In the Shadow of the Muffin Top

Imagine an open boat in the dark on the roiling ocean occupied by a lone person and a hungry animal.

No, it’s not Life of Pi, it’s me and Austin on my first solo overnight on the big blue.

It’s daunting to commit yourself to 24+ hours of unknown.  That’s what you do for the longer than day-trip stretches of this kind of travel.  The best I can manage is be as prepared as possible.  With a newly installed GPS, warm clothes, a three day weather window, plenty of fuel and supplies, safety gear, etc. there was nothing left but fear to hold us back.  So we left.

Sadly, there was no wind to speak of.  My sails were up, ready to catch whatever poofed by, but mostly they flogged themselves.  The outboard was put to the test to keep us in cooperation with the swells pushing down the coast in big rolling surges.  When I found the sweet spot on what I now think of as Riding The Eskers (a geographic ridge concept I became aware of on the East Coast), the engine did not cavitate and we pushed along at a good clip.  It’s when the bow went down and the stern lifted from the water that I got the rrrrRRRRRrrrrrrRRRRRRrrrrr that is not so good for the Honda.

The moon came up on the horizon like a sliver of cheddar cheese.  I watched Orion’s belt slide from low to high in the sky, and deliberately did not look at the clock.  It didn’t matter.  We were waiting on sunrise.  From my prone position in the cockpit where I tried to get some sleep, I could open my eyes and see the distant curve of the coastal mountains and some lights.  The water was a black undulating alive thing that was regular in it’s unpredictable rhythms.

The sky was clear and studded with stars but the dew made everything sodden, including me. Note to self to use the cockpit cover next time to stay dry.  I was in a surreal state of Mal de Mer where every decision took a long period of deliberation.  Not even my ginger could counteract the washing machine agitation effects of a sea without a steadying wind in the sails.

At sunrise we could appreciate how far down the coast we had come and welcomed the drying warmth.  Austin did not make a peep for 24 hours.  He was wrapped in his blanket in his usual spot in the cockpit, didn’t quiver, didn’t groan, didn’t complain.  It was in the shadow of the Morro Bay Muffin Top Rock, when he felt a landing was imminent, that he went coo coo and wiggled out of his pfd.  I had to pull the naked dog through the dodger zipper and put him below, squealing, while trying to steer through a famously dangerous port entrance.

We had seen whales show their flukes right next to the boat, some large flat jelly plates floating in groups on the surface (???), other cruisers passing us by on the same route, and managed to miss hitting any crab pots that mine the coast.  We survived another one.


2 Responses

  1. My God, With that environment description, I’m seriously ashamed of myself for whining about the strangness of a new marina….sigh Keep writing! E&B

  2. Great verbiage, I could feel it, like I went through it….oh, yeah, I did do that also a few days later. :-). Really though great writing. See you on the dock.

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