heavens opened and rained like I haven’t seen in a VERY long time! There was a small river of water on the deck trying to find the sea. We were completely drenched within 30 seconds, there was just no escaping this deluge. But hey, we were sailing, right? Honestly, besides making sure my camera was covered, I wasn’t really complaining. Certainly made for a memorable trip I suppose.
With the rain squall past us and everyone on deck wringing out their clothes, the wind was gone. We had time left on the water, so this gave the captain a chance to give the five of us a private tour below deck. A little time spent on various areas, but mostly to show us the tank Sawyer had built, the difficulties in getting it below deck and how it’s been a great “upgrade” to quality of life in the part of the ship, mostly because the smell coming from the old tank wasn’t very enjoyable.
After the tour, we came back on deck to mostly sunny skies and fresh cookies made in the galley. We joked about the weather since we truly believe we saw Stu at the wheel right before the downpour and that means we get to point the finger at him for our wet clothes. We talked to Taylor a little more about the history of the ship and observed some of the crew doing tasks with the other visitors on board. The captain had switched over to the engine and we were slowly making our way back to the marina. We got a group photo, said our goodbyes and we talked about how soon we could get back on a ship like this, preferably with better weather and maybe even for a day or two.