Abuela’s Instruction

 

Kayaking to Martini Cove

Kayaking to Martini Cove

Just over two weeks ago I climbed back aboard Seamore Pacific. And nothing happened. It still hasn’t. Not a trace of adventure in any shape, color, or size. I even shouted out to the ocean that I had arrived and was ready to take on whatever was out there. “Come on, time is wasting. I have a self appointed timeline to meet. Send me a doozy adventure and I’ll write about it,” was beamed out to the universe, stark as a search light on a dark and starless night. What I got in reply…a sky full of diamonds, cold nights in the boat yard, and a memory of my grandmother having my brothers and I wash away the day from our grubby little feet, before crawling into her bed of crisp polyester- blend sheets.

Seamore Pacific, like hundreds of other boats in San Carlos, is dry docked during off-season.   Captain Chameleon and I take our chances that she will fare better in a hurricane, perched on blocks in a field, than tethered to an unmanned and moving dock. But, this arrangement is a haul in labor and patience. It takes a few days in the boatyard to get her ready for dry storage and another few days once we return, to get her back in shape for the marina. One might think the boatyard is a lonely place, but just the opposite. It’s a social hub. A social hub of optimists, realists, and dreamers; grinding, sanding, and pounding until the sun drops over the Tetekawi Mountain, leaving another day’s boatyard dust and grime for the reckoning.  Personally, I’d rather sand and varnish the Titanic if it saved me from the frigid waters of a boatyard shower. “Living the dream,” I sarcastically thought one night as I climbed down the cold metal ladder from Seamore Pacific, zipped my windbreaker tighter, and headed for the ladies shower.   But then my dread was replaced with profound aww. The stars were magnificent! I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen them shining so brilliantly. I was actually a tiny bit thankful that I had been forced to leave the comfort of our boat, even if it was for a cold, stark shower.   Mindful of how the moment was short on convenience and void of comfort, I thought of my grandmother and generations before her, leaving the comfort and warmth of their beds for a dark and drafty outhouse, or enduring uncomfortably tepid baths with water that required the labor of pulling it from the well by a bucket. In my grandmother’s case, her ongoing worry was the well running dry or at least that is what she would say at the end of the day where we had played long and hard on the farm. Handing each of us a clean washcloth, she gave stark instructions to wash the dirt first from our faces and then our feet. No dirt was to be tracked into her bed. Clamoring for who would get to sleep closest to grandma, three little kids would pile into bed next to her; proud of ourselves for the good job we did of washing our feet as instructed, and more importantly, relieved the well hadn’t yet run dry.

How clever. The universe had ignored my request for adventure and instead beamed back a memory from my childhood. In Mexico, a place my grandmother would have never, ever ventured, was speaking to me and giving me a darn good alternative.   If a wash cloth spiffing up was good enough for Granny, it was good enough for me. No need to dread a cold shower on a windy night.   Using a wash cloth and sparing water, like my grandmother had instructed, I meticulously washed away boatyard grime so as not to get Seamore Pacific’s fresh jersey knit sheets grimy and then made a plan to run the next day at noon….when it would be hot, hot, hot.   A cold shower feels darn good after a hot, sweaty run.

As it turned out, we were in the boatyard for 10 days waiting for a high tide that could accommodate Seamore Pacific’s keel and 6 foot draft. Staying first in a quaint departmente’ (hotel), then on the boat while she was on the hard, I became acutely aware of the conveniences of running water, warm showers, cozy beds, and new found mental space to enjoy forgotten memories. It is ironic how sometimes memories come full circle and connect us to the present. A few days ago, Captain Chameleon and I met a very old man, while we were picking up rubbish and plastic from a field bordering the beach and this gentleman’s acreage. Happy to have the assistance of picking up trash, he invited us to wash our hands at his home. Setting up a small pale of water, and a fresh bar of soap, he sweetly ladled clean water, much like a faucet, so we could wash the dirt and sand off our hands.

