08/17/2012, The Good out weights the bad
Sure there are crazy people out there that will send you emails and post comments that make you question the sanity of man, but even with all the negative comments and emails I've received over the years, sharing our adventures though our blog has been actually been part of the fun, rather than an after thought. All the time things happen or we have a conversation that makes Lori and I pause and say, "we should post that on the blog", knowing that our internet family of friends and followers would like hearing about the experience or our thoughts on the matter. The friends we have made both in and out of the cruising community through our blog is simply amazing and too numerable to count. I'm also lucky enough to get a chance to meet many of our readers when I travel to the boat shows.
As we are currently motoring past the offshore oil platform Hermosa on our way back to our Port San Luis mooring, I have to ask myself, where in the world has the last 4 years gone? Looking around the local area it feels like we have only been away for 4 mouths rather than 4 years. And here you have the number one reason that makes it worth keeping up a sailblog, because no matter how long you stay out, how many great experiences you have, or how many great people you meet, one day it will be over and if your memory is anything like mine, you will smile as you go back and read your own words from years ago and remember little details of the trip you've forgotten in the bigger memory. Maybe you don't want to share your thoughts with the world on a blog and that's ok, but make a point then of keeping a daily journal during your cruise. I think it's fair to say that our blog, the memories and adventures it chronicles, has more meaning and importance to us than to our readers.
While we were in the cruise planning mode, we found inspiration and lots of valuable information by following those who had gone before and were already there. While I'm certainly not an expert on Cruising, Boating, Sailing, Parenting, and countless other topics we hope that over the years a little valuable information has found it's way to the blog. And as I say all the time, if someone like me can pull off the adventure that we did...so can you, if that is what you want to do. Knowing that what we were doing seemed so "out there" by conventional standards it was always one of my goals on the blog to demystify and make it seem less crazy, yes, but also doable. Posting our Cost of Cruising numbers was part of that, but also just in talking about our daily living and the fact that we had no idea most of the time what we were doing...heck...that's OK...most cruisers Don't either!
08/16/2012, And they Read and Comment on Blogs
As the ships clock chimed 8AM, 150ft of nicely regalvanized anchor chain came screaming out of the anchor windlass and after Lori applied full power in reverse, the 84 hour run was happily - mercifully over. Since leaving Ensenada Monday evening at 8PM, we have motored straight with only the 2 hour stop at the Customs Dock in San Diego to check into the Country. The crew was certainly ready to not hear and feel the vibration of our 120Hp Ford Lehman motor purring away under the salon floor. This is our first stay at Santa Rosa Island, so it was only fitting that as soon as we dropped our hook we did two loads of laundry which is now hanging on the life lines to dry in the warm afternoon sun. I think my undies have now been seen from Barra de Navidad, Mexico to Santa Rosa Island, which I guess could serve as a good quarantine flag!
From the anchorage we can see the white caps, as the NW wind of 20-25kts is conspiring to keep us here until those white caps go away, which we hope happens tomorrow morning. Being only 90 miles away from our Port San Luis mooring has us all ready to finish the trip and irritated that we couldn't get at least a little cooperation from the weather after we have come this far. But we have come to understand the Bouyweather.com forecasts as being nothing more than a lie. Once you accept them as a bold face "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" lie, then you can more easily move on and deal with the weather you have, compared to wishing and holding out hope for the weather you were promised.
We may not be home yet, but we will celebrate tonight with a SuCarne Arracherra steak dinner, compliments of our friends on SV Real Time who cleaned out their freezer in La Paz with special thanks to Patrick on Just A Minute, for driving me all the way out to Marina Costa Baja to pick up an ice chest full of great steaks and meats. Tonight we eat the last of our meat and we saved the best for last. We have no fresh veggies aboard at this point, but we do have the last of our Ensenada bollios to turn into garlic bread. I'm not honestly sure if we were allowed to bring the steak from Mexico into the US, so I stashed it in my pillow case while at the police docks, just to be sure. I'm still bitter over the USDA inspected Costco pork loin that I bought back in 2008 in Cabo San Lucas that the Customs agents took from me after my first Baja Bash and I wasn't going to risk my last Arracherra steak! I'm not sure who was more nervous, me, Amy or Lori as the Customs agents were aboard. Me for the steak. Amy for the clearly non-personal use supply of Huichol Jewelry aboard, and Lori for the collection of beach combing treasures that if found would surely lead to someone being water-boarded and put on the No-Fly List.
