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

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Life Preserver

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I can’t see it, but I know the finish line is just up ahead.  By all accounts, the last marker that I passed said I had one more to go.  Even though the finish line is still out of my view, I know it’s coming up very soon and no matter what happens now…I’m there!  I’m almost “home”.  All I need to do if I doubt how close I am, is to listen for the excitement.   The finish line party.

Putting one foot in front of the other, one day after another, my mind goes into automatic.

“Ok, don’t get to excited.  Focus.  9 down.  1 to go.  9 down. 1 to go.  9 down.  I sure hope Captain Chameleon gets the water heater ordered.  And the new faucet-shower combo.  I really, really want to have a great shower this time.  Oops…mind wandering.  Focus…Wonder what other boaters are there?  OMG…less than 1 to go.”  And so goes my countdown to Seamore Pacific and cruising the Sea of Cortez.

Much like my marathon finishes, I am so ready for this finish.  So ready, that once I imagine how good it will be to step over the line, an autonomic nervous system response takes over, causing my chest to tighten, a lump to form in my throat,  and my eyes to fill with tears.  It’s not that I get soft and sentimental about the finish line, but rather I get excited to experience what is past the finish line.  What new things will I discover about cruising, the Sea, and myself?

These last couple of months have been a strange blur.  That’s the best description I can give it. I knew if I let myself image January 1st, that it would all be over.  My ability to stay focused on work would be in constant discord with wanting to be on the boat.  Plus, if I didn’t give my all at work, then when boat time came around, I’d be suffering with regret for not working harder.  So, to make life simple I have conducted my business as though I plan to work for another 50 years and haven’t the foggiest clue about any Freedom 36″ Cat-Ketch sitting at Marina Seca in San Carlos, Mexico.  The Sea of Cortez is where?  Salt water is for cooking pasta, right?  A life preserver is another name for a mint flavored life-saver, correct?

Tonight, the mental blur lifted like fog.  Anticipation, clarity of mind, and humble thanksgiving has set in and will take me to the finish.

She waits for us.

She waits for us.

Migration Pattern

Migration Pattern

Memories of B-dock

Memories of B-dock

Today’s Finish-Line Countdown:

1)  Order 13 inch by 13 inch water heater to replace the one that rusted out. The satisfaction that this small water heater  brings to us is a comical when we compare it to the size of the hot water heater in our Phoenix house.

2)  Order water conserving shower & faucet combo for the head (bathroom), to ensure I don’t rip through a tank of water taking a luxurious shower when we are somewhere south of somewhere.

3) Get Francis acquainted with his new life-preserver. 

Life Saver

4) Pack Ruby’s life-preserver in the “boat bin.”

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5) Figure out the best place to secure our stand up paddle board (SUP).  Captain Chameleon is leery it will fit on deck but I say, “Oh Ye of little faith.  We can make it fit.  This is small potatoes compared to what we have navigated through to get this far.”  Last cruising season we were fighting weather the whole time.  This time I’m hoping for gentle winds and calm seas.

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6)  Wait for our new Offshore inflatable life-preserver/ harnesses to arrive in the mail.  These are going to be way better than the ones we sailed with last year.  Safety plus comfort.  Thank you Black Friday and Mom and Dad.

7)  Finish my job feeling strong, competent, proud, and grateful.  I work for a loyal company that stays true to it’s mission.

Mystic

8) Enjoy each day as though there is no Seamore Pacific.  Even without the boat, life is pretty darn good.

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His and Her beach cruisers…. a must for desert dwellers.

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Cloudy days still have beautiful sunsets.

9) Stock up with Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck.  Mexico actually has some delectable wines but the ports we will call on, mostly carry boxed wine…not bad.  But, our favorite cruising wine is Charles Shaw (aka Two Buck Chuck).  Ok, so my standards in wine are not as high as some of my other standards. 

Go easy on the Tequila

Go easy on the Tequila

10)  Wave good-bye to the dense fog that encased any glimmer of anticipation for leaving work to go sailing.  It was nice while it lasted.  I’m glad I experienced it.  But I’m ready to get back to the boat.  Memories from last year are starting to come alive and stir excitement for some of the simple things I’m looking forward to…swing at anchor in the middle of breath taking beauty; go topside after a hot shower to pick out rising constellations; and have my sleep interrupted by a clanging halyard.

Shrimper going out for the night

Shrimper going out for the night

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Good night and sweet dreams.

Seamore Nautical Spirits

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A Lesson in Kite Flying

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Celebrate (life)

“For Pete’s sake, let out some line! I need your kite to be above the power line and about 30 feet to the right of that rusty TV satellite dish. Dude, I’m trying to take a meaningful picture.”

Impatience comes naturally.  Is it the world I live in?  Is it my genetic material?  Is it a cop-out strategy?. Or is it blindness?  After two weeks of mulling over the question, I have concluded that for me personally, it is both blindness and a cop-out.  Perhaps after a bit more pondering, I’ll come up with additional reasons.  But for now, I can attest to blindness and copping out.  A picture perfect day beside the ocean, a billowing kite; and yet instantly out pops a self serving agenda. It doesn’t make sense.

Years ago, we had the inkling to buy beach front property in Mexico. In just under 5 hours, we can leave work and be at the beach. Relatively simple, because once upon a time, living in the Florida Keys I drove 4.5 hours to the mainland to work back to back weekend shifts.  With Seamore Pacific sitting on the hard, twice a month we will attempt to escape to our little casa, which includes housekeeping services.  Mwah is the housekeeper.  As tempting as it sounds to arrive at our cerebral-oasis and find it dust free and sparkling clean, Captain Chameleon and I made a choice to forgo having someone come in and sweep up the sand, mop the floors, and wash the windows prior to our arrival.  For us, every little bit saved, puts us closer to cruising and free time.  Fortunately, I enjoy cleaning.  I’ve no idea how our story would go if I lead a revolution against cleaning.  I imagine we would get used to sand between our sheets?

Back to the guy flying his kite…I was on our second story patio, mopping, and cleaning the sliders when I looked up to see a kite lift up from the beach.  Not yet picture perfect, I dashed inside to get my camera.  Then, I waited, waited, squinted, cheered, coaxed, and cursed for the blasted kite to get high enough over the power line and be to the left of the obstructing beach house for me to take a “perfect” picture.  I took lots of pictures.  Deleted most of them.  Cropped the others.  Then returned to Phoenix and got busy with work.  But each day, I would think of the kite.

Tonight, running along a busy Phoenix street, my struggle with how I wanted to see the kite and the way in which the kite really existed, became clear.  The kite was beautiful because it WAS flying in midst of a power line and a rusty TV satellite.  Capturing its own whiff of wind, it was able to fly.  Above the housetops.  Unsnarled by modern day conveniences. Metaphorically it is a representation of what I wish for until we are back to our simple life of cruising.  No regrets, Seamore Pacific is dry docked; we have returned to work for a season, we miss our cruising life, and yet we are enjoying navigating life-as it is for now.

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Optimism (noon)

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Perseverance (Sunset)

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Collecting beach glass: a rewarding and relaxing ritual.

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Windows foiled, belongings removed.  Ready for a hot summer-dry docked.

Windows foiled, belongings removed. Ready for a hot summer-dry docked.

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Marina Seca: Seamore Pacific dry-docked until next season.

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