Have you ever just been so in awe of how much can happen over a short period of time that to summarize seems an impossible feat? The last few weeks have been full on and the Chicago to Mackinac Race forever engraved in my head. It was amazing and incredibly "challenging" ("Challenge" being the name of the 1970 S&S 50 owned by Ray Teborek, whom privileged me the right to join he's historical program.)
Currently still on Challenge as we work our way back to Chicago and with help of fellow crew participating in the journey will do my best to get a few tales out in a somewhat reasonable time...
For now, lets just say more care should have been given to the black fly warnings. Though, no one told me just how vicious the suckers are!! We were all pretty knackered on our off-watches and for the most part eating and sleeping took top ranks over anything else. From the get go we engaged in the marathon of sail changes to really work Challenge. Between the head-sails, stay-sails, kites...some solid physical labor.
Enough so to be pretty passed out in one's bunk and completely oblivious to the mini-vampires hunting us down. I slept pretty lightly the first 24 hours but after our 20th sail change (not an exaggeration!), heading into Sunday the body was ready to just give in to sleep. The wind had laid down a bit, was foggy and warm...the mini-vampires closed in.
Most of us stayed covered at all times once the flies moved in. I wore a light pair of fleece leggings and long sleeve capelline, but did it stop the feeding frenzy...no.
I've since done a little research on how these damned and evil, no good black flies feed and can not believe that the pain caused by seven mini-vampires making a little "hole" in my skin did not wake me!?! Through my fleece no less, six of the god forsaken insects fed on my left hip-glutes region and one went for the nicely exposed neck (in true vampire form!)
Slept through the whole feast!
Furthermore, so focused on racing did not even notice an attach had occurred till Tuesday (we completed the race late Monday, actually Tuesday morning.) Turns out I am a wee bit allergic to the lovely toxins they inject into their victim and has sadly consumed my focus for the last few days...sitting has been a problem since my left "cheek" is out of commission for the grape sized welts from each of the bite wounds.
A learning experience? Yes!
The Black Fly tale is simply on the tip of my tongue since I can not even sit to type this post, but in all fairness it was an amazing experience sailing with the Challenge Crew, an incredibly talented group of guys: I was the only female amongst 13 males and never once did I feel incapable or treated differently, minus my need for a bucket! They empowered me to take on any job I felt able, which is a wonderful opportunity to grow as a sailor. Thank you!
There really is a lovely story to tell and will post a proper report with slide-show when we arrive at port with proper WiFi over the weekend.
I truly hope folks visit back over the next week for pictures and more tales from Chicago-Mac 2008.
All the best!