Sept 25, 2016
I know, I know, nothing on the blog for a while. Life has again gotten in the way. We had the Rolex Big Boat race series here at St. Francis Yacht Club, so things got pretty hectic for a while.
Beth and I watched a great documentary the other night. It’s been recommended by the Delos crew and I have friends that were talking about it. I would highly recommend it to anyone, both my sailing and non-sailing friends. It’s called “Chasing Bubbles”, and it’s available to watch for free on youtube. Here’s the link. “Chasing Bubbles” There is also a Facebook page for those interested. We were both moved to tears so keep your Kleenex handy.
July 17, 2016
This tale actually occurred a couple of weeks ago but I haven’t gotten around to telling it yet. Life has again “gotten in the way”.
I was doing my normal thing, diving under boats to raise the boat dollars needed for our cruise, when the strangest thing happened. I was diving in a marina in Sausalito called Clipper and out off of clipper two is a log tied breakwater. Just a bunch of logs tied end to end to cut any wakes from outside the marina. This is a natural hang out spot for our local harbor seals. You can usually see a dozen or more sunning themselves on this perfect perch.
(Not the log berm but the same marina and the same mammal)
Anyway, here I was diving a boat on the end of the pier and saw 20 or so seals on the berm. As I said, just a typical day. Now when I gear up and get ready to get in the water, these guy’s are always curious. They watch you like a hawk to see which way you are going to swim. Toward them, or leave them alone.
I hopped in the water and started scrubbing the boats waterline just on snorkel. After I finished that, I got this funky weird feeling. You know the one with the hairs standing up on the back of your neck? It happens sometimes so I just got back to work. I grabbed my air hose, stuffed it in my weight belt, and dove under the boat to do the hull. About 10 minutes into it without losing that feeling, I surfaced and happened to look toward the log dam. Curiously all the harbor seals had departed…….Hummm.
Not one to ponder anything too long I dove back under the boat (when I’m working I tend to get hyper focused). Scrub scrub scrub. Then I get the first bump. Now this is nothing new. Harbor seals are playful little rascals and I often get a bump from them while under a boat. They will even nudge me away from the boat at times. I thought nothing of it……. Bump!
Well, that one was a little harder. Did I do something to annoy them? Bump. Bump. BANG. BANG! That one hurt guy’s! All in all I probably got nudged about a half dozen times. Now this is NOT normal.
I look to my left and in surprisingly good visibility for that marina, I see a shape slide by about 10 feet away. It’s a shark. It went by fast and I wasn’t prepared to see it, so I have no idea what kind it is. Now you have to understand that everything looks bigger under water. Much bigger, but I swear the thing looked like it was about 12 feet long. It was probably about 6. It’s really unusual to see sharks in that area so I’m rather dumbfounded as it slides by again. It’s still about 10 feet away and this time I see harbor seals nailing it in the side facing me. They keep hitting it and hitting it, driving themselves between me and him. My “nudges” were nothing compared to the number they were doing on this guy.
This only happened for a couple of minutes and was over before I knew it. Quite the show though. I slid over to the dock and pulled myself out of the water, and once clear I look over to the log berm. Pop, pop, pop. These seals start hopping out of the water and back on there sunning spots, each looking my way as they get settled. Talk about incredible.
Anyway, after about 5 minutes, I hopped back in the water and finished up that boat with no other issues. I climbed out, packed up my gear, and headed to my next boat with a little wave to my friends.
I don’t know the motivation or the reasoning behind what happened, but I’ll take it and thought I would share.
February 2, 2016
Sitting here on the boat catching up on social media. I had a wonderful night last night. This is what I penned when I came home. It’s not done yet by a long shot but I thought that I would share it here “as is” for now.
I had a wonderful evening tonight listening to a travel writer talk about his profession, He was one of those writers that you hear and tell yourself, “I have to write something now”. Here I am, sitting in a beautiful sailboat, in a picturesque setting, and thinking “what the hell do I have to write about”? Docked here in the San Francisco bay area, in one of the most affluent neighborhoods, surrounded by yachts that I could never in my wildest dreams own, I find that I am really content.
