Having a merry time in San Carlos. Not overthinking the “why”, just taking it all in and enjoying Christmas, even though we are apart from dear family and friends. For the first time since leaving San Diego, we are at a marina. A well maintained marina with lots of fat and happy kitty cats. This alone brings a huge smile to my face each and every day.
Besides fat and happy cats, the marina is brimming with friendly, chatty, and helpful neighbors. Pulling into the tight slip, new faces appeared and assisted with dock lines, connecting us to shore power, assisting when we couldn’t get power to the boat, bringing over spare cords to at least get us minimal power until the problem is fixed, offering rides into town, the list goes on and on. I have a grateful heart to go with the smile on my face.
We are using our time in San Carlos to tackle some basic boat repairs (autopilot and sail repairs) while we wait out the prevailing north winds and decide what next; sail Seamore Pacific to Puerto Penasco or “put her to bed” until next season. We very much want her at Puerto Penasco, but winter time weather is what makes or breaks the deal. Just like we can’t jump over the Grand Canyon, we can’t sail/motor north against 25 knot winds, 6 foot waves/swells every 5 seconds across the beam, and get anywhere. Heck, we would have a tough time pushing off the dock. Three days ago 3 boats left and they all came back because of the sea conditions. 2 of the 3 couldn’t make it back into their original slip because of the wind, instead settling for wherever they could safely tie up a boat, until the next morning (usually no wind in the morning). It was exciting.
Back to Christmas in San Carlos, I’ve observed the focus is not on gift giving. Rather it is on festivities and sharing a meal. Two days ago, I hitched a ride into town (Guaymas) with Magic Carpet. Donna, an olive grower from California, has owned Magic Carpet for over 30 years, and has been cruising the Sea of Cortez part-time for 5 years. She and her husband will be heading to the south Pacific this spring. She is a wealth of local knowledge. Hoping to find a few little Christmas decorations and gifts for Captain Chameleon, I was surprised to find, not a Christmas decoration, gift display, or “buy-buy-buy” advertisement going on in the stores. Sure, Christmas spirit was in the air, but the focus was on food. Large hams, tamales, olives, rum, wine, bread, cakes, candy, pasta, tortillas, fish, cheese, more tamales…. Finding a miniature Christmas tree, nativity scene, or wreath for Seamore Pacific was harder than jumping across the Grand Canyon. Laying aside my usual methodical holiday decorating, I have depended on others to bring holiday cheer to Seamore Pacific. I have not been disappointed. For starters, no one seems pressed to buy presents or squeeze in another party. It is relaxing but festive. Boats with Christmas lights adorn all sides of Seamore Pacific and they appear to take turns serenading us with Christmas and holiday music.
Christmas eve mass was both magical and heartfelt. It started with our short stroll from the marina to the church. Along the way, families were gathered, food was in abundance, perfume was fresh, and laughter and music was everywhere. Arriving at church, we were greeted by the voices of 3 young children, singing Feliz Navidad as they skipped circles around a lighted tree in the parking lot. Strangers and families squeezed together, sharing in the Eucharist; accompanied by acoustic guitar, familiar incense, and a grand nativity display.
Excuse me while I change into looser clothes….I’m still stuffed to the gills after Christmas day lunch at the San Carlos yacht club (like the pelicans feasting on bait fish). Open to nonmembers, cruisers and locals gather for a traditional Christmas feast, with proceeds going to fund education for local students who desire to go to high school and college but are unable to afford the cost. This year’s recipient, a bright and articulate young lady, attended with her mother and sister. A senor with top grades, she is university bound with a brigade of support from ‘strangers’.
We have been in town less than 5 days, and yet when we arrived at the club, we were greeted by new friends that had saved us places at the Santa table. The food was awesome, the stories entertaining, and the forging of new friends uplifting.
What did Captain Chameleon find on Christmas morning? A case of Modelo Cerveza and two chocolate donuts. Actually 1 and a half chocolate donuts. A Christmas mouse visited Seamore Pacific at midnight last night and couldn’t resist nibbling on a lovely, glistening, chocolate donut.
Feliz Navidad from the Captain, the Christmas Mouse, and Ruby