Thursday, September 17, 2015

That's the Life for Me!

Traveler on the Hard

Poor Traveler sits up on stands in a dusty lot in Guaymas, Mexico, her decks covered in tarps, her running rigging tackle wrapped in foil, and her windows taped over with sun screens.  It's hot there at the Guaymas Seca boatyard where the lowest temperature at night is 85 degrees, too hot for us mere gringos.  I personally need LESS than 85 degrees in order to sleep at night.  The folks who live in Guaymas have concrete, block, and stucco structures shaded by trees.  The families move between the cool inner rooms in the heat of the day out to the fresh breezes found at the doorways in the afternoon. Then they move onto the porches or spill into the street as the cool of the night settles in.  In the darkness the kids play and the adults sit and enjoy the relief of the night airs.

Deer on the Mountain

Here on the mountain we do the same, opening up the windows at night when the outside temperature is finally cooler than the inside temperature.  Here in northern California it's chilly at midnight and roasting hot by noon.  The drill is: windows open at night, closed in the daytime.  Connie and I are staying in a house under construction.  Our sleeping room will someday be a nice large bathroom.  Right now it's simply a room with tiled floor and walls and unconnected pipes where the fixtures will eventually go.  The beautiful tile work keeps the room cool even when it is 95 degrees outside, great for napping. We like our room.

Bountiful Harvest

We are lucky to have such a place to spend a few summer months, a quiet place with deer, quail, and three sweet cats.   Our friends are building a guest house off the back side of the shop that presumably we could use for our sleeping quarters if we visit next year.  Digging holes for its foundation we found solid rock so we hauled a big compressor and a 90 pound jack hammer up the hill from town so we could break up the rock.  I took a one minute stint on the jack hammer just for fun and it totally kicked my butt.  Better a younger man than I for that job!
Scott Jack hammers

With the current three year drought some local wells have run dry and many people are getting their water tanks topped off by tanker trucks you can hear slowly grinding their way up the gravel roads in the mornings.  Fires are a constant hazard.  Two weeks ago a fire blew up east of here, coating the horizon with billowing smoke.  I set up my lawn chair where I could see across the valley and watched through binoculars the California Fire spotting planes circling then guiding the airborne tankers with their red-dyed, flame retardant drops.  The fire moved off to the north and was finally contained and doused.

Four days ago a fire far to the south of us blew up from 10,000 acres to 50,000 acres in one day, forcing evacuations in a 30 mile radius.  Local hotels are booked and farmers are boarding livestock for their neighbors across the county.  An entire small town burned to the ground.  My heart goes out to those who not only lost their homes but their jobs as small businesses went up in flames.

Ezrah, Michael, Connie, Tom

I've been researching various places where we might want to settle down once our sailboat cruising lust dies down. One of the reasons we left Puget Sound is because of the dark, wet, cold winters there.  In contrast, we found Mexico to be heaven in the winter time.  For sunny warm days and cool nights, northern California has a  perfect climate so we were starting to consider settling here but now, as we see the increased fire danger and water shortages, we're rethinking the suitability of this area for our little retirement ranchette.  As we look toward a warmer, dryer future perhaps we should place more importance on locating where there is an ample water supply and less risk of fire.  This brings us back to Puget Sound, the new sunny place in the Pacific Northwest.  Who knows? With the melting polar caps Connie's little Tumwater house might someday be oceanfront property!

Connie and Tesla
Yesterday we were remembering how nice it was to live on the boat, having our private little nest where we make our own schedule and decide fresh each morning what we'd like to do that day.  It's nice visiting with friends and family during the summer but we do miss our independence.  When you stay with someone, you live their life style.  You immerse yourself in the comings and goings of the house and subjugate your interests for theirs.  This is grand fun for a while, and we've been lucky to experience such a varied existence but after a while we find we yearn for more privacy and want to take back some control of our lives.

Both Connie and I love exploring the sea and the land, and we've become comfortable doing so, even feeling that when we are traveling we ARE at home. We decide which way to turn and how long to linger.  Connie's suggestion? Let's arrange it so we can live on the boat full time!  Come November we hope to get back to the boat and spend the winter in the warm Mexico waters.  Then we'll try for Hawaii again and end up in Puget Sound in the summer.  When autumn rolls around, instead of heading south, we'll find a place to tie the mooring lines and see what it's like to spend a nice warm and dry winter on the boat in Puget Sound.  Now that's the life for me!

Coming Back Alive

Keith Dekker
Connie Bunyer 2011

This ship it has it's problems, the anchor’s made of wood.
It floats around up on the top, it doesn’t hold so good.
The sails are torn and tattered; they let the wind go through.
We lost the tiller yesterday, the charts and compass too.

The food is spoiled, the cooler stinks, I think I saw some mice.
The meat is gray, the cheese is green; when can we get more ice?
There is no fruit or veggies, the scurvy’l reappear.
The thing that really scares me most is we’re running out of beer.

Chorus:     We’re coming back alive, we’re coming back alive.
            Didn’t think we’d make it, looks like we’ll survive.
            When we get back to dry land, I’ll never go back to sea.
            I’ll walk on land that doesn’t move.
            Hey, that’s the life for me!

The cook he hates the captain, the captain hates the crew.
The first mate yells at everyone, especially me and you.
I might just jump, I'll swim away, get off this lousy boat.
The bosun tried it yesterday, he sank he didn’t float.

The dinghy sank last Friday, it was an awful sight.
It’s where we kept the Cuban rum, I must have cried all night.
The captain says, “Get over it!” he says, “We’ll do just fine.
We may still have some whiskey left and the bilge is full of wine!”


If we get back I tell you, I’ll kiss that flat ol’ ground.
Shake hands with everybody, big hugs for every hound.
Then I’ll be movin’ inland yes, that’s the life for me,
Far from this old ocean and the Salish sea.

I heard the ship go bump last night; it was ‘bout 2 or 3.
I went outside to have a look; it was too dark to see.
First mate went out and came back; his shoes were full of sand.
I looked and yelled, “Holy cow! I think we’re close to land!”


Once we made it back to dry land, it didn’t sit so well.
The traffic it was crazy, the weather hot as hell.
I really miss the water, yearn to be afloat.
So back we went double time and now live on this boat.

We’re comin’ back alive, we’re comin’ back alive.
Didn’t think we’d make it, looks like we’ll survive.
When we get back to the water, where the wind blows free,
I’ll sail on seas that always move.
Hey, that’s the life for me!
Hey, that’s the life for me!
Hey, that’s the life for me!