June 27, 2010
June 26, 2010
Home is the sailor, home from the sea…
Our beloved vessel and friend, “Antares” is for sale.
When one cruises a boat, especially a sailboat, it becomes almost animated; a friend, a nearly alive thing. It’s a sad day when you have to sell her.
We left Isla Mujeres, Mexico with a favorable forecast. Usually, on the passage to Key West, the winds are opposing, which makes for a lousy trip. We had unusual winds, and sailed nearly all the way to Key West, one of the great sails of our trip. Later, we did the same: Key West to Miami (No Name Harbor, Biscayne Key, remember Nixon?). We were so fast, we actually had to slow down, to arrive after daybreak.
On board, we had our first previously unknown crew: Chris and Mandi. Very young (from where we sit) and a whole shitload of fun. They were eager, smart, attentive, and generally great crew (anybody need them?). We had a lot of fun with them, and were sorry to see them go.
One of the worst weather experiences of this cruise happened in No Name Harbor. We had just anchored after a long overnight in the crowded anchorage, had our usual degenerate, alcohol spiced breakfast, and crashed. Soon, Phyllis was yelling in my ear to wake up. A previously unforecasted storm had blown in, with 40+ knot winds. Antares dragged (for only the second time in 3 years: captain’s fault) and we had to spend the next two hours maneuvering around (sometimes backwards) to avoid hitting someone.
We finally got re-anchored, crashed again, and had a good time there. Surprisingly, there were many cruising friends to play with.
Cruising is like joining an exclusive club. If you’re real, you belong. We have spent many more hours with our cruising friends then with our long time “real life” friends. I call them our “new best friends”.
Our latest (and probably last, for a while, at least) new best friends, were Alan and Suzanne of “Delphini”. In addition to being the last, they are also a bit odd. Not exactly what you think. They do have a featherless bird (sorry, Alex) and an ancient dog, blind, deaf, can hardly walk (name’s Lucky…no, that’s just a stupid old joke; name’s Magellan) but that’s not what I mean. What’s odd about them is that we had (count ’em) at least 6 final, tearful, farewell parties with them. Each time one of us was leaving for sure, we or they would turn up again unexpectedly, sometimes for weeks. The one in Mexico was the best. They left for Cuba, never to be seen by us again. Days later, we left for Key West. The day after our arrival, Mandi, looking around in the anchorage, said, indicating the boat just behind us, “doesn’t that look like Dephini”? Durn, if it wernt. So, we partied on in Key West, then in No Name Harbour in Miami, then, (I think really finally), they were in the slip next to us on Isle of Venice in Fort Lauderdale. They’re gone again. It’s a good thing, or we’d drink ourselves to death saying goodbye all these times. Goodbye, last new best friends. (By the way, they did go to Cuba, which is a great story that I’ll be sure to tell as soon as they get out of jail.)
I wrote the above several weeks ago, meaning to finish it promptly. Then, we got involved in the well known horror of actually moving off the boat, which is much like moving on land, but worse. We managed to ship 30 boxes to ourselves by UPS, throw away tons of junk, sell a bunch of things by Craig’s list, and thoroughly clean the boat (our broker/friend Joel had even more cleaning done, which has caused Phyllis, one of the world’s foremost clean freaks, to get a rash). Finally, the sad day came: Joel and wife Vela, Phyllis and I took our last (maybe) ride on “Antares”, up the New River in Fort Lauderdale to her new home. I actually teared up a little. I told you boats become like animate objects. It was very hard to leave her there, so lonely looking (but clean!). The pain was eased a little by joining Joel and Vela at the Fort Lauderdale Yacht Club that night for a great meal.
The next day, we flew to SFO. The Chappells made a great party for Lyle’s 21st. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that day was the start of the most insane buying spree we’ve ever been on. We needed everything to start our land life. Between us, Phyllis and I are the worst shoppers ever. We have no patience for it, so we just grab what we need and cry over what we’ve spent. It started with a car, which I went to see for giggles, then amazed myself by negotiating for it over the phone several times during the party. Finally, they made me a deal I couldn’t refuse. One of the conditions was that they would drive me home in the new car, because, by that time, I was too drunk to drive myself. We now have a brand new Honda Fit (a great little car in periwinkle blue).
On to our old home town (Healdsburg) where we proceeded to rent an apartment, sign up for the usual necessary (and unnecessary) services, and completely furnish it (the only things we had left were an old oak hutch and 2 beautiful oriental rugs that were eaten by the freaking moths while in storage). The biggest shocker is that I also took a job with my dear old group in Ukiah. So, to paraphrase Zorba the Greek, “a house, furniture, car and job: the entire catastrophe”.
Cruising on a sailboat is not for everybody; in fact it’s for almost nobody. Even those, like us, who love the lifestyle, choose different ways to do it. We discovered we don’t like long passages (that leaves out Europe, the Pacific, etc.). Also, we would choose to cruise part time the next time around. That requires a land base (friends and relatives get real tired of you after a while, and it’s no fun living out of a suitcase for too long. By the way thanks to all of you who put up with us during the last 3 years).
So, we’ve swallowed the anchor. We may barf it up again some day, and anyway, there are always other adventures out there. Thanks to everyone who read these blogs. I’ve enjoyed the writing, and Phyllis has enjoyed painting for it. We hope to keep in touch with our “new best friends” and get to see our old ones more often now. Fair winds and following seas to everyone.
Address: 421 Matheson Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448