Happy Tuesday! This blog is a bit different from the rest, and will contain quite a bit of personal information that lead to the choice of our new boat name, “Batland”. It’s incredibly important to me and is probably one of my favorite stories in the whole world, so, I hope you enjoy this next blurb about everything Batland.
I am the youngest of 3 kids, having two older brothers. Dakota is 7 years older than me, Dylan is 5. Before I was born, Dakota was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a brain tumor, and passed away a week before he turned 5 on April 23, 1996. If you’re doing the math, yes, that means I never met him. However, Dylan was 2 when Dakota died and was able to have some memories and home videos with Dakota. As I was growing up, I always knew about my oldest brother. I knew everything about him; like his favorite character being Batman and his absolute love for Ninja Turtles. I’d watched all of the home videos that mom and dad had taken of him and Dylan, I knew how his voice sounded, and at one point I even sounded just like him. I knew him, as much as I possibly could without ever actually knowing him.
One of the home videos that was watched over and over again was about a place called “Batland”. Dad and Dakota had just gotten home from treatment and he was playing in the field next to our house with Dylan. Dad got the video camera out and, like he always does, asks Kota to tell him a story. Dakota then starts talking about this place that’s past Grandma’s house and over the railroad tracks, past the river. There’s all kinds of things there like Lucky, their dog at the time, monkeys eating bananas, bats eating fruit, cowboy bats. All kinds of funny things that a 4 year old would come up with. He goes on to mention that he was there before he was born, when he was still in mom’s tummy. His imagination was incredible, and there is so much more to the video than this, but I don’t remember it word by word like I used to. But this video, it was what we watched when we missed him, when we wanted a dose of Dakota humor, really anytime. Mom used it for Parent Panels when she spoke to doctors and nurses that were working in palliative care or with bereavement services. I would travel with her and help any time that I could. I loved this video. It was something of my brother that I could remember and hold on to.
After Dakota died, mom and dad recreated Batland in one of the rooms at the children’s hospital. They painted big funny houses that had bats flying around and monkeys eating bananas. Dad cut all of the animals out of plywood and they painted them. Once it was taken down, mom and dad kept all of the animals and the mural. So, naturally, I had to have one of them. My favorite was always the cowboy bat and the monkey with the banana. I kept the cowboy bat in my room at my parents house, in my college dorm, in my apartment and house in college, even my studio apartment before I moved onto the boat just a few months ago. I got a cowboy bat tattoo on Dakota’s birthday a couple years back. Everything has evolved around this story, this bat, this name “Batland”.
When we knew we were going to be moving on the boat, we started throwing out new names. Steve wanted to change it from Pain Killer, which is what it was when he bought it. It used to be Nobody’s Girl, which we thought was cute and that was its old name before Pain Killer. We talked and talked and then one day Steve looks at me and says, “What if we name it Batland?” I tell you, I could’ve cried right then and there. He had heard me talk about Dakota and this Batland story a lot, and even though he hadn’t seen the video, he knew it was something important to me. I loved it, but I knew I wanted to get mom and dad’s blessing first. Of course, we were back at their house and starting to ask and tears filled up mom’s eyes, and maybe dad’s too. They loved it almost as much as we did.
We ordered the name, I designed a new logo for Batland, and we changed our name officially through the Coast Guard. The new logo is a dolphin with a cowboy hat, because we see dolphins all the time and I don’t think we will ever get tired of that site, and we kept the cowboy hat from the original cowboy bat design. It’s on the aft of the boat next to the name and we LOVE it.
Steve wanting to name our boat something that meant so much to me was one of the sweetest things he’s done throughout this adventure of a relationship. Being able to name our home Batland, knowing Dakota will be with us and keeping us in good spirits the whole time, is something I really don’t know how to describe. I’m just thankful for this life and this person and these adventures.
Now, let’s talk about the boat naming ceremony! We were told this summer by friends that it was a whole thing, that there was a list of things you had to do in order for Poseidon not to strike us or sink our ship. So, naturally, I nervously decided that we HAD to do the ceremony or else we weren’t going to make it anywhere safely. Believe it or not, there are a lot of superstitions like that when it comes to boating. I looked up what the rules were and cross referenced a lot of them to make sure we didn’t miss anything.
Here’s the link for the boat naming ceremony that I found the most helpful:
We had to have:
- Branch of green leaves
- Red wine
- Champagne (inside safety bag)
- A poem to recite
- Friends & family
The green leaves were placed on the bow during the ceremony and the maiden voyage. The branch of green leaves is meant to represent safe returns. We then began purging the old boat name, Pain Killer. You are supposed to white out anything that has the old name on it, completely remove it from the boat, and then write the name on a metal tag or coin to drop into the water after reciting this:
“Oh mighty and great ruler of the seas and oceans, to whom all ships and we who venture upon your vast domain are required to pay homage, I implore you in your graciousness to expunge for all time from your records and recollection the name (mention the old boat name), which has ceased to be an entity in your kingdom. As proof thereof, we submit this ingot bearing her name, to be corrupted through your powers and forever be purged from the sea. In grateful acknowledgement of your munificence and dispensation, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court.”
Then, you break the champagne on the bow and pour the remaining liquid from West to East in the water. We poured red wine into our glasses, because apparently that’s the drink of the gods for this ceremony, and then said this to write our new name into the “ledger of the deep”:
“Oh mighty and great ruler of the seas and oceans, to whom all ships and we who venture upon your vast domain are required to pay homage, I implore you in your graciousness to take unto your records and recollection this worthy vessel hereafter and for all time known as (your new boat name), guarding her with your mighty arm and trident and ensuring her of safe and rapid passage throughout her journeys within your realm.
In appreciation of your munificence, dispensation, and in honor of your greatness, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court.”
We then had to pour wine to the North, West, East, and South winds while addressing the gods of the winds. This is supposed to appease them in hopes that they will allow us to use their wind to travel safely.
We celebrated, cheersed with our friends who came to watch, and then set out on our maiden voyage. We didn’t go far because we 1. Didn’t have to and 2. Had no sails on the boat yet. But, we renamed our boat, we had the best ceremony, and got to celebrate and drink wine and champagne with friends!
A lot of people have asked about why “Batland”, well, now you know, and now you know the crazy ceremony we did to stay afloat! We are so excited, and now we even have both sails up and we’re headed to Urbanna as I type this for the oyster festival this weekend! We are going to see friends, family, and eat lots of delicious food. We’re truly excited to be sailing again, after all it has been a few months since our boat was able to, and we can’t wait to see what this next adventure has in store for us. Happy Tuesday, and happy reading!