Today I fly back to San Francisco. Capt is flying back with me for a few days but will return to Puerto Vallarta and Camanoe and sail single handed to Hawaii around the middle of May.
While a big reason for my return to the states is for work (Mexico is cheap, but eventually I have to make some money), the other big reason is because I committed to traveling and sailing till May. Until the hurricane season. There was always the possibility that I would go home sooner if I hated being away, but when we first started talking about sailing, I was pretty resolute that sailing wouldn’t be something that I’d be able to do forever.
To be honest, I don’t like sailing that much. I appreciate it very much. The idea of being powered by the wind. Skimming through and over the waves of a clear, blue ocean and beautiful sky that goes on forever. It all sounds very romantic. And sometimes it is. But for me, the part of this adventure that appealed and ultimately convinced me to throw caution to the wind and sail with the man I love, was the travel and adventure part. I’m the girl that works too hard. Has every minute and every weekend planned with social events and commitments. I love those events and commitments, but it’s wearing and they’ve tied me down for a long time. Until I got the job eight years ago that I sadly, but also excitedly, left last summer, I really hadn’t travelled at all. I got a small taste of travel on the couple of weeks I’d get off a year where I’d sit on a beach somewhere or go visit friends in other states or even once where I went to Rome and Spain. Those trips made me realize the utter joy I get from stepping foot into a new place. Some place completely foreign to me that I get to explore and figure out.
Or course, the people that know me best are reading this and thinking, “but she has no sense of direction…?” Yes, this is true. But, I think that’s why I have so much fun figuring it out. I am perpetually lost as far as knowing the best way to get from point A to point B, but I do usually end up getting where I need to go. And in the process, I’ve found two or three places that I wouldn’t have discovered if I’d gone the “correct” route. Also, I don’t worry about being lost. I just assume I’m already lost from the get go and keep going until I figure it out.
Mexico was great for this passion of mine. We’d pull into an anchorage and I’d be on the binoculars checking out the businesses on the beach. I’d listen into the morning nets to hear about any cool things going on. I’d read and re-read the guidebooks – what did they recommend?? This difference between all those little, short vacations I took back when I was employed and this eight month long adventure is obviously the time I had to really explore and enjoy. There was not a lot of rushing on our trip, and I really enjoyed feeling like I soaked up all that I needed from each place.
While traveling was great, the sailing, at least for me, was just a way of getting around. A slow way. I am not known for my patience. Poor Capt. I once commented to my mom about some place we were planning to sail to all the next day; I told her it was going to be like going out to Angel Island back home in the SF bay, which takes about a 20 minute ferry ride to get to from Pier 39. “But, that’s not very far,” she said. And I told her, “yeah, but when you sail it still takes like four hours.” And that depends on if the wind is with you.
Camanoe was not built for speed. Dave told me this from the get go. What she lacks in speed she definitely makes up for in comfort and storage and living space. (My mother also once commented on how small Camanoe is. But I forgave her for this comment since she’d never come to look at San Francisco apartments with me). But this doesn’t mean that I enjoyed our all day slow sails. I just accepted it (Dave might object to that statement, but he can write his own darn post).
I don’t think I ever really got the hang of the boat motion. I wasn’t sick often, but I had to think “mind over matter” a lot. I don’t like getting banged from side to side. I never really liked being out of the cockpit while underway so that left Dave to handle sail changes and reefing and anything that required us to leave the cockpit. I can maneuver the boat quite well (if I do say so myself). I feel very confident in being able to “feel the wind” and get us on a point of sail that makes us go the fastest. When the wind vane or the auto tiller pilot weren’t staying on the course Dave set, I would much rather just unhook the contraptions and hand steer than have to get out of the cockpit and mess with them. Dave is a very patient man. Also, because I wasn’t great at being down bellow while underway (due to the motion sickness), I would stay up in the cockpit in the same position behind the wheel for hours on end during all day sails. Sometimes I could read a book as long as I looked up every now and again and made sure there weren’t any pongas ahead. But mostly, I just sat. While some people can’t get over the amazing sea or the beautiful sky, I started to find those things monotonous. Especially on overnight crossings, which brings me to why I’m not going to Hawaii with Dave.
