Mom is to Blame and What I Found in the Sea Today

15 May

Day 143/21

Noon Position: 35 09S 158 07W

Course/Speed: 0/0

Wind: WNW2

Bar: 1029, steady

Sea: SW4

Sky: Clear

Cabin Temperature: 74

Water Temperature: 66

Sail: Sails down; drifting last hour

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 106

Miles this leg: 2,643

Avg. Miles this leg: 126

Miles since departure: 19,887

Mom would not admit it, but she is partly responsible for my aquatic wanderlust. “How could this be,” she would ask, “when I told you never to sail that little ketch you had outside the San Francisco Bay?

But will she recall that going out the Golden Gate the first time was her idea?

I learned to sail in highschool. Then our family had a small sloop on which we explored the San Joaquin River on weekends, and the San Francisco Bay during summer vacations. We never went beyond the Golden Gate Bridge except once, when Mom thought it would be fun to sail to Half Moon Bay, a small fishing town about 20 miles down coast.

Dad, the retired Merchant Sea Captain, was cautious. “It’s not protected, like the bay,” he said. But my sister and I were game, and Mom won-out because she thought it would be fun to see new territory.

It was July. We departed early from the Corinthian Yacht Club at Dad’s insistence, motoring out under the bridge and past Mile Rock at dawn where we picked up a light northwesterly.

Beyond the protection of Point Bonita, we began to encounter our first ocean swell, not large, but lumpy and fast where it rode in over the bar. I remember mom looking at dad with worry. She’d never seen the ocean up close before.

We continued out to sea until the pilot station before turning south, by which time the day was mature. What morning fog there had been had long ago burned off, and now, running before a softening wind under a brilliant sun, it was downright hot.

The bridge receded; got small and low on the horizon in a way that was disconcerting; the city also now looked small and very far away; not even big enough for a post card. And the sea continued to heave. Soon we began to feel queasy. Even dad had a saltine cracker. “Dear Gussy, but this swell is just terrible,” said Mom.

Half Moon Bay wasn’t much to see, a few restaurants and a small marina. We anchored only one night and motored directly back to the protection of San Francisco Bay the next morning.

But lying in my bunk that night I could still feel the sea’s undulation; I could hear the call of the sea buoys out beyond the spit. I could hear the call.

So you see, Mom was really this sailor’s inspiration.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

Windless again by noon. Even the spinnaker gave up and collapsed on deck, panting for want of wind. I stowed it and the main and we drifted with the downed Albatrosses, of which there were five in view on the water at one point.

Monte: What are you doing?

Randall: Science.

Monte: Looks like fishing to me, but your net is too small. Senior, I insist that you will not catch dinner with that.

Randall: Not looking for dinner. Looking to see what’s here.

One of the joys of being becalmed (no, the only joy of being becalmed) is that you get to see details missed when the boat has a head of steam.

Mo made maybe one knot of drift, and as I peered over the side, I could see: egg pods shaped like peas, like lozenges, like ameba. I could see tiny sapphire jellies and infant Man-o-War. I rigged a net at the end of a boat hook and brought some aboard. All collected into a jar for detailed inspection.

Here is what I found.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


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