24 September 2013

Day 9 - To The Cruising Life!

Sunday September 22, 2013

I woke up with the boat speeding through the ocean. We were, for the first time really sailing. What I mean by that is what you see in the movies, the boat is tilted sideways, the water is splashing in from the right side (starboard) and you can barely see the water on the left (port) side.

Thrilling! The winds were very strong and we were making very good time to Victoria, which was a good thing, because we are still in a rush to beat the winds that will come from the South in about 2 days -- ETA Tuesday.

Down wind sailing
Yes, thrilling, but after 5 hours of that thrilling all I could ask was for "less trill please!" Of course, it was tiresome, but still the most beautiful sailing day for me, sunny, whales splashing every so often on the horizon, flying fish flying again from one wave to another.

While I am enjoying the sun and the view, John is brushing up on his celestial navigation skills. He came out onto the dock holding a sextant and then down and up several times, to calculate our precise location using this old fashion method. It also involves several hours of mathematical calculations. We certainly have our differences when it comes for ways to pass the time.

Of course, all I had to do were dishes after lunch -- canned salmon sandwiches. John on the other hand is getting tired.

On Watch

“To the cruising life”, that is our every day Happy Hour toast, but the cruising life is in reality a busy way of life: always fixing, replacing, mending, cleaning something on the boat, and that is when we are sailing! When we are on shore or anchored, there is the other fixing, replacing, mending and cleaning that cannot be done when the boat is in sailing motion. Ah, I almost forgot... when we are sailing, there are also the sails, and the anchoring and the mooring and the putting the masts up and down, the tying of several ropes and lines, etc, etc, etc,.

It's rougher than it looks

Because of his strength, intelligence, vigor and extremely good looks, John was chosen over me to do all the chores except the dishes (and even then, he sometimes does them... he’s the best!)

Well, he is tired. I guess it is because he has been on call non-stop for a week. I am useless to do anything on the boat, mostly because the things that have to be done, have to be done now, no time to explain or teach. It seems that when something has to be done there is always the sense of urgency.

Our two nights and one day of sailing is coming to an end. We will be in Victoria in about 4 hours and the wind changed so the sails have to be adjusted.

I was send down bellow, Eric is shouting orders to John (the wind is very loud) and it seems pretty hectic actions to me. But I am sure (hope) they know what they are doing. Looks and sounds very dangerous. From my seat I can see John wrestling with some ropes and suddenly I see John being thrown on his back, this rope swinging full force against him and his glasses (prescription) ties and all flown overboard.

At this point John cannot see anything and he scrambled down to find his sunglasses and a strap, Eric is shouting for him to come back quickly because “we are very, very vulnerable!!!! Hurry, hurry!!!”.

OMG, after the sails are adjusted, I take an inventory of John’s face. The right side of his face has either rope burns or the glasses hit him on their way overboard, his left temple has a bit of bruising also. We apply some Neosporin and start thinking about what happened and what are we going to do about the glasses.

It’s night, slight drizzle and we are trying to enter the Vitoria harbor. We are surrounded by tankers and reefs. Moving very, very  slowly, John is steering the boat (with his tropical dark sun glasses on), I am in charge of looking for things such as rocks, small boats, buoys and flashing red and green lights and monitoring the depth reader, Eric below is looking at radar and GPS trying to stir us around the reef.

It has been 2 hours and I am cold. I do have a foul weather gear on, but only the top and my body from my waist down is completely wet and getting wetter by the waves crashing against the side of the boat where I am standing/sitting/crouching. I am wearing sailing gloves for a better grip, but they are wet and my hands are cold and wrinkled. Frequently, John asks for paper towels to wipe his glasses.

Have you ever faced a giant tanker moving swiftly towards you? Gladly, we neither, but they were moving all around us and several times we had to steer about 90 degrees to make sure we were out of their way. Just before we enter the harbor we notice a gigantic shadow of a tanker being towed across us. We waited some more.

We were hoping to dock at the yacht club, but we couldn’t find/see it. Anchoring by the beach was the obvious solution. Oh, I was sooo looking forward to that hot shower. Oh well, it will have to wait until tomorrow. Tonight, John is not the only one tired.

Next Episode:  Roger That

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