Thursday, December 29, 2005

I will write your name on a grain of rice

At the end of 1000 desolate miles known as “The Baja” there lies a veritable oasis called Cabo San Lucas. Many of the most enduring human accomplishments have been, simply, things of beauty. Cabo San Lucas is not one of them. It’s allure lies rather in it’s cold beer, throbbing night life, $1 tacos, and easy access to limes, all within feet of cool sand beaches with warm clear water. We stayed for 9 days and 9 nights. Have you been there? Have you seen the yachts anchored right off the beach and wondered what “that” was like? I can now tell you – it was pretty damn good. Perfect location and the anchorage was free.

It was a much needed dose of civilization but fortunately we got over it and went back to sea yesterday (12/28/05) at 11:30 am. We’ve been in transit to Mazatlan for the past 27 hours and will be there in about 6 more. I have flown, taken the train (twice) and soon I can say that I have sailed to Mazatlan. I like the sound of that.

And now for my usual rambling of random notes:

Saw a meteor last night that was so close and bright I thought a helicopter had snapped on their spot light. Very eery.
SPF 15 just isn’t gonna cut it.
I used to eat hot oatmeal on my 2-4 am watch, now I eat cold cereal.
Colin is going to eat his words when he says ice cubes are overrated.
Mexicans are excellent people but why the love affair with clown music?
It’s good to fall in love with the beauty of sailing all over again.
Blonde hair and blue eyes means you have immediate access to any resort pool.
By 10 am it’s so hot that my antiperspirant is calling for reinforcements
Stop signs are merely a suggestion and whoever doesn’t make eye contact has the right of way
When was the last time you didn’t own a car?

Friday, December 16, 2005

The champagne bottle fits perfectly in the blue igloo cooler

We motored the dink back into these mangroves and checked out a fishing village that looked right out of the Latin version of Deliverance. Then we hiked to the dunes, did some minor archeological scouring over a ruined foundation and invented complete lives from the remaining rusted clues. Later I climbed the mast and tried to fix our jammed main. No joy. But the view from that high off the water was really something. It felt good to have a climbing harness on again. On the way back from surfing we stopped to make friends with the fishing boat anchored a short distance away. They got excited over the thought of a bottle of wine. We traded champagne instead. None of us were excited to drink it and in exchange we got about 20 lbs of cleaned frozen shrimp. They packed the blue cooler for us.

So how was your day?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I think the best way for me to give you a look into this life is to mention some of the things that as a recent landlubber I find interesting.

Maxims -
1.) Everything needs a lanyard or it is going to be lost to Neptune
2.) You can wash your hands in salt water (Joy is the only soap that lathers), you can wash your body in salt water, and you can even wash your hair in salt water but don't even think about brushing your teeth in it. Most foul.
3.) Don't ever misplace your headlamp. You become instantly worthless at night without a headlamp.
4.) Make sure the French press is dry because salty coffee is not fantastique
5.) When you jump into water that is over a mile deep you feel like you are on the Jaws movie poster
6.) After dragging dish towels (We've put grommets in all of them) behind the boat for 12 hours we deem them to be clean. Don't question that.
7.) It is a universal certainty that you will catch a fish right after cleaning the cockpit.
8.) When you are more than 25 miles offshore it is not only legal to litter but actually fun (NO PLASTIC THOUGH)
9.) Without the generator running the microwave is just one more storage container
10.) Put on a hat when being boarded by the Mexican Navy. This stuff isn't even hair anymore.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Isla San Martin

Our arrival came a day late due to a pressure sender snapping off 2 days ago en route to this island but we fixed it at 2 in the morning as we bobbed around trying to dodge the "mal de mer" (what? You don't speak French. Come on - it's a French boat). Anyway - that was yesterday.

Today may have been a birthday for one of us on this boat but it was death for a few fish. My mates cooked me great meals and we drank wine and rum and now it's time for the white Russians. In between I paddled the red kayak over to the NE side of San Martin while dragging one of the surfboards (Luke/Todd/Adam/Matt - It was the Cheater. Todd - say a few words for Ceddie). Didn't drop in though. Deemed it unsafe due to the snaggletooth rocks peaking up at me. Gorgeous hollow left other than that. The sea lions trailed me the whole way and submerged every time I turned around to look at them.

The guys presented me with a bottle of Bacardi. I guess there are a few hiding spots left on this thing. I didn't have to wash a dish all day (kinda like the Nash years;-) Sorry bro - I'll make it up to you in Greece) If a birthday is a point of reflection then . . . well . . . I have a beautiful view. Thank you all for making this year such an outstanding one. It'll be hard to top. I'll try my best.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

"Damn it - I forgot to learn Spanish. I knew I was forgetting something!"

