Quote of the Month

"Not all those who wander are lost." J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 1954.

“We must change our attitudes toward the ocean. We must regard it as no longer a mystery, a menace, something so vast and invulnerable that we need not concern ourselves with it … Instead we want to explore the themes of the ocean’s existence—how it moves and breathes, how it experiences dramas and seasons, how it nourishes its hosts of living things, how it harmonizes the physical and biological rhythms of the whole earth, what hurts it and what feeds it—not least of all, what are its stories.” Jacques Yves Cousteau, 1910-1997.

"It's the glory of the sea that has turned my head." Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, 1894.

"It is with you as with the sea: the most varied names are given to what is in the end only salt water." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Maxims and Reflections, 1833.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sailing with Yuquiyú [joo-key-‘joo]

LOG: Sunday, February 7, 2010. Winds, S, 5-10 Knots; Seas, 3-5 ft.; North swells; Pressure 29.85 and rising.

We left the Sunbay Marina dock in Fajardo at 11:00 a.m. Ramón and I sailed Caribbean Sailing School & Club’s Bébé II (32’ Beneteau). We island hopped all afternoon, first to Icacos Island. There weren’t many people out at sea, perhaps because of the super bowl. I’d rather be sailing!

The wind was indecisive; swaying from the south, then southeast, then east, and back through the cycle again. Ready to meet the challenge, we adjusted sails at every turn. From Icacos, we headed to Cayo Lobos (Ricki Martin’s island), to Palomino Island, and then to Ramos Island.

During the course of the day, dark gray thunderheads over El Yunque rainforest changed to cumulus clouds, normally associated with fair weather. As we headed to Ramos, I took the picture of El Yunque seen here. At this distance from shore, it barely reflects its 3,500 foot elevation. One can only imagine the bromeliads, impatiens, wild orchids and giant ferns in this spectacular national rainforest. On a mystical level, the Taino people designated it the throne of the good spirit, Yuquiyú, who protects the Island of Puerto Rico from the malevolent spirit, Huracán. Declared or not, to me it was, is, and always will be one of the world’s natural wonders. Imposing, breathtaking, grandiose and commanding, even from a distance.

We returned at 4:30 p.m. to the usual chores of coiling lines, adjusting dock lines, hosing the sailboat, scrubbing soiled spots, connecting to shore power, covering hatches and sails, leaving the sailboat in as good or better condition than we found it. Tired to the core, but re-energized for the week ahead, we had lived the dream of sailing the Caribbean blue sea alongside Yuquiyú’s green rainforest.