Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

I Heart My Boat, I H8 The Beach

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Yes, it was a rough passage to Hilo, and yes, we were sea sick. But compared to the other boats that came in about the same time, I think we actually had it pretty easy! The autopilot on Shamaness had trouble handling the large seas, and the guys on Jolly Roger didn’t have any kind of self-steering, so they were hand-steering the whole way (God forbid!). Our trusty Cape Horn windvane (whom we call Yves) had a couple of hiccups on one tack, but on the whole did an amazing job of keeping us on track. All we had to do was pop our heads up every now and then to check the horizon for other vessels.

And we had maybe a small bruise or two, but we hardly noticed them. Other folks had horrendous “boat bites”- huge bruises and various wounds from being slammed around in their boats.

We had swells coming from two directions, but every now and then they’d unite into a big wave. We’d look behind and see a 12-foot wave towering above us. But Sugata just rose on up, no big deal, and we’d surf along for a moment before settling back into the sailing groove.

We always felt safe, and never doubted that our boat could handle the wind and seas. She may not be the fastest boat around, but she’s got to be one of the most comfortable! (more…)

And the Award Goes To…

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Thinking back over our two seasons in Mexico, it’s difficult to decide on a favorite marine mammal. Breaking down the category into dolphins and whales doesn’t help either. Bottlenose dolphins come closer when we’re at anchor, but common dolphins stay longer on our bow. And while we were blown away by being so close to the gray whales in San Ignacio lagoon, in terms of encounters on Sugata, we’re quite taken by the humpbacks.

In the bird category, though, there is really no contest. Sure, the frigate birds are spectacular arialists, but they are such shameless thieves! The boobies have much to recommend them: they’re cute, they dive like arrows, and hey, they’re called boobies! But alas, none can compare to the ubiquitous, splendiforous… pelicans!

Whether in the shallow coves or the open sea, we see these hard-working birds fishing from sun-up until after sunset. They often hunt together, with several circling, angling, and then diving straight at the water with a resounding crash, only to bob back to the surface almost instantly. They’ll sit a moment, letting the water drain from their pouches, and then, after a little shake of the tail, they’re off again for another go.

In some bays, like The Hook at Isla San Francisco, there might be hundreds of pelicans fishing and resting. We like to sit in the cockpit at sunset and watch them circle and dive; it’s better than watching Nova on PBS!

Sometimes, a bird will fly overhead, and without seeing it, I’ll know it is a pelican because of the slight whistling sound of its wings. And maybe it is that recognition, that familiarity, that pleases me most.

Weather by Toro

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Last season, Capn Cumulus decided that he needed to learn more about weather, so he special-ordered a book called Weather Predicting Simplified and had it delivered to us down here in Mexico. He tried to read it several times, always with the same result: he’d come to about an hour later, drool running down his chin, and none the wiser in the meteorology department.

Then, when we put the boat up in San Carlos, Toro insisted that we bring the book back to California, so he could read it under less soporific conditions. Somehow, those conditions never materialized, and the book served as a dust collection device.

So, I was taken aback when, soon after we arrived for our second season in Mexico, he asked me where the book was. I explained that since he hadn’t managed to read it in either country, I just left it at home. “This time,” he insisted, “I would have stayed awake.” It became a kind of running joke with us; I’d see some clouds and say, “Gee, I wonder what those clouds mean. If only we had a book about weather…”. (more…)

Crew Wanted?

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

When you tell them, “We’re going to be on a boat in Mexico for six months,” people’s reactions vary widely. But typically, they fall into one of the following categories:

  • People who think you are insane. They stammer, avoid eye contact, and look for a quick exit from the conversation. (Todd says this happened to him before we went sailing, but I think that was related to his ‘one day on, two days off’ showering schedule.)
  • People who admire you for “following your bliss”, but who know that such a choice is not for them. These people are polite and encouraging, and we thank the gods for them, because someone has got to keep the home fires burning!
  • People who harbor thoughts of a making a similar getaway. They get a faraway look in the eye, seem quiet for a moment, and then start asking you detailed questions about how to rent out your house.
  • People who, despite their total lack of sailing skills, have a wild flash of inspiration that they should join you!

We got an interesting ‘application’ from someone in the latter category that I figured we should post as an example for those looking for crew positions. (more…)