No, I mean it. I am really, truly content. Don’t get me wrong. I am not by any stretch of the imagination finished with my travels. I have not lost interest or the desire for the next port, but I am content. Why you may ask can I say that? Well, every once in a while an experience happens that allows me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Tonight was one of those nights.
I, like everyone else it seems, tend to fall into the trap of gradually falling into the micro focus of day to day life and forget to see the macro picture of where I am, what I’m doing and where I am headed. It is too easy to immerse myself into what should we have for dinner. What does the schedule look like for tomorrow? How will I manage to pay this or that particular bill, until that entirely consumes. I lose track of the “other” that really matters. I forget that I am on an adventure. A journey. A discovery of all of those wonders that are out there. I find it kind of like looking through a telescope. The focus is so narrow that I can see an object many miles away, but that is all I see. I don’t see the dog playing on the beach. I miss the children getting sandy enough to coat a cookie. I can’t notice the harbor seal peaking at me waiting for a hand out. I only see what is in my focus. I miss a lot.
Every once in a while though something happens. Maybe it’s a song that reminds me of a previous feeling or person. Maybe it’s a person that gets me to look at something a little differently than I usually would. Something happens. Tonight, it was a talk by a well-known travel writer and his experiences around the world that touched that chord. I realized, if only for a moment, how narrow my focus has again become. In these moments it is as if my vision exploded. I am no longer looking at one single thing. I am able, somehow, to look at everything at once. I have a vast array of choices on where to look next. What interests me now? This moment? What should I focus on next that will move me further along my path instead of digging me further into my rut? Daily life is so easy to get wrapped up in, but where is the joy in that? From my new perspective I can see joy, in everything! Now the question of course is how to do this more often? Maybe on a regular basis. Maybe, somehow, all the time. I have a million experiences that I want to have. A million people that I want to meet. A million cultures to explore and absorb. How can I guard against narrowing my focus to the point of ignoring the wonder around me?
I guess that it comes down to one step at a time. Constantly reminding myself that there is more. More of what? More of everything! A great person in my life once told me that who you will become in five years depends on two things and two things only. The people that you surround yourself with and the books that you read. Now I understand that he didn’t mean that literally and instead meant the people that you interact with. Maybe personally, maybe on the television, maybe in social media, but the idea is the same. The people and experiences that you surround yourself with and the knowledge and experiences that you put in your head through the written word. This shapes your life and who you become. No wiser words have ever been spoken to me. Life should be about expansion, not about repetition. Re-living an experience is fine, if you understand something new about it but re-living something for the simple reason that it has become comfortable or normal is nothing more than a rut. A death sentence with a far off execution date. That in no way describes how I want to live my life.
I set off on this journey of self-discovery a little over a year ago. Leaving the central Oregon coast on a sailboat bound for anywhere. Everywhere! In that time I have braved a gale off of the northern California coast with 45 knot winds gusting to 70 and twenty plus foot seas and spent literally days nonstop at the wheel. I’ve seen small coastal towns and the mega-population of San Francisco. I’ve had break downs and equipment failure interspersed with glorious sunsets and dolphins playing in my bow wake. I’ve experienced life to such an extent that most people never dream of and I’m only 500 or so miles from the start. What will life be like after 5000, or 25,000? Now that, is a question.
November 15, 2015
I know that it’s been a long time since I put anything up on here. Life has a way of “getting in the way” of life.
Here we sit. Dock trapped as effectively as if we were chained and padlocked. It’s a blustery day here in the San Francisco bay and I seem to be in one of those “funks”. It seems that left turns abound in life’s quest for meaning. Our “plan” (very rough term) as of a year ago, was to sit in the SF bay for a year. I would dive, Beth would write, and we would depart for points further south in October 2015. Well, it’s November.
