83. Christmas Eve

83 CHRISTMAS EVE
December 24, 2008
It seems that wherever it is celebrated, excitement builds as Christmas nears.  That has certainly been true here on the Picton Castle.  It was especially true on Christmas Eve, as the crew spent the day baking, decorating, wrapping presents, and getting cleaned up for the evening “Marlinspike” party.

People have been baking—especially cookies—for days.  And an amazing, and seemingly unending stream of Christmas decorations have appeared and been put up almost everywhere.  Some, like this banner hung in the rigging and the little artificial tree set up on the hatch, have been store-bought, others, like the strings of popcorn and paper chains that festoon the salon, have been home-made.

At sea everything aboard ship is lashed down.  Large items that would be particularly dangerous if they got loose, are given “Cape Horn Lashings,” named after the cape at the tip of South America famous for its storms.  One day Cory was instructed to put a Cape Horn Kevin & Weronica stringing popcorn.     Lashing on something but misheard the instruction and wondered why he had been asked to do a “gay porn lashing.”  This has started a long running joke in the ribald and irreverent humor of the ship.  So when it was time to make some paper chains for Christmas decorations, Nicki produced a gay porn magazine that was cut up for its paper.  The             Part of the gay porn paper chain in the salon.
bosun looked at the chain when it was hung and said, “I think there are some unwrapped packages here.”

The overall result was to give the ship a very festive Christmas feeling, with the tree set up in the center of the main hatch with presents under it, and decorations on the deckhouses, in the rigging, and down below.

A wreath on the door of the scuttle to the salon.
At four thirty in the afternoon the Marlinspike began with everyone dressed in their best, champagne punch, and an overwhelming plethora of cookies.  Since the ship still had to be sailed and my watch was on duty, this led to some incongruous sights such as the pictures of Marie at the helm in her dress and pearls, and the mate and ABs of my watch on duty in their finery that you will have already seen in my journal entry on my new watch (# 82), and the sight of Tjetil aloft fixing a gasket on the spanker in a full suit and tie, an extreme contrast to our normal ultra-grubby grease, tar, and paint stained work clothes.

Donald, always one of the most fashionable men aboard, somehow managed to appear in a full Santa Claus suit that seemed to impress the ladies.  It has long been my observation that the women aboard, I guess like women every-           Tjetil in the rigging.
where, do a much better job of cleaning up and getting fancy than the men.  They are much more style-conscious, put more effort and expense into their wardrobe, and have the extra tools of hair and makeup, often helped by Nicki our resident professional hair stylist and makeup artist.  I am always awed at how well they clean up and                  Donald with Nicki, Deb, and Erin.                        put us men to shame.

Of course the men do try, with varying success (I place myself chronically at the least successful end of the spectrum) and some look rather good.

But once the party gets in full swing, all such considerations are lost in the general air of merriment and celebration.

Nick, Gunner, Corey, & Sam by the tree.

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