Monday, October 27, 2008

TITANIC (minus the iceberg and the whole wreck… of course!)

This blog is dedicated to both: mon père et mon frère

SO, for those who haven’t heard the rumors, yes indeed, it’s true. Scott and I decided to end the trip in San Diego. We are content with our decision. After much assessments and consideration, we are ready to further our adventures on more solid ground, some place where there is no ice in the fridge, no anchor in the bed, and no 3 mile walk to ANYWHERE (even if its just , oh-you know… going to the washroom). Hum, let see, where did I leave you last…

From San Luis Obispo, our aim was to set out to the Cojo Anchorage. It happens that Point Conception is in the center of those two destinations. This point has been known to be quite gnarly if not pass at a convenient window of appropriate weather condition. It is our last overnight trip. By now, Scott as acquired a kind of aversion for traveling at night. You would too if you would have seen the bottom of a cooler one too many times! Luckily for us, Mother Ocean decided to be flat as a pond. Although, it seems we were too distracted the notice the sea’s charity. We are intensely looking at giant oil contraption that are laid out in a line up, each a couple miles from each other, every single one coming right out of Star Wars. A kind of irony set in; how such colossal man-made rigs could be implemented in the great ocean life seem so wrong in almost a troublesome way.

In the morning, we discover the Cojo Anchorage is right in front of a surf spot. Imagine a version of every surfer’s dream. Scott is jubilant, he’s at the “ranch” (I didn’t know either but it’s a famous surf spot).As we paddle over and back, I stop to let a dolphin or two pass. I try not to paranoid; wild dolphin (3 times my size) would never be unfriendly or unexpectedly transform into ferocious white shark… right?! After surf and breakfast we realize the boredom of being confine to a (very small) boat. I mean, there is so much napping, snaking and reading one can do. The next morning, the waves decide to leave, as do we. Santa Barbara awaits us.

Santa Barbara Harbor is busier than expected; sailboats, motor boats, fishing boats, not to forget wind and kite surfers that pass so close, we can almost smell there cologne. After being anchored for too many days, being tied to a dock feels more like a Ritz Carleton than a Marina. There, we took in the striking away of mountain tops in a city were people’s cheek don’t move (botox?) and were every second car is a Range Rover. After 2 days in prosperous land, off we go again. Destination-Oxnard.

Now this trip is exciting as it is celebrated by not having to wear our foul weather gear, a sort of baptism to Southern California. Upon arrival, we go surfing. FINALLY, Oxnard has waves for me (a version of every beginner’s dream). I can surf for real (minus a couple of wipe-outs but who’s counting!). My dad was in a neighborhood and came for a visit. How nice it was to talk to a familiar face, to have good conversation and fine food!

The next day, we are ready to leave Oxnard for Marina Del Rey. A less than 10 knots wind turns into 35 knot full force one, right in front of us. Buckets of water are getting into the boat as we’re both drench, covered with salt stains. We’ve given up on the weather a long time ago, so we let it go and turn around. Our second attempt is better. The sunset is upon us. Dolphins are everywhere, jumping in herds from all places. But unlike last time, the water is clear, clean with no wake. Night is upon us. Scott goes to the bow and hurries for me to come. For balance, I hold on to the front of the boat and in turn Scott holds me. There they are- dolphins. Dolphins of every size, jumping and going along with the boat. We can almost touch them as they splash on our faces. They propel and catapult there body in the air sometime showing there fins, other times their belly. But even more miraculous is the fluorescent lights they create. No worries, no burden could gravitate around this Titanic moment. Rose and Jack would have killed for this! In this instant, we might just have been the Kings ( and Queens) of the world. As I recall, it was pure, joyous and simple. This was undoubtedly, one of the many experiences that make this trip unforgettable.

In some ways, it is hard to end this sailing trip. Let’s face it, moments like these don’t happen at home while watching Flipper (or Titanic for that matter) on your sofa. But ending is not so hard because here is to being real, true and unashamed. Life is filled with endless, countless, INFINITE possibilities of creating the unthinkable…. and THAT’S the real freedom of it all.

p.s: P’a et Alexi: I don’t need a blog to embrace you in my adventures. In case you already didn’t know, you are ALWAYS part of my most profound and everyday inspirations.

Till next time… xoxo

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Cooler? Or a Bucket?

Most of us have things. Things lying in our house, things cram in the closets or even things crowded in our cars. Well, in a boat, there is none of that. It’s either you need it and or you don’t. Space is precious here, and after a month you realize what you REALLY need. By “really” I mean utterly, absolutely, entirely, for-sure, COMPLETELY need. So, we figure out that there were only about 3 things not needed on this boat; Scott’s drill (dunno a nail from a screw so that’s obviously not my fault!), a cooler (is empty and apparently ALWAYS in our way) and that black cute fancy black dress hanging at the dead end of the tiny weenie closet of ours (what was a thinking? Twister is obviously NOT a cruise ship!). Regardless of our little, but surprisingly cozy living arrangement, we have now drifted across many gorgeous Californians beach towns….