We are now in Marina San Carlos and as I patiently await a doozy adventure to come my way, I am truly enjoying this special time aboard Seamore Pacific. She not only takes good care of us, but she gives me the opportunity to cherish formative memories.

Friendly wash-up

Friendly wash-up

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Homemade Pizza dough

Homemade Pizza dough

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Peace

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Ruby on her daily walk to S – Dock

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Security. This dog has been at the boatyard for over a dozen years.

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Life is Good: When the Sky Isn’t Falling

Multi-Tasking.  The very nice lady behind the counter at Super T, washes and dries her laundry while at work.

Multi-Tasking. The very nice lady behind the counter at Super T, washes and dries her laundry while at work.

The famous logo and product line, “Life is Good” is one of my favorites. The captain and I have several Life is Good T-shirts, depicting sailing, kayaking, and exercise. For the last two weeks, life has been good for Seamore Pacific. But in our quest for carefree adventure we have encountered serious physical work, termites, ladders, cold, and no bathrooms. Behind the simple, ultraistic drawing on a Life is Good t-shirt, I’ve learned that camping has its bugs, kayaking brings on blisters, running causes chafing, and living on a boat requires….denial, delusion, and repeating the motto, “life is good” a thousand times; even when it’s not easy or convenient.  Dinner 2 SNS Two weeks ago, after 10 months of working and urban dwelling, the Captain, Francis, and I returned to our boat. Sitting in the Sonora, Mexico work yard of Marina Seca, she greeted us with open arms. Skillful staff had moved her from secured storage to the work yard to await our arrival. Excitement was in the air, as owners just like us filed in to claim their fiberglass and wooden family members. I heard sighs of relief, grinding, sanding, and storytelling.   Except for the constant grit and grime, I find boatyards fascinating. People from all walks of life and professions are breaking sweat by day and dreaming by night.     DSC05036Having Francis with us, we thought it best to stay in either a posada or casita for the 2 days it would take to launch Seamore Pacific. Life is good though. On day 4 we were still nowhere close to splashing. Nature has the final say in sailing and nature had determined that the tide wouldn’t be high enough to launch until the following Thursday. The little posada we were staying at was free of grit and grime but to make it comfy we needed to personalize it with blankets, towels, and rugs. And then there was the issue of termites in the headboard having midnight munchies. The captain was wigged out by the noise they made. I was wigged out by the tunnels they had created. We are from Florida, so we are used to termite damage but for some reason or another, this experience was just not in our “life is good” repertoire.   Patio for SNS Bedroom casita 4 We waited 10 months to be on the boat- why let jack stands; climbing a ladder; no onboard bathroom; and boatyard grime stand in the way. Cheerfully we cleaned the thin layer of dust from inside Seamore Pacific’s sole and hauled our stuff up the ladder to make our boat back into the home she is. Perched 10 feet in the air, in the Tetakawi mountains, we grinned just as silly as a stick figure character from a Life is Good t-shirt. Staying aboard a boat while in the work yard takes patience, tolerance, and a strong bladder but for us it was worth the trade-off of being in our own space. Francis readily agreed. Our boat yard days quickly took on a rhythm of physically exhausting work during the day, a tepid marina shower at 5 pm, and then a nighttime walk to a local restaurant.   Chicken enchiladas, papas locos, cheeseburgers in paradise, and margaritas made up for all of our inconveniences. Sooner or later, the topic of food always comes up within the rich conversations shared by sailors. However, despite our good life in the boat yard, launch day did arrive. Except for a below-the-waterline leak, and strong winds, launch day was just like any other ordinary day. The time to switch gears had arrived. I was trading in land for water. What an adrenaline rush, to hear the captain announce, “We have a leak.” It got my attention in the same manner as a rattle snake did, when I crossed paths with him at midnight on the Pemberton Trail in McDowell Mountain a few years ago. Another example of when life is good, I tabled my emotions and searched diligently for a positive outcome; helping Captain Chameleon narrow the water leak to a hose fitting. Captain Chameleon shut off the thru-hull valve taking it down to a tiny trickle of ocean water to seep in, but subsequently a non-functioning toilet. Not perfect by any means but we continued on. In cruising, I’m learning that life can only feel good when I stay calm, stay with the mission, and keep my expectations and fears from sky rocketing. In short, it’s been a physically exhausting week. We have sanded and painted the hull, started sanding and varnishing the teak, fixed all water leaks, and formulated a plan for replacing the hot water heater, head (bathroom) shower faucet, and a few sail lines. Aside from that, we have enjoyed well thought out meals, deliberately prepared over conversation and easy laughs, (spaghetti, pizza, and barbacoa over rice). When the sun goes down I transition to sleep by cozying up with a good book, under a fleece throw. I go through every boat sound I’m hearing…is it a leak? Are our dock lines secured? Is the sky falling? Once I’ve checked all possible catastrophes off the list, I give Francis a good night kiss, switch off the cabin lights, and say to the captain, “Isn’t Life Good?” For which he reassuringly responds, “Yes” Good night, S/V Seamore Pacific

