May 18, 2009
Chesapeake Bay, near Smith Point

As PRIDE II leaves Baltimore and heads outside the bay for the first time this season I am filled with many conflicting emotions.  How does the old saying go: “If you love something let go and see if it returns.”  I have never been sure what that means but it does inspire some thoughts about our departure. Baltimore is a great town and it treats us well but unfortunately it is time to go.  Everywhere we go in Maryland we receive the warmest of welcomes and support for the vessel which makes it so hard to leave.  The summer months in the Chesapeake are filled with people and events that I will be sad to miss over the next four months.  However as we pass some of our friends still tied to Pier Five or at anchor on the Severn River that will spend more time here in the Chesapeake, the may we call home, I’m not jealous.  I am filled with excitement thinking about all the ports we will be headed to this season.  Soon we will be joining a spectacular fleet of vessels filled with some amazing sailors all with stories of there own.  And any day now we will surrounded by an admiring public filled with questions and deep respect for the boat and the crew that delivers her around the world.  I can’t wait.  Right now we have up the four lowers and the tops’l, we are running down wind with a comfortable breeze and the sky is clear.  Even the weather seems to be hastening our departure as we speed down the bay at 8 knots. These conflicting emotions are hard to express.  I have been out of Baltimore for barely 12 hours and I am as sad as a man can be thinking about all I have left behind.   However, at the same time I can hardly contain my excitement as we get ready to exit the Chesapeake and start another PRIDE II season abroad.  Will I miss Maryland, Baltimore and the Chesapeake with its comfortable surrounding and all my friends?  Yes.  Am I a bit worried about what is in store for the boat and the crew outside the safety of the bay? Yes.  Am I thrilled to be underway and ready for another season of glory aboard the best looking boat in the fleet?  Yes!  Is it this set of conflicting motivations and emotions that make this job so much fun? Absolutely.

~ Michael J. Fiorentino, Chief Mate