Archive for the ‘Perfect Day’ Category

Spring Season

07/30/2012

It is July and much has transpired. It looks as tho my last entry featured Bandares Bay on the west side of the mainland of Mexico. We cruised over to the far south end of the Bay to stay the night in Yelappa (http://www.yelapa.info/). Such a unique place.  Very small fishing village that looks like a picture you’d see of Switzerland.  We were told by locals that we would be helping to support the small village if we paid to use their moorings instead of using our own anchor.  The bottom was close to 100′ deep very close to the beach.  Unfortunately the moorings were very close together and I spent the night “on watch” due to “fending off” with the boats around us.

Yellapa has an interesting history that is worth checking out. The morning we exited the Bay we got an early start so to get around the point at Cabo Correntes before the afternoon winds picked up and made cruising rough.  As we passed the point we spotted as many as nine different whales heading north.  The seas were a bit bouncy but with Michael at the wheel I was able to wrap my arm around a “stay” and hold the camera as steady as possible. One whale in particular took a large leap out of the water far enough away for me to get the shot of a lifetime.  It was one of the most spectacular events I had ever witnessed and I got a picture of it too.

Wind and seas were perfect for a while.  We actually did some sailing.  But as the afternoon wore on the seas picked up and it got a bit rough. Michael was at the wheel and instructed Mike, the First Mate to go forward and take down the sails.

As he turned into the wind, the direction of the seas were on our nose. The boat was heaving up and down in the tall seas with white water crashing across the bow.  He was working on a sheet that had gotten tangled due to the wind and was focused on freeing it up. Holding on with one arm wrapped around the mast while the other hand worked on the knot. I remember vividly the grin on Mikes face as he returned to the wheel house.  He enjoyed the excitement of the energy of the wind and the seas.

Michael was on the wheel way passed his shift.  Somedays we felt like steering longer than our set schedules.  That day was one of them for Michael.  I went below and took advantage of the free time to catch up on some sleep. Around midnight Mike woke me up and told me to go on deck for look out, we were pulling into an anchorage.  Mike had gone up forward with the new night vision scope scanning the area for boats, rocks and beach and was reporting back to Michael at the wheel.  It was pitch black dark. I kept trying to clear my eyes to see but wasn’t having much luck.  The air was cool and the smell of salt was heavy in the air.

As the boat moved forward I could hear a school of fish swimming to get out-of-the-way.  As they swam a large circle of phosphorus lit up their way giving me a little light to see around the boat.  We could hear the surf but it was difficult to determine just how close it was to the beach.  While Michael watched the depth finder he decided to drop the anchor in 30′ of water.  He gave Mike the “go ahead” to drop the anchor and let out the chain slowly as he backed the engine down in reverse.  A tug on the bow with a swing to right was indicative that the anchor had grabbed.

Michael shut off the engine and once again our ears rang with the sound of silence.  We sat on deck awhile to take in our bearings, making sure the anchor didn’t drag and that it was a safe place to stop for the night. Caelin our labrador got in her bed in the wheel house while we went down below and got in our bunks. Being exhausted, Michael went right to sleep.  As usual I lay there for some time listening and re-assuring myself that we were in a safe place to rest.  Caelin was our alarm should anyone or anything come close to the boat.  Unfortunately dolphins and birds were no exception.

When we awoke the next morning we grabbed a cup of coffee and out onto the deck to take in the unfamiliar surroundings.  We were amazed to see that we had crossed over a long span of nets entering the channel the previous night. Our boat doesn’t have a fin keel so luckily we didn’t disturb the nets….that we know of.

Chamela was were we had landed the night before.  It was another gorgeous beach.  The place where we anchored was in the top part of the picture (north end) on the other side of the last island.

Happy New Year

12/31/2011

May this new year be a start of putting away old fears and moving forward with new dreams. There is no time like the present.

Weekend Cruise

10/28/2009

breezin upThe time of year was Autumn, ironically, and this was going to be my first “long trip” cruise.  We were headed to a place that would take six hours by water. Didn’t need to bring much in the way of clothing; extra shirt, jeans, warm jacket and rain gear.  So it didn’t take me long to get ready.  As for Michael, the captain of the “Flying Dutchman”, 45′ Sailboat,  he had more to attend to than I was aware of, such as checking over the engine, batteries, filling the water tanks and I can’t leave out socializing with all the other neighborhood boaters. Upon my arrival I was handed a handful of cash and was asked to run to the store for food. He said pick up anything, I like about everything.  (His famous last words.)  When I returned with the groceries it became evident that he didn’t like most of everything I bought. He was a good sport about it and said hop on board and grab a line.   Then we were off.

It was a gorgeous day. You know how vivid blue the sky gets in the autumn and how the trees will turn bright yellow, orange, red and hot pink, right before they fall off the trees?  Well it was that kind of day.  We headed out into the Roanoke Island Sound.  It was wider than any river or lake I had ever seen and there was no one else in sight. Such a rare experience for a landlubber.  Not many places you can go where there isn’t someone else around.  I loved it!  As we headed around the port island and turned the nose to the north, the sails were pulled out and the southwest wind filled both sails.  Then it was time to turn off the engine.  The only sound now was the wind and boat moving thru the water and the occasional seagull or osprey. The boat was large enough that you could talk awhile, wander to another part of the boat and soak in all that the wind, water, and sky had to offer.  It was difficult to not take a nap.  Funny how nature alone can make you forget all the loud noise in your head. The time went by quickly.

As the sun was going down we were approaching the 65′ bridge that spanned the outer banks to the mainland.  Being that Michael had a wicked since of humor, while studying the chart,  he told me that the mast on the boat was too tall to go under the bridge and we were approaching the bridge at a good clip.  My stress-less day just came to an end and I began to get a mind picture of the mast hitting the bridge, the boat sinking and us swimming to shore.  As the mast approached the bridge it looked as tho the radio antenna, at least, was going to hit the bridge.  But we passed smoothly without a collision. I can still see  Michael now with that big “shit eating” grin.

On approach to the town of Edenton, the sun set and the sky was filled with streaks of colors of red,  yellows, orange and grays.  Once it got dark, it seemed to take us forever to get to where we were going.  Eventually the moon came up, the lights on shore came on, making it difficult to see the markers.  Navigation at night became a whole different  set of rules. Thankfully, Michael had done this before and navigated his way to the town docks. We had arrived.

After spending two nights at Michael’s sisters beautiful Victorian Home, and one day touring the quaint sound-side town, we were back on the boat early headed back to Roanoke Island.   While underway I went below and fixed myself a bowl of cerial, went back up on deck, sat down and ate.  I remember thinking ” I could do this everyday”.  The freedom that I felt went down to my core.  I could feel it in my veins. Sounds silly, but the feeling was Real. We took our time sailing back that day. On a scale of 1 to 10, the day was another 10.  The wind was on our side.

Michael took the opportunity to tell me a few things about sailing such as navigation, man overboard drills and weather.  At one point he was so into what he was doing that he turned the wheel hard to the right and until the boat was turning in a large circle, after all we were the only ones out there so it seemed.  It wasn’t too long until we heard, over the vhf radio, someone hailing the sailboat asking if we were alright.  We knew then that we weren’t alone. In a way it was good to know incase we ran into trouble.

Later that day we arrived back at our home port, Roanoke Island.  As we approached the dock, I grabbed a line and took a turn on a piling, then the next piling,  while Michael at the wheel turned off the engine and the electronics.  We stepped off of the boat and walked down the dock. It was then that I felt like I had left a part of myself behind on the boat. Once again, we had a perfect day.


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