Jun 27, 2012

How Only Eight Miles Can Make You Think Twice…

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
Oscar Wilde 

Bouldering with Nikki - she's quite the climbing puppy
From Mazatlán to Isla Espiritu Santo’s Playa La Bonanza, approximately 275 nautical miles (nm) away, we had a marvelous sail, clocking 117 nm on day one and 113 nm on day two. Now 100 nm/day may not sound like much but for a small older model boat like ours, that many miles per day is a lofty goal and had only been reached once before. Therefore, to have two days in a row at such velocity meant EVERYTHING had to fall exactly into place: winds, currents, waves, us being on our toes, Nikki barking just right, and nothing breaking down.

On day 3 we were well on track to average the same speed when only 8 miles from our target anchorage, all winds died. We tried everything: our new spinnaker, whisker pole on the jib, prayers, dances, promises to Deity of choice, pretending NOT to notice or whine but nothing worked; nada! Only 8 miles from target! We could actually SEE where we had hoped to spend a nice night catching up on sleep from our passage.

Instead, we watched a truly colorful desert sunset from the cockpit, read another chapter or two of our current book, had a little wine with dinner (which we usually don’t drink while on passages), checked our position and environment and headed to sleep for a little while since everything seemed safe and under control (what control says I when there is no wind!!!)…. Thankfully the current and waves were helping our sailboat gently and slowly float away from land otherwise more attention would have to be given to our course…

That morning, around 4:00 am, we had what seemed like enough wind to get us to the anchorage only for most of it to be wasted on a detour to avoid a large ship who was heading straight for us. Thankfully we had plenty of wind to change course and avoid it, unfortunately once passed that danger zone, the winds died and as I typed this, we are exactly where we were 16 hours ago.

On one hand, we can’t complain for we had two great days prior to this delay but it takes a lot of what? A lot of optimism? A lot of trust? A lot of courage? A lot of craziness? To take this in stride? This is where most would have turned on the motor and coast the last miles to anchor. This is where we ask ourselves were we nuts to start sailing without a motor?

The answer to the above question changes constantly. One minute we are awed by the million dollar sceneries forced stoppages offer us and therefore being thankful, another minute we are ready to call it quits only to switch again as we know we wouldn’t feel as accomplished had we had a motor to switch on and power us through.

Even Nikki seems to pick up on our slightly disappointed mood and is sulking a bit. She is not quite her normal bouncy and happy self yet I know she’ll rebound as soon as we do.

We just had coffee and breakfast and Mike is below trying to catch up on sleep while I watch a nearly mirror like mercury sea reflecting the fading orange hues of the end of a sunrise. I feel very safe in my little floating house and I am at peace with not being there yet until it happens again that we are so close, yet oh so far away from reaching the next anchorage and I start questioning if we are sane, especially when that little 8 miles became 37 extra hours of sailing! But, in the scheme of a year or two or many more of traveling, that is minuscule.

So we ended up not going to Playa La Bonanza as the winds just were not friendly enough to get us there. We are on the other side of the island, in Ensenada Grande instead and luck would have it that there are two other sailboats here and we know both of them. Other bays ended up with 15-35 knot winds in the last two nights, we were becalmed so who’s to say it wasn’t better that the winds allowed us to come here instead of there after all…

Lacy rock outcrops over turquoise water
Another lesson on living in the moment which we seem to think we have under control until you are presented with something like this. Being so close to target makes the expectations of being there soon exponentially more difficult to ignore. But, it’s not fair; we should just be able to get there now, etc. What did we do to deserve this? Interesting how when you are far away, your expectations are much more lenient. For type “A” people like us, it is a constant lesson we learn during this trip: Zen-like living. What at times makes it more bearable is to stay busy when we are becalmed: bake bread or cookies, fix things, come up with new and better ways to do other things, read, write, etc.

Cave near base of lacy outcrop
When we get ‘going’ again after the calm, 2.6 knots of sailing takes on a whole new meaning; instead of thinking how slow that is, we think how great that we are finally moving.

Clever Boat Name: Permanently Temporary

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