(apologies to readers on the late post – I just discovered this post which had gotten lost in my email)
It was embarrassing and thank goodness Geoff didn’t have his camera. But that was only the beginning.
However, before we get to that, we should say that we stopped by and met the only other boat in the cove and they were another Tayana 37. Chris and JoAnn on Mariposa from Port Townsend, WA. They have been down here a year and are in full on “cruising mode”. That is to say that they are having a blast and not worried about where they are going tomorrow. They were kind enough to invite us aboard and we spent a delightful hour with them seeing how they set up their boat. All too soon we had to leave as Cabo San Jose, was our destination for today and we had to get moving if we were to get there before dark.
Upon leaving their boat, we took a quick detour to the beach so the Supreme Commander could say he set foot on said beach. Well, set foot I did. And knees. And arms. And body. And eventually, FACE. Yup, upon leaping valiantly off the dinghy to pull us into the beach, I tripped in the surf and went down. Totally splashed face on the sand landing. Oh well. As I said above, at least there are no pictures.
The even bigger event though came about as we went to stretch our legs a bit before setting out for a day long sail. Geoff sprinted up the sand dunes and I followed, not sprinting. About halfway up I looked back and saw that a big wave had dislodged the dinghy from its perch on the beach and it was, uh oh, floating! I started running back toward the boat when I noticed it was not just floating down the beach, but heading straight out with the wind. If left unchecked, its next stop would have been approximately the Galapagos Islands. I sprinted across the sand, possibly not actually touching down I was running so hard (OK, I know that’s hard to imagine that 270 lbs of Supreme Commander is that light-footed, but…I digress). I thought I’d catch it in the surf, but it was moving too fast being pushed by the gusting wind. As soon as I entered the surf zone, I realized (fully clothed; albeit just shorts, tee shirt, hat and sunglasses, shoes long ago being stored somewhere) I’m going to have to swim for it. I started sprinting my best freestyle (less style, more free). I was still not catching the dinghy that was doing its best imitation of the Great Escape. As I was swimming out, all I could think was that after sprinting a hundred yards into the deep water after sprinting a previous hundred yards on the beach; if I didn’t catch the dinghy to have something to hang onto I’d be in biiiiggg trouble. Adrift and exhausted without a dinghy. I had to catch it. So I swam faster. I don’t know if I really swam faster, of if there was a lull in the wind, but I caught it. The next problem was I was too exhausted to climb in. So, using my rusty former lifeguard sidestroke, I slowly swam back to the beach towing the recalcitrant dinghy. Finally got into shallow water and thankfully I was able to stand for a moment and catch my breath. Whew! I would like to avoid that from happening again. Ah, the cruising life. Exploding Manta Rays and sneaky, adventurous dinghies.
Speaking of the Galapagos where my dinghy would apparently like to visit, the other night we had a Galapagos-like encounter with a seal who seemed bent on mayhem. It was dark (“Christ, there we were…”) after dinner and we were sitting in the cockpit watching the moon, when this huge seal came blasting up and barked at us. We jumped up (partly in fright at the sudden commotion) and looked, but the disturbance had disappeared. As we were looking, up it popped on the other side of the boat and barked again, then dived. This went on for a time. We would look one direction, Mr Seal would dive and come up behind us. Seemed like a kind of a seal “peek-a-boo” game. We’re not sure if it was just playing, wanted a hand out, or whether it was eying the dinghy for a resting place for the night (maybe they were planning to go to the Galapagos together!) We pulled it in close to the boat just in case. I guess we spoiled its fun, as the game ended once the dinghy came in and we brought out the flashlights.
So to end today’s report; we tested R2D2 (that’s our name for the tiller pilot since it’s electro-mechanical and makes a noise like a robot; ert, rrrt, riggnt, rrrrt, ert). Yesterday, we fabricated a little mini-vane to go on top of the monitor that the tiller pilot, er R2D2 attaches to. It’s for us to use when we’re motoring and there’s not enough wind to activate the wind vane mechanism. You set Charisma on course, then turn R2D2 on and it (he?) pushes the wind vane stub one way or the other. This action in turn turns the trim tab in the water, which then swings from the force of the water to one side or the other and in turn turns Charisma’s wheel. It’s a Rube Goldberg contraption to be sure, but works like a charm. We motored for five hours today and didn’t have to touch the wheel. Once we set R2D2 he took care of everything leaving us free to read and watch out that we don’t run into something (he can steer to a compass course, but can’t see a thing).
So that’s it for today. Thanksgiving tomorrow, (it is Wednesday as I write this). We’ll miss everyone, but will make a special dinner and drink a toast to one and all. Our job for Thursday is going to town and stocking up groceries for the trip North (Rum, wine, beer, you know, the essentials). If weather permits, we’ll leave early Friday and round the Cape.
Watch some football for us!