Our boat life lately is filled with a wonderful mix of classes, projects, sailing, and days spent living on the hook. We are hard working, happy sailors, chasing our dream.
Steve and I are halfway through a navigation class with the USCG Auxiliary that is teaching us more than we had anticipated. This vary active, all volunteer organization is a real blessing here in the Monterey Bay. They are great people, eager to share their knowledge and experience. I highly recommend them for the boating basics. Honestly, If we were not leaving I think Steve and I would sign up to volunteer.
In addition to our Navigation class, I attended a Women’s Sailing Convention in Newport Beach earlier this month. I took an MOB class, beyond basic first aid class, and boat maintenance class; met some wonderful fellow sailing Gals and had the delightful opportunity to reconnect with friends from my Mexico sailing trip last November. Needless to say, I came home full of enthusiasm and excitement. Totally empowered and ready to tackle even the scariest of boat jobs and tasks.
Immediately upon my arrival home I began the distasteful task of repairing our head, started to gather supplies for our first aid kit, and have spent the last week getting all of the old varnish off the cap rail and rub rail, although I still haven’t decided whether to varnish or oil them. Steve has been steadily working on both maintenance and repair projects, as well as getting a good handle on the replacement parts; those already on board and parts we would like to carry in inventory. Together we have removed the sails and taken them to the sail shop to have them tuned up. We have also repaired our dinghy, made a lifting bridle and block and tackle to hoist it and worked on the logistics of getting the darn thing assembled on deck without looking too much like a comedy routine. We have ordered a new dodger, ordered fabric to make new covers for the settee cushions and researched a bazillion little details regarding SSB, In-Reach, wifi boosters, solar panels, battery monitors and on and on.
To balance all of this hard work we have had several wonderful days of sailing across the bay from Moss Landing to Santa Cruz, where we have dropped the hook. While these adventures are filled with beautiful sunsets and cocktails on the bow, it is also a learning time for us. Our first anchoring experience had us both a bit nervous, but Steve and I did an excellent job of communicating and getting the anchor set. We had thoroughly talked it through and right before we got to our anchorage we reminded each other to be kind. We have heard too many stories of couples howling at each other over an anchoring issue. Not that we would do such a thing. I don’t think either of us has ever raised our voice at the other, but its good to be ahead of things. Besides, we thought we would leave the entertainment for when we put the dinghy together on deck.
The first night we did not sleep for more than 2 hours at a time. I kept having crazy dreams only to wake up and swear that our keel was rubbing the sandy bottom. Of coarse, our anchor was stuck tight and there was nothing to worry about. So back to sleep until the next crazy dream. After that first night we slept soundly, cradled by the boat and rocked gently by the rolling sea. It was a good first experience anchoring Pablo and we left there proud. When we later returned for more anchoring fun, we had no issues at all. We will be taking more excursions soon to continue building our skills, going to Monterey and Stillwater Cove, Half-moon Bay, and possibly San Francisco Bay.
We have six months to go before we leave. We have a long list of projects that will never get done before we go and we will never build enough skills to feel truly ready. All we can do is get as much done as time will allow and practice our skills as much as possible. Steve and I are both rather conservative with our decision making. We recognize that we don’t have much experience with this type of sailing and respect the dangers that this life presents, but we are intelligent, we do a ton of research, and we practice everything repeatedly. Lately there has been a healthy fear settling into my bones. A quiet reminder that there will be difficult days. And yet I know that without trials there is no joy in the triumph.
Life is just so sweet right now!