Work yard at Marina Seca

Work yard at Marina Seca

The tarps took a beating.

The tarps took a beating.

Barren & Dark

Barren & Dark

Cobweb

Cobweb

Boat critters

Boat critters

Boat-sweet home after a day of tender loving care.

Boat-sweet home after a day of tender loving care.

Cozy bed SNS cozy kitty SNS

Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee

Francis' Galley

Francis’ Galley

Sunrise.  Launch Day!

Sunrise. Launch Day!

Moving Crew

Moving Crew

These guys are amazing...skillful, friendly, efficient.

These guys are amazing…skillful, friendly, efficient.

Moving Day 2 SNS

Marina San Carlos...here we come.

Marina San Carlos…here we come.

It's always exciting to see a boat go in the water...even when not my own boat.

It’s always exciting to see a boat go in the water.  Marina friends saw Seamore Pacific on the launch ramp and stayed around to see her splash.

#x%#!!!!!  We have a below the water line!  "Grab some masking tape Ethel!"

#x%#!!!!! We have a below the water line! “Grab some masking tape Ethel!”

Life is Good...leak stopped and boat is still afloat.  Lots of cleaning and canvas work to put up.

Life is Good…leak stopped and boat is still afloat. Lots of cleaning and canvas work to put up.

Bimini up

Bimini up

Seamore Pacific...Phoenix, Arizona

Seamore Pacific…Phoenix, Arizona

Wild Horse.  Life is Good

Wild Horse. Life is Good

Wild Guy.  Life is Good

Wild Guy. Life is Good

Seamore Pacific Trivia:

  1. How many steps to the marina bathroom?   Answer: 624 steps round trip. When it’s blowing 30 knots or in the dead of night it feels like 1248 steps.
  2. How many days did it take to make Seamore Pacific free of “below the water line” leaks? Answer: 4 days. I’m happy to say that water never reached the bilge pumps and we now have a working toilet. Life is really good when the boat floats.
  3. Who sells the best bacon in San Carolos, Mexico? Answer: Santa Rosa’s market. They smoke all of their meat on premise. However, we can’t just stop with the bacon, we also cart home pint size tubs of guacamole, spinach, garlic, cheese, barbacoa, refried beans, and tortillas. Plus, Santa Rosa is on the way to Ruth & Rudy’s Bakery….their chocolate éclairs up the ante on what is good for the soul.
  4. Besides being sea worthy, what makes for good living on a boat? Answer: hot water, ice cubes, a warm bed with soft sheets, absorbent (and pretty) towels, strong dock lines/anchor rode, a cozy settee, ample lighting, a well provisioned galley, and a boat kitty.
When life needs more color

Life needs more color

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Sunrise over Marina San Carlos

Sunrise over Marina San Carlos

“Turn around and run…

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…back to the sea and the sun.”  The song, Turn Around and Run, by Kelly McGuire [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H1WPZ3Emug], is a Trop-rock favorite of ours.  Back in the late 80’s, he and Captain Chameleon became friends while living at the same marina in Kemah, Texas. A sailor and dreamer, his music strikes a chord with us because it is entertaining, inspiring, and familiar.  Turn Around and Run is about going on vacation to a tropical paradise, the inevitable end of vacation, and then a last minute choice to skip the flight back to Rat Race Central; turn around and run back to the sea and the sun.

