One Morning at Baja Naval
14 November 2013
Terri, Photo by Don
It begins in the darkest hour. The one before dawn. I listen to the din of the world awakening. In one direction I hear the sporadic sounds of the city; a car starts, a truck drives by. Soon I will hear the drone of traffic as everyone goes off to work. From the direction of the bay, the sea lions' bark echoes across the water. Below me, I hear snap, crackle, pop. No, it is not the sound of milk being poured over Rice Crispies, but I am told the sound comes from the little shrimp creatures flicking their tales against our boat. Above me, two seagulls cry loudly, announcing the sun is about to rise. I am nestled in my cocoon, snuggled up close to Jay, warm and cozy as the boat gently sways back and forth. I could stay here forever.
But mother nature has something else on her mind. I roll over and close my eyes, ignoring the call. I will trick her. I will think of something else and go back to sleep. Sometimes that works. This morning, it doesn't, as mother nature is fierce in her determination and I must relent.
I roll over Jay, slip to the floor, trip over Jay's shoes and fall into the six engine room doors scattered about the room. The doors are in our bedroom because, well, there is no other place to put them.
We came to Baja Naval last Saturday to check on our transmission as it was giving us signs that something was amiss and we didn't want to travel down the coast without first being assured that all was working properly. The mechanics came and promptly set up shop, raising the engine to extract the transmission so they could diagnose the problem. All this is good except for the fact that for the week, or so, the transmission is in the shop (or rather sent to San Diego for a new seal and brought back to replace the clutch plate), the engine is suspended by six pallets on either side with a 4x4x10 beam running across the top. This is to hold the chain that is connected to the engine, holding it up until the transmission finds its way back home.
Our boat is a center cockpit which allows for a roomy stateroom, but still I must climb over Jay to get out of bed. Leading from the stateroom are two hallways on either side. The starboard side is the head and the port side contains our refrigerator and freezer compartments. Both hallways lead to the galley/salon area. In the center of these two hallways, under the cockpit, lies our engine room. So picture this.
These pallets that are holding up our engine take up almost the entire walkway, both sides. Each block of six rises about two and a half feet high and is about two feet by two feet wide, allowing about six inches to move through. Bottom line, awkward!
As it is still dark, I fumble through the closet, finding clothes to wear and get dressed. Still half asleep, I open the stateroom door and momentarily forget the obstacle before me, running right into it.
"Ow! What the..." And then I remember. I squeeze by and climb up the companionway steps.
Stepping off the boat, my foot gets caught up in the spring line that crosses over our fender step. I untangle myself and manage to find the dock only to stumble like a drunken fool because it is an old wooden dock that leans. I regain my balance and head for the bathroom in the boatyard.
I walk down the dock, up the ramp, through the first security gate, across the malecon, through the second security gate that leads into the boatyard. I cross the boatyard and travel up the spiral staircase that reminds me of one I would find in a lighthouse. Finally, I arrive at the ladies room.
All this before the sun rises over the mountain.