Yes, for those of you thinking it and for those that will no doubt be urged to send me emails expressing their outrage, shock and horror, part of the kid's home school education includes a course entitled, "Smuggling 101 - A Cruisers Guide to Smuggling". But by the time Capt Norm, Steve, or our other blog followers that love to hate us read this blog post and have time to notify the authorities of our crimes against humanity, the Arracherra steak will be digested and the offending beach combing contraband has already been off-loaded in San Diego. By now the various agents of the underground network of beach combing black market has already went through the boxes passed on in San Diego and as they say, "it's already on the street".
Now that we've mentioned it, it's time to talk a little about the downside of having a cruising blog and posting honestly about what you think, see, and feel for all the world to see, read, and then send you crack-pot-crazy-manifestos about. It's also why many of my cruising friends with blogs make a point to never post anything controversial or that could offend anyone; comments are first screened by a moderator to keep out the crazies. I've seen friends delete and modify blog posts after being attacked. I've read attacking emails and comments both directed at me on our blog and on our friends blogs that would have made the uni-bomber proud. I've seen crazies send both Mexican and US authorities emails and letters based on something they read in a blog post that outraged them so much, they tried to use the blog as a means to get the poster in trouble. I've actually seen a Death Threat that stemmed from a blog post, which of course was turned over to the appropriate US and Mexican authorities! There are crazies out there folks and if you are going to have a presence on the internet then they will find you and sooner or later be offended by what you say and post.
Here's a great example of how people can act negatively and down right crazy about what you post on your blog. A few years ago when we first visited what I now affectionately call "La Cruse", otherwise known as La Cruz near Puerto Vallarta, I wrote a post about how I disliked the anchorage and honestly wasn't that keen on the town either. Well, you would have thought that I just claimed the world to be flat! A long time blog reader and cruiser who frequently made positive comments on our blog flipped out and as he put it in an email to me, "I lost all credibility" with my dislike of La Cruz.
Ok, it happens right? People have different opinions on places they like right? Life goes on and if he doesn't like our blog and my opinions he would just stop reading the blog right? Wrong, crazy people don't act logically; it's what makes them crazy. From that point forward he continued to read the blog and made it his mission in life to criticize and make snide posts, many of which I simply deleted before anyone ever saw them. His computer IP Address had to be banned from making comments on our blog! This fellow cruiser took his dislike of an opinion I expressed on the blog and actually turned it into a fuming, almost pavlovian foaming at the mouth dislike of me and all things THIRD DAY. He bad mouthed me to his friends and anyone that would listen to him around the dock. He wrote me emails saying how sorry he was that people that hadn't been cruising were reading my blog and thinking I knew what I was talking about. He even went as far as to make crazy comments over the VHF radio while passing by an anchorage we were in, who does that stuff? Crazy people, that's who. Of course he spends most of his time in marinas (no problem about itĀ...I have many "Marina Rat" friendsĀ...ha ha ha), and it no doubt drove him crazy every time I spoke out the real Mexico to be found outside of the Disney land gringo-ville marina complex. I know because every time I talked about it, he made comments and sent me emails that I promptly deleted from the blog and send to the trash bin. If you are going to express your opinions, some people won't like it. Normal balanced people will just let it go, however, the unbalanced and crazy among us won't be able to just move on and let it go, they will in a way turn into a cyber-stalker and you will have to laugh at them as you delete their comments and emails.
