Dr. Mikkel here, reporting from the Oceans of Hope as we sail away from a few days in charming Charleston, SC. We are heading south in search of new adventures and more heat – someone turned the thermostat down in New York, which reminded us to migrate. We had an amazing five day stopover in New York with our big orange boat the sole resident in North Cove Marina who, along with the excellent Manhattan Yacht Club, hosted our stay. Our arrival there was covered by CBS who went national with the story and our message of inspiration and hope for people who live with MS tumbled into the dinnertime viewing of a wide US audience, which is simply brilliant. Our recent MS crews, which have included numerous Americans, have loved every minute – sailing in past the Statue of Liberty; berthing under the unique Manhattan skyline; a welcome reception at the NYYC (very nice too); a visit to the worlds largest MS Care Centre (The Tisch Center); a guided tour of the New York Stock Exchange (we prefer our type of floating) and the myriad of sound, bustle, noise and smells (mostly chilli dogs) that is New York.
We took dozens of local people living with MS sailing out in the harbour, introducing them to a world beyond their shores and, thankfully, avoided the first winter snow – especially as we stay aboard the boat in port. We had the best imaginable Manhattan apartment, though it rolled around somewhat when the ferries start at 0530hrs!
Heading south, our next port of call was beautiful downtown Charleston where we have had another MS crew change. Hatteras to Charleston was rugged as we punched through the cold front that brought NY state its recent major cold snap. 45 knots on the nose and heavy seas gave us a real work-out and gave some of our fledgling sailors a true taste of offshore sailing – they were all brilliant and an inspiration to us all.
One after another the crew went down with seasickness, the strongest enemy at sea. It makes you lose concentration and the strength to do what is necessary. Indeed, it challenges you more than anything else at sea. This is when true character shows. Not whether you get seasick or not, this is not for you to decide, but how you deal with it. It would be natural if people in such a miserable state would start bickering at each other, complaining or create an atmosphere of fear and discomfort. But none of this happened. Maybe because these people are used to dealing with losing control over their body once in a while. I experienced a sense of acceptance and persistence. Just simply holding on – and waiting. Those who could, helped those who couldn’t.
Our American adventure has been incredible so far – the warmth of the greetings and the interest in our crew and what we are doing has been so strong. We are very grateful.
The big city lights of New York have been traded for a starry sky. We like both, but anyone can visit New York – we are some of the lucky few that can spend nights at sea under the celestial blanket.
Charleston has provided some real southern comfort for everyone abut now we head off again, bound for a stopover in Fort Lauderdale where we will be berthed at the Bahia Mar Marina from December 3rd-8th and introducing more local people with MS to the challenge and the joys of sailing.
Dr. Mikkel Anthonisen, Oceans of Hope.