Key West was wonderful, but home was where we all wanted to be. We only had a couple more days before we would be back in Maine. The ship steamed forward at a steady 11 or 12 knots. At that speed I thought we would never make it. I had to remind myself that though she was newly renovated, she was an old ship. Her pace was slow but steady. It took a while, but I learned to accept it and enjoy the ride.
Greg’s wife, Kathy had been busy calling each crewmembers family and friends to gather at the pier in Portland to welcome us home. She also contacted the local media who have been following Greg’s adventures throughout the years. The anticipation of seeing everyone was a bit overwhelming. I was so proud of our ship, the M/V Sea Hunter and the crew. Sharing this experience with them was something I knew I would always remember.
It was a chilly day, May 10, 2009, around 2 pm when we rounded the harbor and caught sight of the pier. It was crowded with people and a camera crew. We stood on deck in our blue Sea Hunter shirts and a huge smile was on every face.
Each crew member was scanning the crowd looking for the person/persons that came to greet them.
Docking a ship that size is no simple task. It takes a lot of help from the crew. They take positions on deck and radio the captain. It is slow and steady, so the last 10 minutes seemed to drag on forever. As I peered at the faces in the crowd, I recognized some, but there were many more I didn’t. Then, straight ahead, there they were. The ones that came to welcome me back. Waving with excitement was my daughter, Jennifer, my beautiful granddaughter, Lily and my boyfriend. A couple of my girlfriends were there as well. I couldn’t wait to jump off the ship and wrap my arms around each one of them. Though it had only been six weeks since I left, at that moment, it felt like forever.
Once securely docked, everyone rushed to their loved ones. Hugs and kisses were everywhere. I scooped up my granddaughter and held her tight. She looked a bit scared, as if she’d seen a ghost, as she was used to seeing me daily and now it had been six weeks. I whispered in her ear how much her nanny missed and loved her. It didn’t take long before she knew it was real and she did what she does best….started talking. She had so many stories to tell me and I couldn’t wait to hear them all.
Once we said our greetings to our families, we started introducing them to our crew mates. It’s a strange feeling when you spend so much time with people (day and night) and have long conversations with them and then you meet their spouses and children. Though you know they had a life before you met, it takes a short adjustment. Everyone wanted a tour of the Sea Hunter and we were all too proud to show her off. Before long, there were people in every room on the ship. Kids wanted to see where their daddy slept and where they took a shower. But the most popular place was in the pilot house. Even the adults were in awe of this beautiful room and began asking about all the instruments. The kids wanted to sit in the captain’s seat and pull the horn. Everyone wanted their picture taken on our beautiful ship. Cameras were going off in every direction. The energy was high and though I wanted to be alone with my family, I also didn’t want this time to end. As I looked around at all the happy faces, my heart swelled with pride, knowing I was part of something wonderful and that this was just the beginning. With unbound energy, I picked Lily up into my arms, ran to my room to get my overnight bag and looked forward to a long and relaxing few days at home. As excited as I was to go home, deep down I couldn’t wait to see what the summer was going to bring our way.