The dive outfit that I am working with is a mess. Paper records, no real planning, lots of clients but with spotty billing and such we lose clients all the time. We need to generate clients regularly. Thankfully, we provide a “needed” service and the boat owners have to go to someone, so we are able to add to our client stock. As this has played out over the last year, I came to the conclusion a few months ago that in order to keep the business alive, both for my dive partner and for our clients, I would stay on one more year. In that year we will move the Viking from paper records to (oh the shock) computer record keeping and I would get a couple of new divers trained to take over when I leave. This will allow the business to continue operation without me. This means another year in the SF bay.
Now don’t get me wrong. The SF bay is a great place to be “stuck”, but its not what we had in mind when we launched this journey a year ago. I am finding that it is really taking a toll on my mental status. There are a million things to do in the bay, both boat related and other, but the longer we sit here the less we seem to do. I am almost always working and with the record keeping as it is, I usually don’t know if I’m working or not until the morning of……sometimes the night before, so it’s really hard to plan around it. This makes boat projects a problem. On the days that I don’t work I end up spending all of my time catching up on the things that I didn’t get done during my work week. Around and around we go. Not to say that we haven’t gotten any boat projects done, just that we should be much further along our project list than we are. We are after all in one of the sailing capitals of the U.S. so just about anything that I need resource wise is available here. It is just so damn easy to say “well, we’ve got a year before we sail away again, I guess that project can wait a while”. Not the best state of mind to be in.
It seems that, at least for a short time. I have stepped back onto my treadmill.
I have been mulling the whole “treadmill” thing a lot lately. One of the primary goals of our journey is to step off of it.
Lets see if I can define, or at least get a couple thoughts on the treadmill written down, so that some can see what I am referring to.
How many people do you know that never in their wildest dreams imagined their life would consist of what they do on a daily basis? A degree in business management, yet working as a line cook in a restaurant. A budding entrepreneur at 20 finding themselves at 50 as an auto mechanic. Don’t get me wrong. This is not to say that the auto mechanic can’t be happy or that the line cook can’t be looking forward to mastering his skills as a chef. I’m talking about those people that life just sort of “chose” their direction for them.
Another aspect of the “treadmill” is when you find yourself with a dream and life just kind of slips by until you are 80, sitting in your rocking chair looking back, saying to yourself “if only I had…….”.
My particular treadmill is that after a pretty full and diverse life, I made the decision to live a life of purpose. One chosen by me, and not by my environment. One most definitely not chosen for me by those around me. I don’t want to step onto their treadmills with them (no matter how nice they might be). We chose to go cruising, choosing what and where WE decide to go and experience. Now I find myself slipping further and further back onto the old treadmill the longer I stay chained to this dock. I find myself taking the “easy” road of work and paycheck. Shopping and daily life. Working on my truck to keep that “work” thing happening and watching movies at night to fall back in bed and do it all the next day. And the next, and the next. Should I buy some stock in NordicTrak, because my treadmill is back and I may as well profit from it.
Maybe I’m just whining. Maybe I’m just complaining. Or MAYBE, I just need to do something about it!
I think that a re-examination of my priorities and task list is in order. Really decide what is important again and what is not. As I told people when we kicked off this journey.
“Make a list of what is important and a list of what isn’t, and figure out how to do more of the former and less of the latter”.
This is my goal for the immediate future.
May 17, 2015
Spent most of the day reading a great book (I know, I’m biased) titled, “Yacht Design According To Perry”. Talk about putting one in the mood to sail, or at least get something done on the boat. I didn’t, but I was in the right frame of mind. 🙂 Life get’s in the way.
On another note though, I wanted to write something up a couple days ago and didn’t get the chance. So here goes….
I found myself in a Safeway parking lot the other day. I had some extra time before going into the store as I had just lit a cigarette (no whining please) and spent some time “people watching”. One of my regular habits.
