We did!

DSC00185We did it.  San Diego to Cabo San Lucas.  Fingers, toes, and after one day a shore, I can say that smiles are intact.  Buried below the anticipation and excitement of sailing to Mexico was a little voice that said making it to the cape would probably be the scariest.  Not sure what to expect other than challenges and memories, it was both, multiplied by a thousand fathoms.  To summarize the trip…sailing to Hawaii has lost it’s appeal.  In the last 10 days, I came to the conclusion that I’m a coastal-girl.  A speck of land or the silhouette of another sailboat on the horizon became my daily obsession.  Remembering aspects of our travels up the Intracoastal Waterway, 13 years ago, on our Thompson Trawler  was my way of dealing with the situation.  “Oh yeah, you big dark ocean, take that coastal memory.”   It was a tough 10 days.  But I can say that I’ve grown from it and have a library of fond memories that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

We left Turtle Bay for Bahia Santa Maria last Saturday.  The skies were clear blue but we were keeping watch on a tropical depression 300 miles south.  I had every reason to be feeling on top of the world but I was antsy because there would be no internet or means of talking with my family until Cabo.

Our primary auto-pilot was toast after Capt. Chameleon deliberately broke the belt to free up our locked steering, and we chose not to fool around trying to get the back up auto-pilot going.  Without a West Marine and Boat US Towing service to fall back on, why test fate and have our steering lock up 50 miles off-shore.  So, we hand steered.  I have the cut biceps to prove it!  And the dark circles under the eyes.  It was a full time job for the two of us to keep Seamore Pacific on the right heading in a strong downwind. With a novice sailor and an experienced sailor, we teamed up by relieving each other for catnaps.  With 6 hours of sleep in over 48 hours, I was SO glad to pull into Bahia Santa Maria, no internet or not, and drop anchor.  After breakfast and a Bloody Mary, Captain Chameleon and I fell into a coma.

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The power sleep was enough to get us back in the groove for a Baja Ha Ha party on a hill that overlooked the bay.   Hosted by the nearest villagers, they drove 30 miles on the beach at low tide to bring fish, music, and chairs.  Yes, that is correct.  To get to the island by pick-up truck, the locals wait for the tide to go out and then use the beach as a highway.  The ladies prepared us a delicious meal of seafood stew, grilled fish, rice, and salad.  And the gentleman served up drinks and classic Rock and Roll to dance to. The Ha Ha fleet was in need of a good time.  Dancing to Creedance Clearwater Revival’s, Have You Ever Seen the Rain  and looking out over the bay with a hundred anchored sailboats was the right remedy to overcome the last couple of days and get me ready for the final leg of the Baja Ha Ha XX to Cabo San Lucas.

Have You Ever Seen the Rain?

What does a barn, a horse, and a sailboat to Cabo have in common?  Pulling up anchor at Bahia Santa Maria, the urge to get to the finish took hold and I was ready to sail in 20 knot winds if it would get me there faster.  Seamore Pacific was like a horse running full speed to the barn.  Except there was no wind.  Of coarse not.  Baja Ha-Ha lesson number two…never count on the wind to be your friend.  The wind is going to do what the wind is going to do.  It’s up to us to adjust our sails accordingly.  With a yearning for internet, restful nights in a bed, and the smell of land, we journeyed south with two sails and a diesel.  Thank goodness for Captain Chameleon’s experience, because we had ample fuel stored in geri-jugs, on the portside deck.  We heard on the VHF where one fellow traveler ran out of fuel and other boats circled around and handed fuel off to them.  Baja Ha-Ha lesson number three….the cruising community is filled with kind and generous individuals.

Tomorrow the Baja Ha-Ha XX comes to a close with an awards party.   I won’t be packing home any medals for stellar sailing but I will be going forth with new friends, Ha Ha lessons, and self discoveries.  Yes, I’ve seen ‘the rain coming down on a sunny day’ and it’s a beautiful thing.

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Enjoying the closeness of the other boats before spreading out.

Enjoying the closeness of the other boats before spreading out.

Happy Ha-Ha lloween

DSC00024Twelve hours until push off time with the rest of the Baja Ha Ha gang.  It feels a bit like the night before running a hundred mile race, a bit like graduation, and a bit like a party.  Today’s crew and skippers’ party brought this year’s preparation to a close and put things back into perspective for Captain Chameleon.  Months ago when I thought about how this day might be, the focus was on the future.  What will we see, who will we meet, how will the weather be, and so on and so forth.  I did not expect to be saying “so long until we meet again” to so many wonderful people that we have connected with quickly.  From our dock neighbors, to the couple we met in the boatyard,and to people from across the dock, we are exchanging hugs, a beer or two, and many well wishes for peaceful travels.  Seamore Pacific and her crew are ready.

The weather forecast is for rain and wind on the nose throughout Monday.  Rumor is that Tuesday and Wednesday will be picture perfect days of sunshine and fair winds.  First stop is Turtle Bay.

Unsure about when we will have internet access again, so here’s a Happy Halloween, followed by wishes for peace and good times to you and yours.

S/V Seamore Pacific

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Smiled with the risin’ sun…

097_crop…from Three Little Birds by Bob Marley.

