Bitter Sweet

A week has passed, almost two…but I thought I’d better update my blog.  Our family pet Wally passed away Sunday two weeks ago.  It was a very sad time for us.  We had the boat ready for a sea trial so we took the opportunity to motor out into the bay and bury Wally in close to 100′ of water.  The ride out was exciting.  The boat handled like a dream.  The day was clear and warm with virtually no wind and the water was crystal clear. Dolphins decided to escort us as we crossed the downtown area of La Paz.  They stayed directly under our bow wake and when I talked to them, they would surface and blow water at me.  It made me smile.

We left the dock around 3:30 pm and arrived at a deep place in the bay close to sunset.  As we looked around for a spot to say goodbye to our friend, we passed a seal playing around in the water.  I poured two shot glasses of Coconut Rum and one of Grape Juice as the three of us offered a toast to Wally.  He was wrapped in red canvas from the boat, weighed down with some heavy weight and slid into the bay.  We watched as his body sink below the depths out of sight. Not one of us could speak a word.

Michael slowly walked back to the wheelhouse, put the engine in gear and headed out to a nearby island where we would anchor for the night.  We pulled into a cove and dropped the anhcor in about 20′ of water.  We had a light dinner of salsas, bean drip and tortilla chips.  As the light faded away the wind began to blow and blow it did hard until 2:30 AM.  Michael set the alarm on the GPS, as we all took sights on land to get an idea where we were so if we dragged anchor we would know.  By the time we finished dinner the wind had picked up considerably and we were concerned that we had dragged, so the three of us went on topsides, Mike at the wheel, Michael on the anchor as I am handed a flashlight and the VHF Radio to give Mike orders as Michael attempts to reset the anchor.  The wind just howled in our ears.  Michael had to yell for me to hear him giving me directions as to where to shine the light all at the same time giving me directions to relay to Mike.  With all of the mix of emotions running around in my head, I notice I’m pointing the handheld radio at the anchor while talking in the flashlight. Not helpfull!

Michaels content at last that we are staying in the same spot and goes below to bed.  While Mike makes a place on the deck to sleep.  He wanted to keep one eye open in case we start to drag.  I bring him a pillow and warm blanket while our other dog snuggles up to him to keep warm.  Me…I felt I would be most useful if I just stayed up all night.  The sun warms up the land during the day and when the sunsets the cooler air covers the land as the warmer air rushes upward.  It felt like the wind blew over 30 knotts that night.

By 4:30AM, I went to sleep.  Guys got up by 7Am.  I joined them, fixed a big breakfast then we lowered the little boat over the side while Mike and Caelin, our black lab, took a ride to the beach for her morning walk.  Then we splashed my kayak over the side and off I went for a morning paddle.  It was absolutely beautiful.  The farther out I paddled the clearer the water got and I could see all kinds of large fish under me.  It made me feel like I was up high looking down, as my heart sank.  A sea plane passed overhead and then circled around the island as well as an ultralight float plane.

As I paddled around the rocky cliff, white sandy beaches came into view. Wow what a day.  When I returned to the boat I noticed the tide was going out, we were in 7′ of water.  Our draft is 6′.  Michael seemed content to stay there but on went the motor, then up he pulled the anchor and out to the bay once again.  We headed back across La Paz and over to the marina where we have been staying.  It took 1 to 2 hours to get back.

Once we were back in our slip at the marina we felt exhausted, mostly from the sadness in our hearts from losing our friend.  It was a bitter sweet time.

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6 Responses to “Bitter Sweet”

  1. Lynn Says:

    Wenchandle, this is an incredibly moving post! Rip told me about it and I just had to come read for myself. The way it was written made me feel as though I was there and my heart just aches for all of you. ((hugs)) Wally’s send-off was so beautiful and sincere. Something tells me that he knew how much he was loved.. also I’m so glad you posted a picture of him. He had such a kind face.

    Who’s idea was the Coconut Rum?

    • wenchhandle Says:

      Hi Lynn, Thank you for your response. You are so thought-full. Your words warm my heart. We only hope he knows how much we love him. He thought he was human.
      The coconut rum toast is a family tradition we do as often as possible for special occasions. We keep it in the freezer. Take good care. XXOO

  2. quietpaths Says:

    The soft, emotional scenario opposite the crazy night wind; I bet you were exhausted. I’m so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful burial. We’ve been wondering when you are going to head for the Canal? You all stay well. It’s been great to follow your adventure like this.

    • wenchhandle Says:

      Hello QP, Yes, it was a bit exhausting. This experience is exhausting some days. We are soon to leave just have a few last things to do before we depart. We are getting
      “antsy in the pantsy” so to speak with the rainy season coming into play. Should be getting warm up your way soon? Enjoy your beautiful spring. Great to see you as always. 🙂
      Take care.

  3. Terry Treibel and Brian Lasley Says:

    I was really touched as I read your well written tribute of your friend, Wally. Guess it was a while back; however, I’m sure you still miss him. What a sweet looking spirit he has. I do not have time to read much at this time. Bitter Sweet caught my eye as that is what life seems to present to us quite often in the same moment. I have enjoyed meeting you and our short visits, and possibly our paths will cross again. Terry Treibel on Off-Tempo.com . Hopefully it will be up by the time we leave here. To a joyous and peaceful path.

    • wenchhandle Says:

      Hi Terry, Thanks for your sweet and kind response. Yes, Wally was a very special animal. He was loved very much. I enjoyed visiting with you also and hope that our paths cross again. I wish you fair winds and smooth seas as you take your journey south. Big hug! Shannon

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