In a worse case of blog comments turn nasty, I have a friend that almost lost his JOB due to a crazy on the internet! My friend expressed his opinion about what he viewed as the best model of trailerable sailboat, a MacGregor M or X. He of course had the X and liked it best. But an internet crazy had the M model and went berserk as my friend posted logical comparisons justifying his opinion. Since crazy people do crazy thing (see the connection) the model X owner actually tracked down the personal information of the model M poster and sent a letter to his WORK, notifying them that their employee was posting on the internet during normal working hours! The email contained a log of hundreds of posts with the time stamp in an attempt to get the evil "X Owner" fired form his job! As if that isn't crazy enough, there is the recent case in the news of crazy blog follower tracking down the whereabouts of a woman through her blog and sexually assaulting her. It's a crazy world out there folks and if you are going to put yourself out there on a blog (or anywhere on the internet) you need to know what can happen with the words you say. As for me and my over 1000 blog posts, well I'm too much of a Bozo and hard headed to care about what the crazies say and besides I know how to use the delete and ban button.
Having mentioned the negative aspects of posting our about our lives and opinions on a blog it deserves mentioning just some of the positive aspects of maintaining a blog and why I plan to continue to post as we live aboard. Honestly, I'll get those in my next post because I'm already on page three and just how much time can you take at work to keep up with our blog without looking suspicious and risk someone "ratting you out?"
Besides, the wind just disappeared, so we are changing our plans and trying to make the trip from the back side of Santa Rosa to either San Miguel or even straight onto Port San Luis NOW, rather than waiting.
08/15/2012, Onward March to San Miguel Island
We just put the West end of Catalina Island to our stern and now the next targets are Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and then onto San Miguel Island before we jump out around Point Conception and onto Port San Luis. We still have about 175 miles left to Port San Luis, but if we can get a little cooperation from the weather, we should be in on Friday or Saturday with a rest stop at San Miguel. Do we want favorable wind...no, not really...because after over 1000 miles of motoring into the wind, we have given up on wanting to sail. We are just happily burning 1 gallon per hour of diesel fuel while making 4-5kts and are at peace with it. At this point in the game, all we care about is the sea state! Give us flat calm seas for easy motoring and we will be happy, because the norm for this trip has been that any wind we have is dead on the nose.
Almost incredibly with all the engine running and pounding into waves, we haven't really broken much on this 35 year old boat! We did knock loose a few bow pulpit wood planks during a night that the bow pulpit was violently being plunged over and over again beneath the waves. The weld broke on (I don't know the official seamanship name) the stainless steel pedestal that holds the self sheeting jib boom in place, but since we have a stainless welder at the shop, that's an easy fix. The stern running light went out, so we have rigged a temporary stern running light with our Bibi Owl anchor light that I have been carrying around in my desk drawer for about a year now, which proves that my procrastination of not installing it atop of mast was the smart thing to do (that's for your Chuck). And we blew apart two 35 year old snap shackles beating into some wind. All in all that's a darn short "broke" list for such a hard trip.
The boat, as they typically do, is holding up better than the crew. It's a long, long, long trip bashing into the sea and wind and at this point we are all exhausted. The kids have graduated from being kids to full fledged members of the crew during this trip. Both Amy and Jason have not just been standing day watches, but have been doing full night watches complete with "active and aggressive" hand steering during rough conditions when the Auto pilot wasn't able to hold course. Without their extra hands aboard, we could still be in Turtle Bay resting and recovering. I don't know how the crews of SV Hurrah and especially Sea Raven made it to Ensenada along side us quite honestly. They have 30yrs on us in age AND Sea Raven had no working autopilot, so they had to hand steer the entire trip! Whew...
According to our GPS chart plotter, the East end of Santa Cruz Island is now 8 hours and 30 minutes away at our current speed of 4.7kts, which will put us into the anchorage at 12:30AM tomorrow morning. Based on the conditions, we may just keep plugging along towards San Miguel or anchor for the day to rest. Thursday is forecast to be 20-25kts of wind, so that could be a good day to stay put and rest up.