Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sea Fever

Scott’s Sea Fever

          (with apologies to John Masefield)

I must go down to TRAVELER again with the WAC burgee on high,
With my SSB and GPS and a star to steer her by,
And the motor’s kick and Connie’s song and my white knuckles shaking,
And a gray mist on my gray face but a bright dawn breaking.

I must go down to the tropics again to the hippie sailor’s life
To the margaritas and taco stands where I’ll live with little strife;
And all I ask are some merry tunes from my laughing “Connie Bun”
And a blissful sleep and a sweet dream that the journey’s just begun.

John Masefield's poem Sea Fever was modified by our friend Lisa Dekker.   See the original here.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

To Jump or Not to Jump

We're getting itchy feet and jones'n for some sea travel while marooned here in Seattle getting the LRV (land recreational vessel) tuned up and taking care of business.  Meanwhile Traveler is content in the heat of Mazatlan patiently waiting for our return.  Our talk is turning toward plans for the next cruising season and the question keeps coming up, "Will we make the puddle jump to the South Pacific next spring or not?"

Is the boat ready?
Yes:  Many systems have been overhauled including, standing rigging, the hull, engine and drive train, water tanks, batteries and electrical components, wind vane steering, GPS, and Single Side Band.
No:  Need to update the solar panels, fix or replace our 1.5 gal/hr water maker, consider buying a life raft and gather books and charts about the South Pacific.

Are we ready?
Yes:  Jones'n to go, fairly comfortable with the boat and its systems, healthy enough.
No:   A little cash strapped, not sure about having only a crew of two at sea for +- 30 days, got a rental house in Tumwater to worry about.

In the meantime, in the blog world, we're reading about our friends Richard and Brian on Osprey, currently in the Cook Islands at Aitutaki and we are reading about our friends Kirsten and Patrick on Silhouette,  in the Cook Islands at Rarotonga and we are reading about Nicole & Aaron who we don't know but we do read their blog, on Bella Star, also in Rarotonga.  Seems like everyone is in the Cook Islands.  Everyone but us!  Wouldn't it be most wonderful to cruise Pacific Mexico this winter then just before we need to call it quits because of the hurricane season approaching, we jump across the equator into an upside down world where summer is winter and winter is summer and the hurricane ( called cyclone in the southern hemisphere) season is not starting but has just ended?  Gosh, that would be cruising for 12 months straight with 12 months of summer-like weather.  ***Endless Summer ***

If we are doing the jump then there are some things we should take care of while we are here in the States.  Maybe we'll go ahead and prepare a bit, just in case. So we are getting a few things together so that just in case we get the urge, we can jump.

But then again.....
Green route VS red route.  Which seems most straightforward?

Connie had a thought.  We want to really exercise the boat, and really exercise the crew in preparation for going halfway around and maybe all the way around the planet.   Here is her suggestion.  We cruise Pacific Mexico this winter then come May, we jump across to........ wait for it..... Hawaii!

Western Hemisphere
Yes, Hawaii.  That would be a long passage. 2850 nautical miles, about the same as from Mazatlan to Nuku Hiva.  But at the end of the trip we'd be in the U. S. and poised for another crossing, this time from Hawaii to British Columbia, another 2400 miles at which time we'd be cruising down the outside of Vancouver Island, one of our favorite places. "So much for endless summer...", says Connie. 

Then we'd head down to Puget Sound to our old stomping grounds.  Why is the place you are most familiar with in your past called a stomping ground?  But anyway, we'd be back in Puget Sound and could take the big old boat all around the stomping ground.  We'd end up finally in Olympia and be able to live on the boat while we fix up Connie's house in Tumwater to sell or rent it again.  

A side benefit to this plan is that we'd be near Fisheries and West Marine so we could chase down all those important refit thingies and get a little further along on preparations for being gone from the western hemisphere for many years to come. 

"Being gone from the western hemisphere for many years to come."  Now that's a frightening, challenging, interesting concept. 

The Cascadia Flag
A further challenge would be the trip south in September down the west coast of Cascadia and Californica to our origin at San Diego where we acquired Traveler in March 2011.  From there it would be familiar territory down the west coast of Baja, over to the mainland, then down the coast.  But this time we'd continue south past the terrifying Gulf of Tehuantepec,and continue on to Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama before FINALLY doing the puddle jump over to the Marquesas. 