I entered the lot to immediately find myself a tad annoyed. There were carts everywhere. My rather large Range Rover has a great brush guard I think put on expressly for pushing those little buggers out of my way. Most of the carts were “front wheel propped”, as I’m sure you have all seen, encircling every little concrete island between the parking spaces. I’m sure that it was good natured peoples attempt to keep them from rolling into innocently parked cars (sarcasm intended).
As I watched, I noticed that not one of the people leaving their discarded carts in the lot seemed to be physically challenged. In fact the average age of the cart abandoners seemed to be about 30.
Then amazement struck. I witnessed an older lady at least in her 80’s that had obvious trouble just walking to and from her car, carefully load her groceries into her vehicle and painstakingly walk her cart all the way across the lot to put it away.
This got me thinking about the motivations, or perhaps just the world views of the average American, and how that can change over time. Are we really so much more self centered now than we were in the past? Is it just “too much trouble” for todays younger generation to do the right thing? Do we even fathom what “the right thing” is any more, or has that itself morphed into something that I would not be proud of?
Maybe I’m just getting to that age that looks back at the “good old days” with a sense of loss and mourning. No “old” jokes please.
I find that I really need to re-examine some of my thought processes and perceptions in this regard, but that will make for a longer rant here in the near future. Until then….
I’ll just leave it with…..”food for thought”.
February 8, 2015
Was just up on deck in a blow. Weather reports say that it is 25-30 but feels more like 30-40.
Below decks it seems like she is straining against her lines and fighting for control, but up on deck she is saying……Untie me and lets go!
Amazing difference in perspective. Grateful Aire wants to be set free.
I love this ship
February 8, 2015
Well, here it is 2015 and life is not going at all as planned. I haven’t posted anything for a while and have been beating myself up over it for quite some time now. My thoughts were along the lines of “I really don’t want to get people down or make it look like I’m whining”. That being said, here goes nothing.
We and our floating home are firmly moved out of Oregon and into California. We are currently at dock in Richmond at the Richmond Bay Yacht Harbor. I am working (sort of. More on that later) with a dive shop in Sausalito doing boat maintenance (that means mainly cleaning hulls). Living in Richmond and diving out of Sausalito. For those of you that don’t know, that means driving around the north San Francisco bay to work. This can mean an easy 20 minutes if the traffic is light, or a frustrating 3 hours if not. Welcome to the land of toll bridges. The “up” side to this kind of work is that I love to dive. When I am actually in the water I make some pretty decent money. The “down” side is that there never seems to be enough work. I have had stretches of 12-14 days off in a row waiting for my “partner” to have work for us to do. That does NOT help the bottom line at all. His perspective seems to be that I need to gear up with all of my own gear, generate a bunch of my own clients, and dive with his outfit when I can find the time between my jobs. If I had wanted to go into the dive business I would have done it. I did NOT come to California to start another business.
This has obviously put a major crimp in our getting much done on the boat since we arrived to get her cruise ready. She is an older boat with too many issues to list and I need to make some regular progress on her if we are going to make this cruise happen. If you have read “Beth’s Musings”, you will see that she is sturdy and safe in any conditions, but we have a long way to go to make her “ready” for some major off shore cruising. Keep in mind, perspectives differ when you read our posts. I had a BLAST coming down from Oregon J
All will be well though. I’m picking up some work with another dive outfit and slowly getting client boats here in our marina as well. We had a gorgeous dive the other day on an 84’ US Coast Guard cutter south of here in Monterey. What a beautiful place.
Now that I am getting my head back in the right place I know that things will work out. They always do. It could be worse. I could be stuck in another Oregon coast winter with the boat list getting longer and longer and without any hopes of improving that in the near future.
Life is good.
It’s been a while since I updated this page. Life has of course gotten in the way.
My job of the moment continues to frustrate me with the “lack of consistency” and I have several other pans in the fire so to speak.
We will just have to wait and see how it all pans out. I just have to keep my mind focused with things like this 🙂
and of course this……..
Just some photo’s of work on GA