The Captain and I left San Diego Harbor last October (October 28, 2013) and after many highs and hardly a noticeable low (breaking my ankle January 2, 2014), our time of fun and folly of cruising aboard Seamore Pacific comes to a seasonal close this week.  This next Monday I return to work.  It is what I refer to as collecting sand dollars.  Get it?  Our last week of 24/7 companionship, simple living, and being aboard Seamore Pacific couldn’t be better spent than being at Marina San Carlos.  We arrived last Friday to begin the long, arduous process of hauling our boat out of the water and putting her “to bed” in Marina Seca (dry dock).  It is a pretty amazing site to behold, hundreds of white sailboat masts rising from a field, a couple of miles from the ocean.  Hundreds of cruisers each year go through the same routine; floated onto a hydraulic trailer at high tide, their boat is pulled out of the water and up the hill to dry dock.  It’s quite impressive and so far, we have never heard anything but raves about the whole process.  Safe and secure, she will be waiting our return for more Sea of Cortez cruising.   That is, once we have collected enough sand dollars to spring her bail.  Get it?

Just to jar the memory, we would have preferred putting Seamore Pacific to bed back in late January.  But with my injured ankle, I was not capable of dismantling her canvas, plugging her thru-hulls, running lubricants through her systems, stowing the outboards, stowing the inflatable dinghy, and shrouding her in tarps while she is perched 12 feet off the ground.  Turning limes into margaritas, we instead let my ankle heal by changing up our plans and traveling to Missouri to visit family.  After several large- square meals of delicious country cooking and doing little but sit and visit, my ankle was given the chance to heal.  I’m oh, so happy, so very happy to report that I went for my first run today.  Literally, I turned around and ran…back to the sea and the sun.

To keep with the theme of turning around, running, the sea, and the sun, Captain Chameleon just reminded me of the two black kittens that I happened onto this morning.  Hunkered under a car, one of the little cutie pies, turned around and ran, just as I came up to feed him some left over roasted chicken.

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Besides our love for the sea and the sun, the other reason we are reluctant to return to Rat Race Central, is that we have been able to shelter ourselves from news.  We both disdain superficial drama.  Seeing last week’s headline of “Kim Kardashian’s Has Buttocks Implants” had me running to the closest latrine to upchuck.  Fortunately, I don’t have to do that.  Choosing to not follow 99% of mainstream news, we are instead graced with real-life celebrities, like Jeanne Socrates [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2362101/Jeanne-Socrates-70-oldest-woman-sail-solo-round-world-non-stop.html].   At 70 years old, she is the oldest female to solo-circumnavigated, non-stop.  Last night, she quietly sailed into Marina San Carlos and is berthed next to Seamore Pacific.  This afternoon, eagerly excited for my inaugural run, I stopped off at her boat to lend a warm handshake and tell her how much I admire her accomplishments.  Genuine and real, she brushed off the praise, and rerouted us back to being simply neighbors.  Can you imagine Kim Kardashian doing the same?  She actually might, but her publicist probably wouldn’t.  Having approximately 1400 nautical miles under my belt (With Captain Chameleon to lean on), Jeanne’s accomplishment has my complete and profound respect.

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That wraps up this post, except for one last important point; my work.  I am blessed to have the life that I have and a job that I truly enjoy.  When I’m not sailing, I’m a nurse.  Collecting sand dollars is both an honor and a privilege.  Satisfaction has less to do with how many sand dollars I collect and more about patients and their families having a caring outcome (high-quality care).

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