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Swim Calls and Galley Duty on NIAGARA

Posted by maryschneider on July 27, 2006

It was to be our last full day at sea when I awoke on Wednesday,  the 19th. The sun was out and shining, I had just eaten a lovely breakfast of unleavened pancakes, (the cook ran out of baking soda) and I was out on deck playing in the suds of the washbasins (on account of my galley duty for the day). After we had scrubbed down and put away the dishes, the entire crew mustered for a lecture given by the Captain and the third mate on “sail theory”, and “rules of the road”, lights and shapes.

As the sun beat down upon us and the sweat beaded on our foreheads, dripping down our cheeks the Captain finished up his lecture and uttered the two most wonderful words I have ever heard in my life, “SWIM CALL”. Everyone ran down below and jumped into their bathing suits and trunks as the Captain slowed down the boat and prepared to stop it in the middle of Lake Huron. Swing ropes and ladders were rigged up by the mates as the crew quickly gathered their shampoo, towels and soap in preparation for a good lather. As everyone hustled about I chatted in a low voice to Meredith…..I was scared to go in. Not because I was afraid of monsters that potentially dwelled in the depths of the lake, but because I was terrified of how cold it would be.

Too afraid of the initial cold shock the rope swing would bring, I finally mustered up the courage to jump off the side. When I hit the water I was completely taken aback…….it wasn’t cold at all instead it was perfectly refreshing. I watched as the crew did back-flips and other forms of acrobatics as they swung from the swing. After swim call, I dressed as rapidly as I could and went up to my watch…..which was already in progress. On watch, I realized that my trip was almost over and although as sad as it was, I was still happy to get to Bay City, to see Alex, Erin, and Jonathan and drink a cup of cool iced coffee.

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