Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Back in Seattle

Sula is sealed up tight, with all gear stowed below, sails removed, and tin foil over the portlights so as to keep out the harsh Sonoran sun. She is beached alongide row after row of similar cruising boats with shreaded sails and tarps flapping in the wind. One only hears the constant thonk of haliyards slapping against hollow masts. The San Carlos dry storage yard is where west coast cruising dreams go to die. Its also the best place to buy a crusing boat. The prices reflect the fact that the trip back to america exacts a harsh toll, and that these are boats whose crew, for whatever reason, have soured on the dream of voyaging. I hope that in October I can return to San Carlos and finish a few more projects while Sula is hauled out before turning south along the mexican coast and then the next big jump. The South Pacific or Central America? I'm not quite sure yet, but its going to be a big step and one I have to wrap my head around soon.

Seattle is calm. A weak sun emerges a few times a day, but its barely strong enough be felt at all. I have gone totally terrestrial. I bought a junky off road motorcycle, a new bicycle, and I've gone on two internet dates. The carburator of the junky dirt bike is what keeps me up at night now. In a few days I'll be packing up all my tools and heading east for a few weeks of farming. The vines need to be pruned and trained soon before they start growing too much. My dream is to try not to drink too much wine and explore the back roads of eastern WA.

End of the Road -- San Carlos Sonora

Sula is in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico, which is on eastern coast of the Sea of Cortez. I'm definately not here for the nightlife! Man, its quiet. I'm here because there is a storage yard with good prices out of the normal path of the NE Pacific hurricanes. Unfortunately we made it to San Carlos a little too early and we missed cruising to some interesting islands and anchorages on the western side of the sea. Going upwind in the Sea is not very easy when a norther is blowing and so we made the break across when we had the chance. San Carlos is a great anchorage with lots of scenic hills around, including the iconic Tetas de Cabra. Jamie and I have seen every sight the town has to offer, and there's nothing left to do but listen to Jimmy Buffet in the Captain's Club and plot our escape from town. The town reminds me mostly of a quiet retirement community with a great view. We have made a few good friends here. Emilie and Sam were on a yachting voyage of their own, albeit in a 1988 Chevy Van, and were the only people our age we met in town. We also met a fun group of Gringos in their 60s who seem to be hanging out at all the same places we are. My new best friend is 79 and my neighbor in the anchorage. He's trying to prove that people in their 80s can still sail singlehanded. He's doing pretty well but I've been able to help him out with a few things. I've had a great time listening to his stories and drinking wine with him in his boat's large shaded cockpit. His stories are for the most part, almost too good to be true. I'm really not sure how much they are embellished, but if he's to be believed he is a former US government agent who sailed around the world with his supermodel wife while spying on the russians and exploring lost corners of the globe. I have a feeling the stories are half true, with some gloss added over the years.

The day after we left Gatos, we did some night motoring to make time and I witnessed the best bioluminescent display I've ever seen. Whole strips of sea were lit up without being disturbed, and when the bow wave would cross these plankton stips it would create a green light so bright it would light up the jib with an eerie green glow. Of course the dolphins came to play, right when things were brightest, after the moon had set and the water still glassy. Their forms beneath the water were perfectly lit and when the boat would scare off a school of small fish they would scatter and cause their own lighted trails. The dolphins would tear off after them and you could almost feel it when the dolphin would stirke and hit the fish. It was a memorable night.

Sula will be up on the dirt in storage here in San Carlos and I'll be headed up to Seattle to have a few land adventures and make some more money for the next leg. I'm already excited for the downwind sailing to start again, and to find a few more perfect spots and have a few more perfect days. That may start again in October. I may have a few terrestrial blog entries in the meantime. Thanks everyone who followed along. I've had nothing but support from so many and I appreciate it fully.

Jamie, it was a great trip. The smoothest voyage ever, not a single hitch. I can't think of a better co-captain to have along. Your taquitos will live in infamy. I can't wait for the next mango in the next far off isle. Cheers mate.