Tonight the wind is blowing softly, little lights from neighboring yachts and docks flicker across the water, my kerosene lantern is sending out a warm glowing light from off of the stern of my boat and I feel at peace. Buttercup, my Golden Lab has already jumped off the boat onto the dock as I pulled into my slip and now waits patiently for me to drop the sails and fold them up neatly and then take her for her well earned walk.
Tonight on NOAA, the weather report said the wind to be 10-15 knots of wind and tonight with possible gusts to 20 knots. So I knew there was going to be some wind - or at least the odds were stacking up that way. So I put up the sails and headed out around 8pm. Sunset had already come and gone and so it was dark now. The wind was very light and after attempting to tack, I had trouble turning the boat. Because I lost my engine in a bad storm a while back and have only the use of my sails right now, I had to use my oar a few times just to get enough power to turn the boat to the correct tack. Thankfully I have oars - because if I had not used the oar I would have had to fend off from the docked boat I was coming ever closer and closer too! So I finally made it out to the main channel. It began to get a little cooler at night on the water with the wind in your face, so I donned my windbreaker. And after a while the wind got a little stronger so I then had to put on a warmer coat over that. Nevertheless, even with the stronger wind (which was still comparatively light), it still took me two and a half hours to sail to the breakwater (an hour and a half longer than usual with regular wind conditions). When I got out past the wall, I stayed out at sea in the lake like conditions tonight for about an hour. I say 'lake like' because the waves were only a foot or two high. Out there, the waves brush constantly against the boat. The moon shines down upon you. I feel like I have gone to a different land: The Land of endless water. A place so very distant from my ordinary life at home and work. Here the stress is completely different. If there is stress (which is not very much tonight) it is in the form of a broken or damaged shroud, a bigger wave than normal or getting 'caught in irons' when the wind is light and I am trying to tack. Wind and rain in my face don't help either when things get bad. But that is far away from now. The only thing I worry about this evening as I sit on the bow and enjoy watching the wind in the sails and the bow cut through the deep dark waves, is running out of wind. But that never happens. The wind stays steady and I arrive back safely.
When I got back in to the Marina I could see the glowing lights of two big party boats coming my way. I was glad I had my navigation lights on and my lantern too so that they could clearly see me. The idea of being run into by these big boats was scary! The wind was now at my back coming down the channel. There's a strange peace having the sails all the way out and gliding through the peaceful water at night. To my right I could see the Santa Monica mountains and the distant lights from that area. The sound of music came across the water from the party boats. With the light winds behind me, I was going much faster into the harbor than it took me to get out. While coming in, I dozed off a few times for a couple of minutes. That wasn't going to work so I then made myself some hot chocolate to stay awake! Unfortunately this only helped a little while and I then I had to make myself some tea and ate my snickers to stay awake. The chocolate tasted so great with warm tea. Its funny but things taste differently out in the elements than they do at home. Having something warm really helps. The lantern was turned up bright and the big party boats saw me as they passed by. The wind was steady at my back all the way into the slip and I was happy to turn the corner and get home. So was Buttercup and was off the boat even before the dock lines were secure!
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I made this blog because I wanted to share my adventures at sea with all of you! Some of you may be wishing they had their own boat or just want to 'get away' even if just at home on the web. So each week I decided to write down my feelings while out at sea and share them with you. If you enjoy them, please feel free to come back here weekly and see what's new. Also please share the blog with your friends and with those who you know like sailing!