Monday, September 5, 2011


Still blissfully in the mode of the previous day's light breezes, I brewed tea and brought them up to the cockpit so that we could drink them under sail and bask in diesel free silence. With both of us a little oblivious to the amount of wind that surrounded us, I then raised the mainsail. The mainsail is fairly small and was not alarming. I then unfurled the huge genoa or genny and the boat heeled hard, burying the rail in the water, throwing all of the stowed dishes below flying, and spilling Jason's tea as it flew across the cockpit (luckily Isaac was holding my tea and it remained unscathed). I panicked, as we had never experienced this much wind before. After a few rounds of, "make it stop," we spilled the air out of the genny and I set to work reefing her as she flapped violently in the wind. As it turns out the wind was ripping along at 20 knots, with gusts up to 25. It only took one time for us to learn to pay very careful attention to the wind conditions before letting that much sail area loose. As we cautiously learned how to handle this much wind, we spent the morning pounding through waves towards our destination. We almost came through the day unscathed when, suddenly, Jason's hat blew overboard giving us an opportunity to practice our man (hat) over board drill. Alas, we were too slow as his hat sunk quickly to davy jones' locker. Hat, we will miss you, you served us well. With a small craft advisory forecasted for the afternoon, we found safety in a slip in Deer Harbor.

The next day we experienced similar wind conditions so we were very careful with how much sail area we put out. We decided to try to get a mooring ball at the relatively calm Spencer Spit for the night. This was our first attempt at snagging a mooring ball in the San Juans and as it turns out, it was bafflingly different than the ones we were used to in the Virgin Islands. As Jason brought the port bow up to the mooring ball we acquired a seal pup friend who appeared very lonely. I leaned over the boat and snagged the mooring ball with the boat hook while the baby seal swam all around it. I could not get the cable to come out and the boat hook got stuck as the boat continued to drift forward in the heavy wind. At this point I was completely panicked because I couldn't get the boat hook out and the baby seal was directly below it. I yelled for Jason to back up as the boat hook began to extend and bend around the front of the boat. My grip was beginning to loosen, I was terrified the hook was going to snap or I was going to drop it and hit the baby seal. I came very, very close to clubbing a baby seal. It was awful. Isn't that the worst thing you can do in the green cosmic universe? My karma would be ruined. All of my efforts to live a green life flashed before my eye as I watched the baby seal, who was so excited to see me, swim round and round the mooring ball, begging me to pet him. Luckily, my grip held, the boat hook did not snap, and as Jason backed us, I managed to free the hook. Whew!

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