The Day of the Silent Sail
18 June 2012
With our sail with the silent spirituals scheduled for 3:30 the fog was as thick as French pea soup, Canada is a bilingual country. There must be more to this spiritual thing than we imagined. At 3:20 the fog lifted and the sun came out, quite the trick. Marg and I hightailed it down to the boat and quickly prepared to sail as the twelve passengers drifted silently down to the dock. We had made the decision that since we couldn’t ask if they wanted a life jacket we would make them all wear one and as they passed the boat house they were all outfitted in jackets. Marg mimed the safe way to move to the bow of the boat and demonstrated how they would get caught if they tried to pass between the wires that hold up the mast. Spirituals have a sense of humour because they all laughed at Marg’s high jinks. Obviously the no communication thing was breaking down because there was a lot of waving to acquaintances on shore and pointing. Most passengers were taking pictures with the shutter bugs going into a frenzy as the cult leader was seen making her way from on cabin to another in her long thick white dress and brilliant white hair. As cult leaders are she didn’t acknowledge our presence, I assume she knew we were there she is a see’er after all.
Unfortunately spirituals don’t know much about sailing or they would of whipped up some wind when they lifted the fog. We cleared the channel and turned off the motor as was previously requested and proceeded to drift down the coast of George Island with a 1 mph favourable current and an additional .2 mph supplied by almost no wind. We managed to silently ghost along the shore without enough speed for steerage. After about a half hour of slowly passing this spectacular landscape the waves had pushed us to close and we used the engine to turn us around. With the engine off against the current we were dead in the water being washed toward shore. Marg and I conferred in silence and decided to motor out to sea and sail on away from the lodge for as long as we could and then motor them back at the end of the trip. We spent the next hour and a half playing with the sails to keep us moving. The passengers didn’t make a sound or move from their original positions; some were either communing with cosmos or sleeping it hard to tell the difference.
We motored them back to the dock and as they departed we received some silent thumbs, up one young girl offered us a tip and another lady started to say something and realized her mistake and walked away all flustered. All in all I think they got the experience they were looking for. I don’t know if I prefer the usual socialize with Marg and Steve sail or the silent sailing adventure.
We woke to a thick fog the morning of our first of two silent sails. As the day progressed so did the fog. Stormy almost disappeared from view while standing in front of the boat house just 10 paces away. At 3pm we decided to cancel the sail, scheduled for 3:30pm, due to the fog and lack of wind. We told the front desk and wrote “cancelled” in the schedule book, but neither staff knew how we were to communicate the change to the group. We headed back to our cabin and then to the dock to put Stormy away for the evening. No word of a lie, at 3:25pm the fog started to lift and we noticed a migration of people, from all directions, ghosting towards the dock... sort of an eerie sight if you can imagine. Steve and I glanced at each other and said, “Well, I guess the sail is back on!”
We managed to gather the group and secure their life jackets on (no exception due to the restrictions placed upon us) and then we corralled them to Stormy’s dock.
Now this is when my training from years of Aquafit came to play.
Look at me = 2 finger pointing at my eyes and then motioning two taps with my hand at my chest .. and from that moment forward I began to mime every thought that came to mind. To our surprise they watched with amusement, clapped, pointed, smiled and giggled at my attempts of animation. Their silence was broken. In fact thinking back on the evening sail (which Steve describes very well), I believe that we were much better at this silent thing then they were. Actually, being washed up alongside George Island was absolutely fascinating. We never thought we could come so close to her magnificent high rocky shoreline without tearing a hole into Stormy Night’s hull.
At this time I’d like to thank you all for your wonderful comments to our first take of this very unusual situation. We never laughed so hard. I would love to shared those with the group, but I think I best keep them for my next career as a stand up comic!