September 27, 2010

Last week was hard. I’m not sure what aspect of the work/life package was hardest, but it wasn’t just me. The whole family was under strain. By Friday I knew we needed a reset. “We’re going sailing tomorrow,” I told Vick as we were cleaning up from dinner.

Saturday morning, we all woke up early and got moving. I’m glad we didn’t set the timer because the clean-up may have taken more than one hour. Still by 11ish we were ready to get under way. I was fiddling with something on deck when our friend and fellow cruiser Carl stopped by. “You guys going out today?” he asked. “Yup, probably out to the Gate and back, it looks like a great day for it, want to come along?” “No thanks, we’re going out too. After I pick Christina up, we’re going to drop anchor at Clipper Cove, do you want to go too?” At this point I’m thinking, “Victoria would never go for this.” but when she popped her head out and asked what we were talking about I implored Carl to talk her into it. I was relieved when I noticed the signs of her wheels turning as she figured out what we would need to do to get ready. “I guess we’ll need ice,” she finally said.

I was howling with joy inside, but I just put on my getting things done air and picked up the pace. I ran up to the van to get the bigger anchor. Within an hour we were on the water enjoying the calmest day I can recall. The breeze was fresh, about 5-8knots and the boat was routinely beating the windspeed.

Around mid day we got hailed by Carl and Christina and arranged to meet just west of Treasure Island. Moments later Todd and Susan of Sugata hailed us and let us know that they would also be joining our merry flotilla in Clipper Cove. By 3pm we were all anchored and ship shape(ish) and the socializing began. We took a quick trip over to Bamboleiro to arrange our dinner plans, and then zipped over to Sugata (who was rafted with another friend for the night). We enjoyed a glass of wine and Ruby got right to business playing with the big girls. When we had to leave to start dinner, Susan offered to watch Ruby for a bit. As we pulled away Vick commented that leaving our kids on nearly stranger’s boats is one of the things that most resonates with her about cruising. I heartily agree.

The one shortfall of the weekend turned out to teach us a great lesson. Our new batteries hadn’t yet arrived and we knew that we couldn’t run the refer, but when we discovered that that manual water pump had failed, we realized that lights at night might mean no water in the morning. We opted to err on the side of caution and went practically electricity-free for nearly 24 hours. The lesson: We don’t need electricity to be happy and comfortable. This weekend will doubtless have a significant impact on our Big Trip planning, as we shed even more of our perceived needs.

We had an awesome lamplit improve potluck with the Bamboleiro crew (I was introduced to pork loin) and managed to get the kids both to sleep without having to send our guests off. The warm easy conversation lasted until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer and we reluctantly conceded that it was time to call it a night.

The next morning we woke up, made an awesome egg and sausage breakfast and then I took the kids to the beach so Vick could recharge. We had a blast building sand things and sailing Miles’ new toy sailboat. A few hours later we joined up with Carl and Christina again as they paddled their kayak in circles around us as we struggled to keep pace. After a simple lunch we decided to motor straight home, just in case the starter battery only had one kick left in it.

Coming back is never fun but this weekend was so completely joyful and satisfying that I don’t think any of us minded being back in our slip. Plus, in two weeks, we’ll be off to Monterrey Bay for a 2.5 week cruise.


  1. Comment by Amanda As A Bee

    Amanda As A Bee October 4, 2010 at 8:37 am

    This sounds completely enjoyable! Re: living without power, I know it can be done. We’re on a dock right now without power and our batteries do not hold a charge for more than a couple days, so everything is done without power. The propane stove, the diesel heater, oil lamps. We’re looking at installing foot pumps for the water because carrying our water aboard is getting to be a pain. Good for you for going out there even when there are still projects to do! Sounds like a great community you got going on there.

    • Comment by admin

      admin October 6, 2010 at 3:25 pm

      I totally missed your comment until just now! Our community is really awesome here. Sadly some good friends are heading south this month and we can’t follow them.

      As for living without electricity, its totally doable, and possibly more so on a boat (as you are discovering) than on land. For general living though, I do prefer a little internet and more than just a headlamp to wash dishes by so I was quite happy to get my new batteries before we head out on our little shakedown trip. That said, I’m not sure I would let it slow me down if I had somewhere to be.

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