The hardest part of cruising is leaving the dock. It doesn’t matter if you’re going out for an afternoon sail, for a month or two of living on the hook, or crossing an ocean, there is always a bit of angst as the moment approaches.
Did we remember everything? Will all the equipment work? Will the weather hold? Will there be any more hurricanes this season? Do we have enough books on our Kindles? Is there enough beer?
The items on our to do list have (almost) all been checked off. The engine and equipment have been checked. The rigging has been inspected, and the sails are on. The laundry is done and the fridge is full. We’ve checked and downloaded the weather and updated software.
Since arriving as newbies in 2013, we’ve learned a lot and gotten to know and love the many bays and islands in the Sea. Now in our fourth year we feel like old hands, reciting off chart names easily, knowing where to anchor for each forecast, recognizing familiar faces and favorite anchorages. Even though it feels like coming home, there is still so much to see and experience. We still want to swim with the whale sharks, catch more Dorado and Wahoo, meet more friends and rekindle old friendships, learn the names of the reef fish, help a turtle make it to the ocean, learn more Spanish so that we can really communicate and just settle into a life of ahhhh…that perfect rhythm that is called cruising.
This departure is a relatively easy one, as long as Murphy stays behind on the dock! For our first few nights out we’ll be staying just a short distance away, on either Isla Espiritu Santo or Isla Partida, the islands just north of La Paz. We’ll find a spot to anchor and officially begin our fourth season in the Sea of Cortez.
I am reminded of our first departure from the dock back in March 2013. We had been getting ready for our bon voyage for six months, but Murphy reared his ugly head and we were back in the marina in a matter of days to fix a broken throttle cable. That first month out was truly a shakedown cruise, as every piece of equipment seemed to want its moment of attention. Luckily we always seemed to be in a semi-convenient place when something broke, so the fixes were frustrating but not safety issues.
Another departure that sticks in my mind is when we left Ketchikan headed for San Francisco. I remember walking the docks giving last-minute hugs to our friends, sending last emails to family back home, and looking at the gray skies and gun-metal seas. I had some serious butterflies as I got onboard and we untied the lines. Thankfully it was a safe and relatively pleasant journey, albeit a long one!
So here we go again, sailing off into the wild blue. It will be so nice to drop the hook tomorrow, jump into the warm water, and settle into the quiet of another sunset at sea. Ahhhhhh….toss those lines, let’s go!