My runs these days are short on distance but long on scenery.  The usual is a comfortable pace from Bali Hai to Kona Kai, then a walk through the city dock marina (Police Docks) where boats are either clearing customs or hanging for a night or two, then over to the docked super yachts to view each’s name and hailing port, and finally a sprint home; passing a string of sprawling marinas.  It’s twenty-five minutes of nosing around the perimeter of Shelter Island that affords both a cardio-workout and a feeling of being part of the community.   Like the first crisp morning that signals Halloween is just around the corner, boats from as far north as Canada were arriving in San Diego Harbor this morning with their Ha-Ha flags flying! For a novice, it was exciting and spectacular.  I couldn’t wait to get home and tell Captain Chameleon. Super charged with ten days left to go or wanting to please me, by the time I’d finished my shower, Captain Chameleon had hoisted up our very own Ha-Ha issued flag.  Texas, here I come.

094Not everybody aboard Seamore Pacific is eager to be on a boat. Francis, our seven month old cat has taken to jumping ship.  He especially likes to get off the boat at night time making it very difficult to see him. Worried for his safety at sea, we have decided he will winter in Missouri with Maw and Pa.  It has been another lesson, as I have come to recognize that Francis is his own little being and not like the two content cats that I once had living on a boat in the Florida Keys.  I’m happy that Francis is making his wants known and that my parents are gracious enough to meet me in Texas for the quick exchange.  I’m really, really happy that it will give us a chance to hang out together for an evening.  Like Bob sings, “Don’t worry ’bout a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”

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If it wasn’t today’s morning run, or my upcoming Texas road trip, it has to be our Shelter Island Boatyard experience that also has me smiling.  The crew at Shelter Island Boatyard exceeded our expectations.  Last year when we were looking to purchase the boat, we used them to haul her for the out of water survey.  Pleased with their professional service we became repeat customers. Staying on a boat while it is in the yard is not everyone’s cup of tea.  But, we started each day working with cheerful, courteous, and professional yard employees and ended the day by ‘talking shop’ with another couple staying aboard their boat. If it wasn’t for having to climb down a ladder and walk a half a block to the ladies room in the wee hours of the night, I just might opt to stay there instead of doing the Baja Ha-Ha.  Ha ha.

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Launch Time for Seamore Pacific.

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Painting the bottom of Seamore Pacific’s keel

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Preparing her for the sling.

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Reggie driving the lift.  Wish this was a better picture of Reggie…

Before and after

Before and after

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Saved from Seamore- our 44ft Thompson Trawler we lived aboard in Boot Key Harbor (Florida Keys).

Who Brought This Mystery?

028Seamore Pacific is back in San Diego awaiting her next assignment, a haul-out at Shelter Island Boatyard.  She needs new bottom paint, a new depth sounder, welding on the anchor chain plate, and a buff and wax.  In three weeks she will take us south to Cabo San Lucas and be one of 162 sailboats entered in the Baja Ha Ha XX.  Now at the three week countdown, it is all but consuming as we focus on what still needs to get done before leaving for Mexico.  Stop.  Not so fast.  It is the journey, not just the destination, right?  It is interesting and a bit mysterious that last week’s shakedown cruise to Catalina Island would become more than a pre Ha Ha event of checking out Seamore Pacific’s systems.  Instead, it became a time of contemplating life, death, what happens in between, and Charley (RIP).

029The last time I had lunch with Charley, he talked about his cruise to Ensenada and Catalina Island. Characteristic of his usual colorful story telling, he shared what he liked and didn’t like about Catalina and how he had won the dance contest on the cruise ship. By the end of lunch, my mascara was running and my side ached from laughing with Charley. We said goodbye, hugged, and promised to meet up in San Diego and have cocktails aboard Seamore Pacific.  We had many more stories and good times to share; all left unfinished when he suddenly and unexpectedly died.  Going to Catalina was bound to remind me of Charley.  Arriving to find a Carnival Cruise Ship waiting in port…well that caused a ‘shout out and thumbs-up’ to my ole friend Charley.

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And so it was, for the next few days as Captain Chameleon and I wondered about the island,  I would be reminded of what Charley liked and didn’t like about Catalina; and filled in the rest with what I believed, knowing him, he would have liked or not. What could have been a state of sadness, was instead filled with joy, love, and gratitude.  Charley traits.

Accompanied by Charley’s memory, the Catalina trip was apparently earmarked for contemplating death as one reminder after another took to the stage. With each stark reminder an instant pang, then fleeting sadness would give way to wondering what traits and legacies did the dead leave to comfort their family and friends.  038For one dead individual, the sun faded memorial perched high on a hill, overlooking the azure waters, was testimony of an untimely death of a “fun guy” who loved, and was loved in return.  The second reminder of death came via a Coast Guard alert over the VHF, the morning we departed Catalina. It was an alert to all mariners for a missing male diver off Santa Barbara Island. Several hours later, the radio traffic indicated his body had been located, recovered, and displaying valor, was being accompanied back to shore by fellow divers. Midday an alert of a navigational hazard was broadcast when a dead whale was found floating just off shore.  By sunset the Coast Guard called out the “all clear” for diver missing; another person had joined ranks with the dead and released their legacy.

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As if my heartfelt journey to Catalina was a play, then 9 miles off Point Loma was it’s curtain call. A fitting finale to a week of pondering life, death, joy, love, and gratitude as dolphin hung close to the bow and whales spouted, a dozen or so miles off starboard.

Love Is The Groove by Cher

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