Sunday, November 20, 2011

Catching Up On Blogs...The Beginning of Baja Ha Ha!

So, here we are happily installed in Marina de La Paz, enjoying a couple weeks of down time before making our way down the Mexican coast. I thought I would take this opportunity to catch up on blogs covering where we have been and previous observations. First up, San Diego and the beginning of the Baja Ha Ha cruiser's rally. The rally is a race sponsered by Latitude 38 magazine and is basically a bunch of boats who sail down to Cabo San Lucas together from Ocotber 23rd - November 4th. It's a good time and not a hard core competitive race...although I was reminded by my male counterparts over and over again, that it is ALWAYS a race! There are beach parties, baseball games, potlucks and many other social events along the way.

I guess I should mention that I was offered a database training job at Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City (that could be a whole other blog!) the week before we left. So with the intention of increasing our sailing kitty, I hopped on a plane at LAX and left the Floating Frat House unsupervised for a week. Captain Ben and his deckhands made their way down to San Diego in my absence. I am convinced there were no vegetables consumed and no underwear worn....but sometimes you just gotta let guys be guys! They had a blast!

I also enjoyed my time working with the nurses and medical staff at the prison, but mostly appreciated the post work solitary confinement in a Crescent City motel. Living on a boat makes me appreciate the little luxuries found on land. The toilet that flushes - not pumped, a large bed with crisp white sheets, the fresh water flowing endlessly out of the sink and shower - without the concern of how much is left in the tanks....and last, but not least, a television with cable!!! Every night after work, I stopped by the local Safeway and picked up a bottle of wine (ok...yeah, and some chocolate). Needless to say I was a happy camper!

At the end of the week, I flew back to San Diego to reunite with my crew. Imagine my surprise as I descended the escalator and spotted my family waiting there to welcome me home. It still makes me smile thinking about it! We hopped a shuttle back to the marina and I moved back aboard our little home, rejuvenated and excited about our adventure ahead.

Now, have you ever had a picture in your mind of what future events will look like, especially a dream you may have? The people, the conversations, the smells, the setting...all vivid and alive as you dream of it? Then the moment comes of the reality manifesting. I returned to San Diego full of enthusiasm and wonder about our future sail down to Cabo San Lucas. This would involve my longest ocean passage, three nights and four days at sea. The reality had some familiarity of my dream, yet other parts were quite different, leaving me feeling a bit uncertain.

Needless to say, I was a bit apprehensive and scared of what this would entail. However, I tend to deal with these emotions with humor and the overwhelming desire to spill my guts. As our dear friend, Chris Lowry (a seasoned Kiwi sailor who has sailed around the world on his self built boat) said to Ben after meeting me while we were dating, "Well, mate! She's about as open as a garage door!". So I was a bit perplexed when I encountered people in our marina, the laundromat, market, and other places that were simply uptight, rude and not at all interested in an extended conversation. I remember thinking, "uh-oh, these are the people I will meet during our trip?".

After a tenuous and strained encounter in the marina laundry room, I was talking to Ben how I was really bummed about the people I was meeting. They all seemed so uptight, anal and generally unhappy. He laughed and shared some insight, "you know, a lot of these people have waited years to do this, spent their life savings and it's their first time to venture out like this. They are as scared and freaked out as you! It’s just that other people don’t want to talk about it like you!”.

Ben wasn't a cruising virgin like me, so I hadn't understood the range of emotions I would experience and how we would approach this from different perspectives (male vs. female, virgin vs. slut, mom vs. dad). He was steadfast and relaxed (although sometimes cranky) about our impending journey and I was....well....freaked out! And not only was it just me, I dragged along two unsuspecting children that I loved dearly.

I slowly realized that I wasn't the only one feeling this way and reminded myself that everybody deals with stress and life changing events differently. I tend to mask my fear with humor and eventually become a blubbering idiot, revealing my precarious emotional state. Funny how Ben's insight changed my perspective and allowed me to be more neutral to other people’s state of being and coping skills.

From then on, I used a little bit of humor and then got right down to it....."dang, this is freakin' me out! I've never done a three night passage. I'm nervous as all get out right now!.

I was amazed at the response. I could see relief in some people's faces (mostly my fellow less experienced female sailors) as I revealed my worries and in turn they were able to say, "Oh, crap! I feel the same way!" or words of encouragement from more experienced sailors. There is something freeing about putting yourself out there and not really giving a damn what other people think. They either look at you like you’re crazy (this is a more common reaction to me) or you discover something in common and begin a friendship.

As we made our way down the coast of Baja my stressed fellow sailors, became gregarious, enthused and relaxed. It was a huge explosion and release of tension, similar to waiting in line for a roller coaster. There is the anticipation, wringing of hands and then finally strapping yourself in to experience the exhilaration of the dips, twists and turns. You get off the ride feeling happy, content and relieved. (there is another metaphor involving sex that I could use, but perhaps not appropriate to put in writing here…..see there I go again, talking about things I shouldn’t!!).

Check back soon for the scoop on our first stop, Turtle Bay and the three night passage. Until then here are some pics. I apologize for the formatting, Blogspot is a pain to upload pics on!


Leaving San Diego Bay with all of the other Baja Ha-Ha boats (approximately 160).

Jedi Knight J.P. contemplating our departure. Several of the other boats wore their costumes from the previous day's Kick-off Party.

Kind of crowded heading out to sea!

3 night, 4 day ocean passage requires LOTS of board games!

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