At anchor in Bahia Todos Santos inside the breakwater (Ensenada) after departing Cruiseport Marina at 05:00 this morning so we wouldn't have to pay another slip fee (higher than the States!) Colin is grinding the bondo on the new anchor locker door, Ryan is playing guitar in the cockpit and I'm down below at the nav typing this to you.

I think I have some observations and notes I can share with you up till now:

Those who choose to live in a boat on the ocean might find that their houses are small but their backyards are nearly infinite.

As complexity increases so does vulnerability.

Once you move unto a boat and give up your slip you automatically become a conservationist - water, electric, propane; none of it is limitless any longer and it all comes at a price of sweat and pesos. Unplugging from the grid is literally and figuratively what we did. You watch tv (I know Blintz - not you) and we watch our amp hours on the solar panel and battery monitors. We check temp and pressure gauges. We live by the compass.

We have two radically different lives - we refer to them as "Live" and "Passage" modes. In Live mode things are rather loose. Things are casually placed on bunks or counters and urgency takes a back seat. We do however spend more time watching our energy expenditures since the engine isn't running and the solar panels can only do so much and then only during the daylight hours. I reckon the generator costs about $2 per hour to run so even though it isn't as loud as I thought it might be we would still rather not run it to refill our batteries. Passage mode usually entails running the engine for a bit so that's a great way to recharge the batteries and is why we don't need to conserve so much in that mode. However, a change that is almost visible permeates every motion and expression as we morph into Passage mode. Passage mode has it's serious moments. That's obvious right? The GPS, autopilot, depthsounder, wind indicator, knot meter, nav lights, radar and radios all get turned on and tuned in before we pull the hook or slip the lines. The charts and the nav tools come out and courses are set, positions are fixed, way points are entered. We work smoothly with clear communications to one another. We are a team. We have a common goal. The ship is a series of opposing forces and our job is to keep them all in balance while enjoying the sublime finesse of the ocean's rules. A fellow surfer once said to me after an enormous outside closer rag-dolled me, "On land you never know who your friends are, but with the sea you always know where you stand: she is at all times trying to kill you." I always loved that quote and we smile as we repeat it aboard Barraveigh.

A couple small changes: The drivers license is not the chosen form of ID any longer. Only a passport works from here on out. Also - my phone has been replaced by a VHF or walkie talkie. I don't own a car any longer (sold the Tracker for $1900 to a Serb girl. Threw in my waterproof surf maps for her to start her new dream life), or have access to my house so the key chain is gone.

A couple words about my roomies: Colin is a sub genius who can design and articulate almost anything. Watching him pantomime is sometimes as beautiful as one of those Polynesian story dances. He is always willing to chip in and the dirty jobs don't scare him at all. His sense of humor is advanced, refined, and quick as can be. He doesn't mince words or suffer fools and his patience will end with little warning. That's fine with me - it seems to be a good pressure valve and he just walks away to come back later refreshed. Ryan needs to have a flag that says, "Chillin the most." The guy has the best disposition, a gentle way about him that puts one at ease. He is always willing to help, generally upbeat and pleasant, and has the most thorough and logical approach to problem solving. We only disagree on his choice of music. Country music. Hmmm. Well - I'm trying, and some of it is actually getting through my thick resistance. He is 13 years younger than Colin and I and his enthusiasm and excitement seems to be about 13% greater. Age has diminished it in Colin and I (don't forget - he and I met when we were 24 traveling around the Middle East together) and part of the purpose of this trip for me is to regain that wonderment that maturation distills out of you.

I'm having a blast. I smell. I smile. I think of my friends and family often.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

The Dream

In the 90’s I spent a year backpacking in Europe. That experience was the single most defining event in my life. I’ve spent every year since that momentous trip designing my future, so that I could repeat that sojourn on a global level with my bed and all my toys included.

I created a mantra that I chanted on a daily basis. 4 maxims to live by:
  1. Don’t Get Married
  2. Don’t Reproduce
  3. Don’t Get Injured
  4. Don’t Get In Trouble With The Law.
I navigated through those life altering reefs and dodged all those looming icebergs. I MADE IT! I resigned my position, rented my house, sold everything else, and left all that was familiar behind.

It was Dec 1, 2005. I was a naïve American thrusting myself upon the world in a campaign of adventure. I had accepted the grandest challenge I could think of: SAILING AROUND THE WORLD. These are my stories.
(Please come back soon for updates).



Crossing the Border The Georgian immigration lady literally put a diamond loupe on my driver's license and passport and went over every ...