Sunday, August 9, 2015

Shakedowns, Breakdowns, and Victories by The Hesitant Half

Let me just start off by saying HOLY CRAP!!!  I can't believe we made it!  Yes, we are only in San Diego.  But still!  I totally feel like that counts as cruising.  We had several multi-day trips, sailed through outstretched arms of a hurricane, experienced several pitch black nights where we were unsure of where the sky ended and the ocean began, anchored out, slipped at anchor, moored, stayed in slips, refueled at a sketchy fuel dock, dealt with minor problems when they arose, filled up water tanks, explored new cities, walked for miles in search of beer and groceries, enjoyed assorted Happy Hours, snorkeled, surfed, hiked, kayaked, practiced our diving and water aerobic skills off the side of the boat, got pulled over by Harbor Patrol, met new people that we actually had things in common with, dealt with ding-dongs...This all sounds like cruising to me!!!!!  SeaGlub, Chris, and I made it over 500 miles!  If that ain't cruisin' y'all should just stop following our blog and move on to one that is more adventurous.

For the rest of you...I shall continue...

I'm not going to lie, there were lots of tears.  I can't say that this is much of surprise.  Most people that know me have seen the affects of hormones take over and water flowing out of my eye sockets with ease.  What can I say?  I've been known to be emotional from time to time.  Like everyone, things make me cry.  Whether it is for reasons of joy, sorrow, or fear, I wear my emotions on my sleeve and am proud of this character trait.  Insert extreme exhaustion and I am bound to be a complete mess.

Nighttime sailing was also a huge test for me.  This has been my biggest fear throughout the preparation for our journey south.  It's Dark! (Insert Hesitant Half)  What if we run into something!?!  Then again, what is there to run into?!?  As it turns out, night sailing wasn't all that bad.  Yes, it is dark.  VERY DARK!!!  But, with our trusty radar turned on, there isn't really anything out there to run into in the first place.  The first 3 nights that we sailed were completely black.  It just so happened that we left during the new moon phase and were dearly missing the blue light of the moon.  The low cloud blocked the stars and we were so far out that lights from ANYTHING wasn't an option.  I've always heard people say that the water has almost an oil like quality, well this is the best way I can describe it as well.  Aside from sailing through oil slicks near Santa Barbara (which was extremely unfortunate and depressing to see), the ocean has a visual quality like it is thicker then anything I can imagine.  If we had any wind during this particular leg of our trip it would not have had this appearance.  Surprisingly enough, I was glad to see it and experience this phenomenon non-the-less.

Tears of joy streamed down my dirty face when we reached Santa Barbara and slipped easily into our guest dock accommodations at dusk.  I had been on my boat for 5 straight days, drug around at anchor, got seasick for 2 days, dealt with dehydration, was sure I wasn't going to make it, and had just an overall feeling of not accomplishing anything.  Truth be told, we were probably never in any real harm...but I was sure that something was bound to go wrong at any moment.

We had a night in the Channel Islands when the Park Rangers came out on boat and warned us about hurricane conditions and the we "should" be fine at our current anchorage in Smuggler's Cove.  It turns out that we were, but that understanding came after a restless and loud night spent watching our anchor and that of those around us, making sure all parties involved were safe and secure.  I sat in the cockpit full of fear and doubt and crying seemed like the natural thing to do.  It wasn't going to help anything, but I just couldn't help it.  I was scared!!!  The wind was blowing us in the opposite direction of where it normally came from and if our anchor broke free we would be heading straight for shore.  The 8-10 foot swell in the water was making life uncomfortable and making me concerned that a big roller would just pull us and our anchor right out of it's holding.  Thank goodness for the reassuring embrace of my Captain!  We laid together in the cockpit, discussed an exit plan if we had to get out in a hurry, and stirred with the sun to see that everything was as it should be.

Again I cried when we hooked up to a mooring ball at Two Harbors, Catalina.  We had chosen...I'll say it again...we had chosen to sail at night and make the trek to Catalina from the Channel Islands.  Who does that on purpose!?! (Insert Hesitant Half) I'm sure a lot of people do, but it felt like a bold decision at the time.  We checked our charts, listened to the weather, calculated our mileage and I was part of the decision to travel at night.  I felt like yelling, "Look at me with my big girl pants on!"  Let's sail through the night so we have plenty of daylight the next day to get to our destination.  And again, we survived the night.

Several more times tears were shed throughout our trip for personal reasons, instead of my normal watershed caused my my hesitations.  First off, let me just say that I love my husband very much!!!  I don't know what I would do without him in my life!  But let me tell you, being around your spouse 24-7 is a feat all in itself!  You can hear each other breath, eat, think, you name it!  It is a test for sure.  Couples are put in strenuous situations and have to take on new experiences together.  Opinions about what to do and not to do are shared and not always agreed.  When we were landlubbers I would go on a walk to clear my head.  Now, we had no escape from each other and we are having to learn to be with one another all over again.  It almost felt like when we were first dating or just started living together, on eggshells trying not to upset each other.  But it's like they say, love conquers all, and it's doing what it does and helping get us through this adventure of uncertainties.

I'll tell you what, those times when it's your watch, unless you have a book to read or something specific to do, your mind just wanders.  I had day dreams of grandeur and nightmares of what could go wrong.  One night my brain wandered off to my recently passed Auntie Jan.  I wondered if she was watching me, sending dolphins to help me remember how remarkable the world and this adventure is, helping to keep my engine running smoothly, keeping me safe.  I was sad that I couldn't be in San Diego soon enough to show my boat to her.  I questioned life and why things happen the way they do and why certain people couldn't be tortured with such horrible pain instead of the good ones.  Chris woke up and found me crying at the helm and told me I was lucky to have such an angel watching over me.

Lastly, I cried when we sailed down the channel into San Diego Harbor and arrived at our new slip at SunRoad Marina.  Jimmy Buffett's 'Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes' was blasting from a cheerful group around the pool as we pulled into our slip with ease and adjusted our lines.  That is a very wise man and we couldn't have had a more perfect song playing upon our arrival!  
I knew that no matter what happened I had made it!!!  I had cruised!  
I made it home!

San Diego Happy Dance Video
...must watch :)

La Jolla in the background

We've arrived!!  San Diego at last

And no less than a few hours we had our first visitor, cousin Kippy!