Whew! That sounds like a lot of traveling in old Traveler, just to avoid making the jump this next season.  Maybe we should rethink this a little bit more.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thoughts on turning six o

It's funny how birthdays evenly divisible by 10 are thought of as milestones in life.  At twenty you become an adult, at 30 you should at least be starting to get your shit together, and at 40 you are solidly into middle age.  At fifty you get a glimpse of what old age can be like and you think, "a half century... Hoo Ha!"
Looking a bit goofy as I wait to blow out the candles.

I'm sixty this week and am trying to figure out what that means in terms of milestones.  I guess the big thing for me is that at 60 I am not working at a paying job and have the time to consider what I want to do, minute by minute and day by day.  Having the time to consider, instead of deciding and moving on to the next thing is a luxury, I know.  I'm finding it to be totally wonderful to be able to take my time about things, reverse decisions, and look at situations from alternate perspectives.

I was talking to my 92 year old mother yesterday and she said that she feels the same at 92 as she did at 82 and 72 and 62 and 52.  That got me thinking that our bodies and our minds age at different times and at different speeds.  The body grows really fast until you are 20 something but the mind lags a little bit behind.  Thus you have 21 year old men and women who have strong bodies ready to go to war for their country but their minds are not mature enough to realize that that can be a really bad idea.  You may be strong enough to stay up all night but foolish enough to spend that time drinking and drugging.

Land Anchor by Keith Dekker
For most people the 30s are the time for the mind to catch up with the body and we realize our true potential.... or not.  I personally think that the 30s are a "make it or break it" period in life.  Then by 40 the joints are getting sore and you can't seem to keep up with the youngsters but this failure of the body is balanced by the onset of wisdom. Oh wisdom, what a slippery little duck you are.

In my late 40s I hit several plateaus.  I felt fairly mature and sometime even wise.  My confidence level was pretty stable and my body, while a little worn out, seemed to hit a good stride.  For me, at least, and evidently for my mom, this time of life begins a slow steady rise in maturity and a very subtle decline in health that can last til you exit this world. 

Do I feel 60? No, not really.  But if 60 is the new 50 then I guess I'm cruising along right where I should be.  I'm realizing that the way I feel now and the way I am now will most likely continue for many years to come.  And I realize just why older folks always say on their birthday, " Well I certainly don't feel like I'm (fill in the blank) years old."

As I stand here on the road I see it stretch straight towards the horizon, and when I turn around I can see the travels that have brought me thus far.

When I ride the ocean I know that because of the curvature of the earth I'm only seeing about 3 miles of water.  I also know that the ocean continues on for a long and unknown distance. For some reason I feel that the ride before me will be constant as I chase that duck to the ends of the earth.  Ah 60, what an age.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Adventures in Olympia

Now don't I look, and feel, like a country bumpkin?
We are firmly ensconced here at Lorree's house in Delphi (near Olympia) where we are busily ferreting out some dry rot in the port side wall of our new land yacht named La Dolfina.  Connie has proven to be quite adept in chasing down the soft, waterlogged framing and I'm learning how to peel off aluminum siding to expose the evil rot.

We took a break to see the duet Mucho Gusto perform at Traditions Cafe for a fund raiser.  We met some other musically inclined friends there and near the end of the set, Lorree and Steve invited various singer friends to come onstage for a song.  Connie was coerced up there and her buddy Mike joined her for "La Cachita".  At that moment a photographer from the Olympian snapped the shot that would become the front page lead in the next day's newspaper.  This is all kind of funny because they were only up there for one song and it was Mucho Gusto's set! Steve got cropped out of the picture (so we put him back in, below) and neither Lorree nor Steve got mentioned in the newspaper piece. Go figure!
Stars come out in afternoon for film society fundraiser

On Friday, Connie got to join FOG (Four Old Guys) at the farmer's market having fun playing drums and singing with her old buddies from Ocho Pies and Obrador.  The Four Old Guys are Tom Russel, Paul Hjelm, Michael Olson, and Steve Luceno.  Tom replaced Connie in the last band, Ocho Pies, when she left for Mexico.  Tom actually refers to their new group as FROG.  Four REALLY Old Guys.  Connie's daughter Tesla joined us at the market then we all tromped off to Olson's for a big dinner.
Connie and Tesla at the market

Once we've finished our "minimal" upgrades to La Dolfina we'll head off to the mountains.  But in the meantime, we're in the Puget Sound neighborhood visiting friends and kicking back.  Connie wants me to get the camera out and take before and after pictures of all the dry rot in the land yacht but I'll just leave it to the reader's imagination to picture us out in the great woods of Delphi standing on step ladders, chipping away with wood chisels and screwdrivers, the sound of the jig and hand saws echoing off the douglas firs and western cedars.