Breaking the Seal

Yesterday Michael and I got off the boat for the first time since July 2.  You would think that after that long, with our legs atrophied to those not unlike stick figures, we’d be chomping at the bit.  You’d think we be practically swimming for shore, defying the death that would surely be ours should our bodies submerge for even a moment into this frigid, sepulchral water. And you would be wrong.

Flat calm. Cold.

For reasons even we have yet to define, we have not been anxious to get off the boat. Sure, we know we have to. Eventually. Both of us eye the land with something akin to, while not exactly loathing, a feeling of mixed hostility and fear overlaid with resignation. We have lived in our little bubble aboard Galapagos for too long, I think. Even in Hawaii, we stayed aboard most of the time, and the virus was only one of the reasons why. In fact, it was mostly this other, unnamed feeling of resistance to being on land that kept us hunkered down in our small, contained world. Mentally, I wondered what was to become of us when thrown into the cold world of literally everything except our boat and other cruisers.


One of the books I read in preparation for cruising was Windy Hinman’s Tightwads On the Looseher story about their 7 year Pacific cruise.  Of course I enjoyed the entire book, but the chapter that I remember made the biggest impression on me is her chapter on how hard it was to come back. Maybe it was more than one chapter.  I haven’t revisited the book, since I gave my copy to another hopeful cruiser long ago, but I remember her saying she was struck with how depressed she felt, how hard the re-entry to average American life was for her. For some reason, that chapter has stuck with me for these years and now I keep coming back to it in my mind and wish I had her book in front of me to reference. I think I’ll get the Kindle version and re-read it.

So today we will up anchor when the tide current slows coming into this protected Sequim Bay, with its hurry of boats coming and going,  and go to Port Townsend. Our Andrew and Jill are coming to say hey tomorrow, and my mom will come on Tuesday, so we will be in Port Townsend for a few days.  Maybe seeing our family in the flesh will balance the scales a little bit for us.

I know that as we transition into a new kind of life here, probably a mixture of boat and land life, we will get accustomed to being here again. Maybe that’s something we worry about, this ‘getting accustomed’ thingy. We have both been joking about how this coastal cruising we are now doing where anchorages are plenty and the water if flat,  is bound to make us ‘soft’.  We will pull up to a dock and get fuel pumped directly into our tank, no filtering required, rather than walk to the Pemex station with a cart full of garrafones to hurk back to the dinghy, then the boat, then laboriously filter into our tank. We will fill up with water from the tap when we get fuel, because we know that so far, the water is good here, so we really won’t need the water maker as much. We will eventually have our car back. Even the anchorages are easy. We haven’t had a rolly anchorage since Hawaii. This kind of living can over time erode the self-sufficient toughness we have grown to live with and that has made life interesting. Groceries will probably always be within reach.  Our biggest challenge will be staying warm and keeping our fingers and toes out of the water. We still forget that we can’t just jump in and swim to the shore.

Hurry up and take the photo, I can’t hold this fish much longer! One of several lovely Albacore tunas we caught. Wow we will miss that.

We have so much to say about our passages and putting all of that down in a coherent and organized way is a challenge. I’m thinking a good way is to simply choose some entries from my passage journal, which I kept religiously, almost compulsively. Here is my note from July 6, 2020.

“Day 4 of passage home. 120 miles made good yesterday. Position 27 46N 158 55W

Having been given the choice by Rick Shema, The Weather Guy, we have opted to keep a course a bit to the west in order to sail up and around the Pacific High. This will add 24 hours or 100 miles to the trip but will avoid motoring for 2 days.  Seems like a fair trade. I would like to be able to sail the entire trip. We feel the weather transitioning with the number of squalls we are seeing. Mostly they disturb the wind for a bit, dump a little rain, and then we pick up where we left off.  Last night I awoke to sails flapping over a glassy swell, something new on this trip.  It didn’t last long, but these episodes do decrease our miles traveled for the day.  The clouds are big and fluffy and sometimes dark.

Yesterday we fished all day but no luck with the tuna plug.  Today Mike says he will drag the squid lure.  Mixed feelings about fishing as the boat motion is challenging.

Everything feels so damp below from salt. I just want to throw the settee cushions away and start over.  They never feel dry.  My bunk feels dry, thank goodness.  But there is salt everywhere. It will take a week to clean this boat.

Today I had 2 naps, in spite of getting rest last night.  The wind is steady and more cloud cover. Air is cooler at night, especially.  We could use a day of softer winds but we appreciate making the miles for now. ”


S/V Galapagos out, somewhere in the Puget Sound area.



8 thoughts on “Breaking the Seal

  1. I love this post so much. You’re the only ones I follow. The writing is always good and you always have something interesting to say. Posts are nearly always the perfect length. I hope you can get back out there soon. Enjoy the fam. I miss my kids just so much.

    • Thank you, Beth! What a lovely comment! I really appreciate it so much. I finally found your sailing blog site! So now off to read about your sailing. Wishing you were on this coast. We ‘witchy’ women need to stick together!

    • Our son and his wife are coming tomorrow and my mom on Tuesday so our dance card is getting filled up. We will be living at least part time with our daughter and her husband, so they are less anxious to see us. LOL! Looking forward to exploring Hood Canal and figuring out where we will land this boat.

  2. Beth Leanord’s description is right on for me, I think. Our arrival, though, was such a mix of emotions, since the trip up the ICW was such a bear that we couldn’t wait to be home – but then home didn’t feel like home, or even safe, because of Covid-19… Weird, and awkward and depressing and all those things.
    Anyway, I say stay on the boat as long as you can. Land-life is just bizarre.
    Maybe we’re having an identity crisis? After four years of being “Keith & Nicki, from Sionna”, or even just “we’re Sionna”, suddenly we have last names again, and people ask “What do you do? “ (job), rather than wondering who we ARE, as people…

    • You know, people asked all the time ‘what do you do’ down in Mexico. It was surprisingly common! But that was OK, even though it did take me by surprise. We were curious, too, because it’s always interesting to know how people get from A to Z when Z is living aboard a sailboat. I was especially curious about all the young couples we met because, frankly, I couldn’t imagine how they afforded that lifestyle. I don’t think we met any who were trustfund babies. Most just got lucky in their jobs and worked hard and saved money. Yes, it’s weird, and awkward and depressing in some ways. I will start my practice up again, Mike will look for work and we keep our fingers crossed it will not be office based. We feel so much more at risk here, but it’s not rational because Mexico has a huge COVID-19 problem, as we predicted. When I feel overwhelmed I just remind myself that today is today. And that’s all I really have to deal with.

  3. I truly love your posts and look forward to them. I also love seeing your beautiful face. You guys are an inspiration to all. Although we are not sailors I have boating envy. What a wonderful experience, with I hope many more boating stories to come. Back to work, the four letter word. I imagine it will be a difficult adjustment. Enjoy your time with family and your land legs again.

    • So glad you kept reading after all this time! we will be interested to see what form our work life takes. I will be back to practicing, which I never really left anyhow, but will be working only virtually now. Insurance finally sees the light about that! Remember: enjoying a boat vicariously is much cheaper and easier than owning one!

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