Starting from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay; at only 20 nautical miles away, it was an “easy, breezy” ride. Half Moon Bay is a typical touristy town, with friendly bus driver (he stopped for us in the middle of the highway!) and good surf (judge by you know who). The next day is off to the known to be “cool” Santa Cruz. Despite doing a great deal of long distance marathon walking (please understand that the boat is not towing a car), we had time to thoroughly visit the surrounding. We stayed longer than expected due to gale winds raging in the nearby water, but it didn’t matter. The marina was really clean, quiet and quaint. While Scott went to surf (even spotted some professional surfer) I went to do yoga (they have the funkiest and nicest studio here). By Saturday, it was just a little hop-over (20 miles) to Monterey, where we had awesome sail with gigantic swell. There, we met 3 fellow Canadian boats, all going South. As of yet, we are still the youngest and smallest boat doing this, but at least we are not alone. By the next day, we were once again ready to leave, for a longer, overnight trip, this time destination- Morro Bay.

The seas where supposed to be quite calm and steady but instead it is the rockiest it has been. The winds are pulling 25 knots at their peak. By now, we are used to sailing in strong wind but the shakiness makes everything awkward. It’s terrible; Scott is the most sea sick I have yet seen him. The sea can be traitorous like that sometime. As we are complaining about the bumpy and uncomfortable ride, a dolphin jumps out of the water. WoW! Then another and one more… There are 2 and sometime 3 jumping rhythmically with the boat; near the bow then near the berth. And suddenly, you realize there are at least 50 all around you! There are just like rockets, like a flash. Are we daydreaming? But no, it’s really happening, and happening so fast! And surely, as fast as they came, as promptly they are gone. Yeah- the sea can be quite glorious like that sometime.

It’s well past nine pm now. I am extending my shift for Scott to rest a tad more. There is nothing left in him. At midnight, we finally decide not to make the overnight and to anchor in San Simeon. It is a bright, almost full moon, and its brilliance is quite appreciated as we make our entrance into the Cove. The next morning, I inquire to my patient, will he survive? I sure think he manages to see the good side of things, when is answer: “Well, at least now that cooler finally served a purpose!”. (Hint: guess where is dinner went?) : ) hee!hee!

The sail from San Simeon to Morro Bay was calm and gorgeous. The Coast is obviously more desert-like now. The humongous Morro Rock on the entrance to the jetty is impressive (as well as the amount of bird pooh that rest on it). After some good taco’s Scott is right back to normal and even decides to go have a run ( that’s 100% recovery for you), while I tell him to just do that while I go have a nap!

As I write this we are in Port St. Luis Obispo. We’ve just arrived from a fine long hike to Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort where we indulged in some a Hot Springs baths that are situated outdoor on the edge of mountain nearby….Paradise! As I lay there, in sizzling, hot bath am thinking who knew a cooler would ever be THAT useful?!? Dang!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

So long San Fransisco!

“Your smile is practically irrepressible today” said my horoscope. That’s right, I have had a bad hair day for approximately a month (not bringing a blow dryer on this trip was the biggest mistake of my life). But hey! It’s true, my smile as been pretty consistent since we cruised under the Golden Gate bridge. Oui, oui, you heard me well. We left Fort Bragg, did an overnighter, and when I woke up, you could barely see IT. The “it” being referred to as the all-time landmark of San Francisco and California itself: the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge. It was a little victory for Scott and I, as San Francisco is a giant marker in our trip. If anything, we knew that, from then on, thing would and will get … warmer.

We spent the whole week in San Francisco. Who wouldn’t? The place is full of tourist (90% German’s I swear!!), full of hills, full of venue’s to attend- just full, full, full! The vicinity is booming, young, rich and fun. Its hills, cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf and China Town are just a few bits and pieces of what makes San Francisco awesome. Scott went to surf with the big boys in Ocean Beach. I told myself I could have been more gutsy but I swallowed back my words when a saw a few grown up man twice my size not making it through the whitewash (at this point ,a newspaper and coffee was much more inviting). Later it was my turn to battle the unruly waves of Rockaway Beach in Pacifica. It’s a bit dispiriting; even after a year, I am still learning the thrill of surfing- paddling, not falling… you know, all that jazz ( oh man… at least I try!). Luckily my dignity was revived at yoga (where I know a bit more of what am doing!). I got taught by Mary Jarvis, one of the first Bikram followers, she utterly forbids water in the class- that might sound like nothing but when you’re sweating buckets you might just think she’s the devil!

On the week-end we had the pleasure to experience San Francisco’s never seen “LOVE FEST” ( du jamais-vu!). At noon on a Saturday, San Franciscan’s seemed under a fake drunken spell of eccentric costume, lingerie ‘a la Moulin Rouge’ and pre-Halloweenesque glory- all of this in the name of love (WOW!). Scott and I, perched on the top of a newspaper stand had prime seat as we were taking it all in; the silliness of this wild parade of sounds which featured the town’s best DJ’s. To top it all off, we attended a 49ers game. They lost, but who cares really when Scott was content enough eating a gigantic Bratwurst and I could almost see the delicious Tom Brady (will never beat Matt Damon - but at least this time it was the real thing and not a Coast Guard replica of it!).

On our departure, it was interesting to note that our previous excitement was nearly inexistent as we went under the Golden Gate Bridge again. We understood that it would be impossible to recreate the first feeling of triumph, the initial anticipation of conquest.

So long San Francisco! You were, if I say the least, utterly FANTASTIC.

p.s : Pictures are now posted on FACEBOOK!!!

p.p.s : I want to thanks all of you guys again for the lovely comments!!