Passage Making Part 2

California Cruising Crew

September 5th – I must admit that passage making isn’t my favorite, but passages give me time to reflect and settle my mind and body because I don’t feel much like doing anything too involved. Even if I did, my body tells me to stop and focus on the task – seafaring. I guess it’s my body’s way of telling me to become one with the boat, her movement, her needs and quirks as we move through the water, whether calm or raucous. Never before have I experienced rhythm like you do on a boat. Rhythm in so many ways: rocking, routines, meals, chores, space, sleep, movement on deck, through the cabin or hanging on while on the potty, changing watches, writing in the log book, checking gauges, fuel tanks, battery levels, etc. I can feel the boat and I feel my body. All senses are heightened. I cannot really explain it properly in words. It’s just a different mode or pace that I shift into without intent, it just happens.
The monotony of passage making is arduous but there are rewards. It’s like the ocean or sea knows this, so it sends emissaries with gifts:

  1. The blue whales that swam next to us and surfaced 10 feet from our boat then swam right under the bow to join each other ahead of us was so incredible. I was in awe squealing with delight alongside my kids. We were under sail and plodding along when suddenly, there they were! It’s like they came over to say “hi” and check us out. These creatures are so big and graceful. We saw more of these whales but never as close again.
  2. The dolphins were another gift. I cannot recall which day or time we first saw them, but they came frequently. They would zoom in, race to the bow of the boat and leap playfully in and out of the wake of the bow. We could hear them chittering too. Sometimes there were so many it seemed like a soup of dolphins, other times, only a few came. One night, in the sparkling moonlight on the water we saw them coming, leaping through the glittering moonlit water. I tried to capture it on video or photo, but it wasn’t going to happen. This will just have to be a memory of perfection I hold in my mind.
  3. Another night, when the moon wasn’t up, I looked over the side of the boat to catch a glimpse of a strange, glowing object coming straight for our hull at high speed. First thing that came to mind was a missile. I listened and watched. Nothing impacted. Then the sound of leaping and chittering at the bow. More dolphins came and the same thing: they resembled glowing missiles coming across the water headed straight for us because they were covered in phosphorescence. I was simply happy to see dolphins, but glowing dolphins?!!
  4. The sea giveth. I awoke one morning to an excited crew busily pulling in a big fish and cleaning it. Seth had ordered a hand-line with a squid lure for our trip. He put it out trailing behind us and after a day or so, low and behold we caught a fish. I tasty one too! The cleaning of it made quite a mess but I was super stoked to eat fresh fish!

September 8th – Monterrey Bay came into view and we tied up just after sunset. The entrance was fine, but landing at an end-tie with a thigh-high barricade was awkward at best. Turns out this barrier is to keep sea lions from climbing onto the dock and lounging about. Huh, that was a new one to us. We quickly tied up and scurried up to shore, made our way to a Mexican restaurant and gorged ourselves.

The first time our feet were on solid ground for a week. My sea legs were fighting hard to stay intact. My land legs wanted to take over. I had the boat rocks pretty hard. Good thing we took off early the next morning, so my body wouldn’t get too used to land or marina flat water.

The fuel dock was busy with fishing boats fueling up right at the 8 a.m. open so we had to wait a bit, but we slipped in between some and got the stink eye from one waiting for us. I smiled and waved to them as we pulled away, but the 3 or 4 men onboard just stared and scowled at me without averting their eyes as I steered/captained the boat while Dave handled lines. Screw you too, you crusty old men who must not think a woman belongs at the helm! That or they were pissed they had to wait 5 extra minutes longer than usual for us (sailing vessel) to fuel. Oh well! Off we went, Seth waved good-bye and zoomed off north to San Francisco. Sad to see him go, but was so thankful for his support and help from Seattle to Monterrey. Loved having him onboard for our first family passage out on the big ocean.

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