First of all, this is Dave’s dream to do a big crossing and he prefers to do it single-handed. He had the option of doing the puddle jump to the south pacific like some of our other cruising friends have done (Charisma, Convivia, Estrellita), but, then he’d be stuck south waiting for the next season to come back home. We’re hoping, by going to Hawaii he’ll be able to hit the trade winds heading back North towards British Columbia, and then eventually work his way back down the coast to the bay area and me.
Although I’ve had my reservations about his solo trip, I am completely supportive and behind him a 100%. I’ve watched him basically handle Camanoe solo these entire eight months. I may have been there, sitting in the cockpit, looking cute of course, but I wasn’t doing anything beyond semi-helpful. When in large seas and heavy gusts, the man just somehow spouts extra arms. I have no other way of explaining how he can run up and reef the main sail while also sheeting in the jib and steering. Of course I will worry, and of course I will miss him terribly, but I’m excited for him.
It was not even a question if I would go with Dave on the crossing to Hawaii. I do not do well with overnighters. People that have done these crossing have tried to persuade me by explaining that I don’t know how it will be because a two or three-day passage (the longest passages I’ve been on) is much more difficult than getting into the groove of a two or three week passage. They think I’ll get a few days in and just relax and enjoy it. I know I won’t. Dave knows I won’t. I will be miserable. Dave will be miserable because I will be miserable. Do we see where I’m going with this? Dave is excited about this trip. It’s a trip of a lifetime. I am not going, because honestly, I think I’d ruin it for him. And because I don’t want to do it. Very simple.
Where am I going with all of this jibber jabber? I’m going home! 🙂 Oh, but I’m going home 😦 (you really need to say that in a voice ala Phoebe from Friends).
In some ways, I’ve been ready for a long time. I miss my family. I miss my girlfriends. I miss San Francisco. I miss eating at my favorite places and shopping at my favorite stores. I miss having a place to wear a cute dress and some kickass heels. My little niece turned two while I’ve been away and I can’t wait to pick her up and give her a big hug (I’ll just have to ignore her crying as I’m sure she won’t remember me and she’ll feel like I’m a strange woman who is attacking her).
On the other hand, Mexico is fabulous. The food is cheap and yummy. I have loved meandering the small markets and picking up beautiful jewelry or handmade items that speak to me. I will miss the colorful buildings and golden sunsets. I will miss being able to wear flip flops and shorts every day (What? I have to wear pants in the office???) I will miss the friendly people. I have never met so many friendly people. Although most of our cruising friends have left us for other shores or to go back to their own homes, I will miss our camaraderie of knowing how lucky we all are that we got to do this.
I think I will miss the cheap fruit and veggies most of all. But all the food has been awesome and cheap. As Dave told me a couple months ago, he’s never eaten so well. Too bad for my goal of dropping weight on this trip.
I am not looking forward to jumping back into a 90 minute (each way) commute back home. But, in some ways I am. I feel like I’ve been avoiding real life. While nice, it doesn’t sit so well with me. I’d like to think I’m a very grounded person. I like the finer things in life, but my responsible side doesn’t allow me to be frivolous without a means to pay for those things (not to get all astrological, but I am through and through a Taurus. How I’ve been living on the water is beyond me. Must be my stubborn side. Anyway….). We were very cautious of our spending while we’ve been unemployed, but there’s a part of my brain that’s been screaming at me to get back to work and be a participating member of society. In some ways, I feel like I’m overdue for my return to “normal life.” I am sad. I am going to miss this. I am going to try to never forget how special this whole time away has been. But…it’s time.
Adios Mexico. Hasta Luego, Camanoe.
P.S. By the way, Dave will be able to update the blog via our SSB radio while he’s crossing the Pacific – so don’t think this blog is going silent! He won’t be able to post photos or videos, but he’ll be relaying how his trip is going and his position. I will check in here and there and update you on life ashore. This is the Capt and SME adventures blog – that doesn’t mean I have to quit writing just because I’m no longer on the water! I’m sure I’ll find some sort of adventures to blog about and I’ve still got little nuggets about our time in Mexico that I haven’t gotten to yet that I’d like to share with everyone. 🙂