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.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bebe II

Log: Sunday, October 10, 2010 (0900-1530). Sailboat: Bebe II. Winds: S, SE 9-15 Knots. Seas: 2-5 feet. Weather: high 80’s, very hazy, cumulus clouds to the east.

It has rained so much in the past two months. Hurricanes have passed north of Puerto Rico but their elongated spiral arms have caused copious rains, flash floods and numerous thunderstorms in the island. Tropical depressions and waves followed suit, with only moments of sunshine in between.

Sunday morning was such a moment, with a break in the clouds. The sun peeked through the haze and my sailing mates, Ramón and Silvia, agreed to go sailing. I drove to Fajardo, to the Isleta Marina ferry dock. This islet off Fajardo is Bebe II’s new home.

I had not sailed Bebe II since August’s St. John adventure. I was the first to arrive at the dock. Seeing her there all alone was like seeing a dear old friend. As I went onboard, like old times, I opened her portholes and hatches and I started cleaning heads, sinks and counters. Do you know what the first rule of sailing is?

The science fiction movie, Serenity, came to mind. Captain Mal answers his question to the new pilot: “Love. You can learn all the math in the ‘verse, you take a boat in the air that you don’t love, she’ll shake you off just as sure as the turn of the worlds. Love keeps you in the air when she ought to fall down, tell you she’s hurt before she keels. Makes her a home.” It felt like coming home.

We sailed and sailed. We were not interested in docking, mooring or anchoring. It was all about feeling the wind in our face and in the billowing sails. Listening as the water rushed by her sides. Tasting the sun’s fire in our skins. Watching sun sparkles in the waves and in our reddening shoulders. Breathing in the scent of salt.