Catalina: Avalon to Catalina Harbor

December 29, 2009

My face and belly are radiating that kind of inside out warmth that comes from a day of doing all ones favorite things. I don’t mean to lead my readers to believe that today was easy.  The children were on again off again unmanageable and Victoria was regularly overwrought by her prognostication that, due to said children, and an unfortunately poor choice of words on my part the night before, she didn’t know if “this was going to work.” (She was of course referring to the Big Trip.) Normally when my family is assaulted by this severe a maelstrom I am emotionally and pragmatically debilitated for the duration. The whole of my attention is consumed trying to determine what I am going to do about it.

Today was different. Something about the 10-15 knots of wind,  steady 4-5 knots of speed over water, and a 20-30º heel put my spirits out of reach of my family problems. That is not to say that I was detached from the problems, but I was able to approach it with more emotional autonomy. The elation that my environment and physical situation provided allowed me to engage every situation with an imperturbable calm. I skipped gently from one endeavor to the next, balancing sail, nutrition, nurture, discipline and joy with a finesse I didn’t know I was capable of.  I wouldn’t say that it was easier than any other day, but I felt significantly less bad about everything as it was happening, and by the end of the day we had a harmonious family again.

And the sailing was ideal. We turned off the engine as soon as we left Avalon and sailed around the eastern point of Catalina and as far as Mill’s Landing before I was forced to turn the engine back on (we had too much ground to cover before dark). The sky was nearly cloudless, and the ocean was emerald green and turquoise for much of the time under sail.  The motoring was assisted by wind and we pulled close to 8 knots all the way to Catalina Harbor. Along the way we were  visited by more seals and porpoises, though they didn’t seem to be as curious about us on this side of the island.

We arrived in Catalina Harbor just as the sun was setting. Tonight, as with every other night on this trip, the sunset was gorgeous.  I watched it with split attention as I also kept an eye on Ruby watching a 5 year old girl from a neighboring boat try to row over to us. She tried valiantly for ten or so minutes before accepting a tow back to her parents sailboat. We heard later that there are four or five other girls Ruby’s age in this harbor. So I suppose I’m only nearly as excited as Ruby to see what tomorrow brings.

The boat and ocean are quiet now. All of my people are sleeping soundly as I record the events of this memorable day. My body aches from exertion, and my mind and emotional body are strained from the exposure to new ideas and a rigorous workout. This kind of full being exhaustion  promises a thorough  sleep. With any luck all of those “muscles” will arise tomorrow with more mass.

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