Askari Cruise Page 2

Askari Cruise — As told to Diane M. Byrne — April 2003

The Time of Their Lives
Part 2: Equator; Easter Island

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This morning the boat was surrounded by hundreds of dolphins. They were swimming all around, especially up at the bow. Some were jumping way out of the water. Finally we couldn’t resist, and we donned our snorkeling gear and jumped in with them. I thought they would swim away as soon as we got near, but they stayed around. They seemed to be as curious about us as we were about them. We were in the water for about an hour and had as many as 20 around us at a time. Some were as close as two to three feet away.

Just when we thought things couldn’t get any better, we did a dive and saw about six to eight big turtles. Kate got close enough to touch one. The largest was about five feet long. Way, way cool!

Wow! At 6:20 a.m. on October 9, we crossed the equator!

And yes, we were all up to see it. Scott wanted to go flush a toilet to see if it really does run backwards. Kate wanted to know why it was so cold, since “It’s supposed to be hot at the equator.” Michelle was busy with her camera. And I ran for the bottle of good champagne.

So there we stood, at 6:20 a.m., glasses raised in a toast, camera poised to capture the moment, as we crossed from the Northern Hemisphere into the Southern Hemisphere.

Welcome to the [region of the] land Down Under!

Isn’t this a kick!

We celebrated Halloween Askari style last night. Everyone had to come in costume. This was a little challenging since we are on a sparsely populated island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean! But we gave it our best.

Scott came as a member of the Blue Man Group. He painted his face, head, and hands bright blue and wore all-black clothes. I came as a pirate, complete with an eye patch, sword, and ship’s flag. Mark, our chef, came as a “mola” monster. He wore a mola mask he bought in the San Blas Islands. Our captain Lon came as a Rasta man, complete with dreadlocks and all! Claud, our engineer, came as “Claud recycled.” He wore his tie-dye pants from Hippie Night, his mola vest from Murder Mystery Night, and his hat from Peru Night. (Editor’s note: The family and crew often threw Theme Nights for fun and to pass time on long crossings.) Altogether, it was typical Claud! Tess (one of the stewardesses and our nurse) came as a witch with a black trash bag as her dress. She had a huge, pointed black hat and a long, gray wig. She blacked out a few of her teeth and drew several large moles on her face. Heidi, the other stewardess, came as “Oceania,” Goddess of the Sea (from South African folklore). She had a long flowing blue dress and lots of sparkles all over her face and carried a big, blue wand (made from a kitchen spoon). Michelle came as a “blue-footed booby baby.” There’s a bird called the blue-footed booby that really has blue feet. So Michelle had blue, webbed feet (made from craft foam) and a baby bonnet, a diaper, a rattle, and a pacifier!

The second-best costume was Kate and Geri (stewardess). They came as Siamese twins! They made a pair of pants that had three legs; they also had matching pigtails, matching black shirts with sequins, and, of course, matching attitudes!

The most creative was Don, our second mate. He came as “bird-dropping man.” He was apparently cleaning bird poop off the deck when this idea came to him. He wore a T-shirt with a stuffed bird on the shoulder and used white icing to make bird droppings all over the shirt. But the best part: He shaved his head and painted a target on the top! That boy goes all-out for Halloween!

Next page > Askari, Part 3 > Page 1, 2, 3, 4

This article originally appeared in the March 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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