Inside my empty bottle I was constructing a lighthouse while all the others were making ships. — Charles Simic
Dolphins. I love them as much as they love to drag race our bow. Here I am sitting by the pulpit, “I find it so odd the names they invent for boat stuff, do you know how many different words there are for rope?” and I have my legs over the side. I am hoping the dolphin will jump up and touch me. Every time he jumps I yell ‘Hi!’ I am like the birds from Where’s Nemo but instead of repeating Mine! Mine! Mine! my chant is Hi! Hi! Hi! Dolphins jump out from the water quite often.
………………………………………. The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge. Link up here!
This week’s photo challenge is quite that – challenging. In the Background: Take a picture of yourself or someone else as a shadow, a reflection, or a lesser part of a scene, making the background, or the foreground, the center of attention.
I was loaded with apprehension for this leg of the journey. Our books warn us of the two key areas famous for their crazy winds. One is just out of Turtle Bay to the north and the other is north of (Eeeek!) Cedros Island. (Remember my Perfect Storm story from when we sailed south here?)
Our wind and wave charts warned us of a blob north of Cedros. If we timed it right, we’d be crossing that area after it would be gone (where to? don’t know, but gone).
Cedros is a rather long island when you’re following it by sail at 5 knots. It took us over 3 hours to make our way from the south end to the north. The closer we made our way up there: the more my apprehension grew. The skies ahead looked nasty, and the waters were white capping. That meant winds picked up beyond 12 knots.
We’d heard of the washing machine effect but had no clue as to what it really felt like. Waves had no order, they came from all sides and our wind needle kept spinning around and around. But it was really fine until we crossed the line.
Waves head on at 6 feet. Winds over 25 knots. White caps everywhere. Have I mentioned my apprehension? “Let’s keep moving forward, maybe it’s better once we’re clear ahead of the island” he suggests. Ooooohkaaaayyyy. In the meantime I’m white knuckling it holding on the the handrails ready to run down for cover.
I know as long as I’m willing to sit up there ready to help out – my fear is under control. My fear is under control. (If I repeat it, it will come true) Ha. Now the motor is blasting full force and we’re barely moving. The mast is vibrating under the strong winds. But, my fear is still under control. “I think we’re just wasting fuel!” That may have been the triggering comment. He replied with a “Hang on, we’re turning around!” Hang on? I’m already in a white-knuckle-hold, how can I hold on more than that? So I wrap my legs around the handrail.
Turning a sailboat in 6′ waves head on means that at one point those nasty waves will hit you from the side. Not fun.
What took us 30 minutes against wind and waves, took us but 10 in the other direction. Whooo, what a ride! Luckily we’d marked our anchorage from the last time we took refuge at the exact same spot. Once we got there, it was like being in a different country, time zone, area code, zip code, and season. The water was flat calm, no wind, and dolphins were doing their world famous dolphin dives all around us. One could easily believe it would be safe to head back out… But we weren’t fooled.
I was down below, doing whatever when suddenly the seals started barking faster, louder and with more excitement. I climbed up to find Leo peeing over the side of the boat. “I wanted to see what the excitement was all about. They’re not barking, they’re laughing!” “Hey, that’s not nice!” “Don’t get mad at me, I’m not the one who’s laughing…”
We spent the night safely anchored. The next morning we tried it again. This time the sea looked calm, and the winds appeared fine. Problem was with the sky. It was dark and grey in the direction where we wanted to go. But we didn’t know that until we made our way up to the northern tip.
Yeah… That apprehension came rushing back. Of course I climbed down to get my camera “I should keep a record of this so we’ll know we knew we shouldn’t have tried this. Yet.”
He didn’t think my joke was funny. Instead he turned the boat around and returned to our safe anchorage. Until our 3rd attempt to put Cedros Island behind us we decided since my family may be worrying about us we may as well make the most of it: we went for a dive! It was a fun one too: yay!
After leaving Cedros, we anchored twice before getting to Ensenada. The first time was by Geronimo, an island that – trust me – looked like a perfect setting for a clam chowder commercial. Our second nightly stop was by St-Marten, another island. As we huddled and watched Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (awesome movie but read the book, trust me) the winds from hell suddenly broke out. Our GPS indicated a speed of 1.4 knots. Yet we were anchored. ANCHORED! My post is already teetering in the way-too-many-word-count to venture into explaining why that happened.
Sorry. I know you’re dying to find out why.
Conclusions of this entire post are:
Fearing I’d have numerous worried emails from my family asking why they hadn’t heard about me as I was 2 days late in reporting my arrival to find no frantic queries in my inbox. Where is the love? Muwah!
Arriving early enough in Ensenada hoping I’d get to San Diego in time to join the Derby Dolls in the SD Pride Parade only to learn our boat couldn’t be hauled out for painting before Monday, 4-day process, meaning I’d miss out on the much anticipated parade. (long enough sentence for ya?)
Do not travel by sea during your menstrual period. Period. You will be much less tolerant to every movement. And feel nasty as the result of these endless movements.
I have an undying love of dolphins.
I am way behind in my blog reading.
I am somehow uncertain in regards to proper spelling of directions, do they require capitals? Is it North, or north?
p.s. As we were crossing Mexico’s Bermuda Triangle I spotted this on the radar screen. Leo was taking a much needed and deserved nap. I was on watch. It was my responsibility to be responsible and do what needed to be done. Responsibly, of course. The more I stared at the screen, the more they closed in on us. Looking outside and knowing there was NO land within 50 miles or more, I worried. I ran back down to look and stare at the radar screen. Seeing the blobs increase in size, I worried more. Running back up to look out with the binoculars and thinking this is just the kind of setting where large devils approach their prey as we sit in the movie theater screaming out “Stupid bitch, don’t you know the devil is looming, go grab your cross and pray to the baby Jesus!” So I run back downstairs. Look at the screen and know with certainty I need to wake Leo up. His knuckles are tightly shut. His lips are fluttering. His eyeballs are moving all over the place under his lids. He barely slept at all in the last 24 hours. I shake him about 10 times. I’m about to slap him across the face when his eyes start to open. I scream at him about the blobs moving in. He stares at me. “What the hell are you talking about? I need to sleep!” I show him the radar screen. He falls back asleep. Like the mysterious Caramilk secret and how many licks to the middle of a Tootsie Pop, the world will never know what those blobs were. I am still alive. And nobody is concerned. Muwah. ツ
Actually it wasn’t red. It was blue. And since I’m confessing to lying (kind of)… Crossing the Red Sea? I don’t even know what that means! It was the Sea of Cortez.
Our trip took us from Mazatlan, Mexico to Baja California South, Mexico (contrary to popular belief in my family – Baja is NOT in California, no I don’t know why it’s called that, yes it’s confusing, yes it’s in Mexico, ok – I’ll tell them you said that). Unlike motoring, sailing often decides where you go specifically depending on how the wind blows. With winds coming from the South-West – the direction where we wanted to go – it looked like we may end up in La Paz or even further North from there. Although a detour in La Paz would be cool (my bike is locked up there, plus I’ve got mail waiting for me) it would be a 4-5 day detour. More or less.
At our time of departure, our GPS told us it was approximately 200 miles to our destination with an ETA of 26 hours. The GPS doesn’t adapt for speed modification and wind shifts. Stupid machine. Plus it doesn’t even know how to spell Mazatlan (Mazatlkan?) It was depressing when after ooh-ing and aah-ing before our first sunrise with close to 24 hours into the crossing to have the GPS tell us we had 36 hours to go!
Leo, Captain of the boat and of my heart (I’m so tacky I should work for Hallmark) appointed me in charge for the first day. It was my duty to maintain our speed and direction and react when the sails started to flutter in the wind. I immediately accepted the challenge and kindly reminded him that I was also the ship’s Director of Communication which also included being ships’s writer, photographer, blogger and head of all social media activities. I was after all already quit busy. First he snickered. Then he dozed off.
I took my new role very seriously. I positioned myself to maintain a good view of the ocean before me. Made sure I was comfortable enough to not get numb nor fall asleep. In case he asked, I took a picture of myself proudly taking on all extra responsibilities. This is serious proof that he can rely on me and depend on me when he needs to rest.
For many reasons, I feared this crossing. I was shaking all morning prior to leaving. But look at me now. Brave. Confident. In charge. Smiling away all my fears. Plus I was reading a really good book from an author I did not know (until I found the book – obviously), discovering new authors to love gives me the giddiest of sensations!
I saw the first sea turtle. As it bobbed along our boat I debated if this was newsworthy of waking the Captain from his deep lip fluttering sleep. My head went from the turtle to Leo back to the turtle as I pictured the discussion as to why I chose to wake him up. And then I kept my mouth shut.
Until I saw the DOLPHIIIIINS! Hundreds of them. They surrounded us. They jumped around us. They taunted us with their spots and their bottled noses. Apparently they love to swim with the bow of the boat. I sat in the pulpit and filmed them. I was so tempted to jump in… They swam along us for nearly an hour. As we both stood there clinging to the head sail, the waves were hitting us head on. The boat pointed upwards as it climbed over the 6′ wave then dove into the water. And the entire time, the dolphins stayed with us. It was so exhilarating.
And then we looked at our GPS confirming us we still had over 24 hours to go.
All in all it took us 38 hours to cross the sea. We witnessed 2 sunsets and 1 sunrise. We crossed hundreds of DOLPHINS, 4 sea turtles (one of them may have been ran over by our boat – no pictures due to laziness), and 1 shark (no pictures due to quickness of the entire event). Our crossing ended in San Jose del Cabo – a suburb of Cabo San Lucas yet 4 hours sailing time away from Cabo.
I woke up after a deep 4-hour sleep. Wanted to check on our anchor and go back to bed. But when I saw this – I couldn’t sleep anymore. I am looking forward to more of these perfect crossings.
When I grow up I will run away and join the circus…