Category: Sailboats

July 11 / Life

Are you sailing or flying back?

The fact that this question can even be made, it means that there are options.
-Flying, this time I’m flying.

I bought an airplane ticket that will take me back to Mexico in thirty-something hours by plane, but the journey to come here took me almost a year on a sailboat. The world can be a bizarre place.

Yesterday I dreamt that I finally left the island, that L was taking me to the airport, that my passport was expired, and I didn’t know if Mexico would recognize me.
I’ve changed so much. I don’t even remember how tacos taste.
That’s why I bought a return ticket because one day I said: “my grandmother’s food” but I no longer knew what I was talking about; seems that I don’t remember anymore, that I am rather inventing, and this can be scary.

I left behind my home, friends, my brother while he was still a kid , my nephew when he still didn’t know how to speak, my dogs when they were not yet old, my cousin when she was single, my grandfather when he still lived. I mean, children grow, the older get older, the food gets eaten without me, my friends are getting drunk, and my girlfriends are marrying and having weddings with an empty seat that has my name.

These are the big and small sacrifices for the one who goes away and makes small families everywhere. We have houses and dogs, and the routines of the day, even if for others this place is far and unknown, to me is close and familiar. Here I have a small family, the wind brought me to New Zealand and I have woven a life.

I telephoned my grandmother, she was so happy, we laugh.
Grandma, I said, I’m calling on Skype,
(Although she does not know what Skype is)
She tells me: Hija, every day I think of you,
and I think: many kilometers behind the sea
half a turn of Earth separates us
but I call you and you still say:
Hija! every day I think of you.

Then I got hungry and bought a flight ticket back.

Photo: Halfway between Mexico and New Zealand 2013, Tom took that GPS screenshot, perhaps in Bora Bora or Mopelia, or at one of those invisible islands.

Note: This and most of the post are originally written in Spanish.

August 30 / My Sailing Logbook

*From Mexico to New Zealand aboard a sailboat. These are the dairies of one year cruising in the Pacific.

01/March/2013

I walk across the hotel’s luxurious corridor coming back from the toilets to the dock. It’s like 7am, my hair is a mess as usual, and I am wearing my pijama shorts still when I pass the main entrance of the Mayan Palace.   I show my ID and with the electronic key open the door, enter to the port. I walk fast and light signing for myself  “The Cat Empire” … we believe … we support … living life cuz life is short… la la la … I see Suzan and Keith an American couple retired  to the sea life at their 65yo.  I pass trough blue and white boats, monohulls and multihulls, large yachts and motor boats, nodding once in a while till the end of the pier B 40 where En Pointe, the little yellow trimaran, is tight. I lightly jump on deck, took an apple, put some music on, sit cross legged on the shadow and  watch the two big shiny yachts we have for neighbors and how they have been working on them every morning since the day they arrived.  Ha, that reminds me! These days I’m in charge, being the only person on board while Tom is in the States.

So begins a typical day on the dock. In the morning the people from the boats filtered / intrudes the hotel to use the restroom before the tourists wake up. Then we turned on the radio, tune the channel for the net at 8am. Today I check in: “En Pointe, change.” I drink coffee while listening the gossips from the sailing world, the weather, who comes and goes, who is selling some-thing for how-many coconuts.

When normality was inverted and “different” is now “normal”??
I did not realize when talking with neighbors about nautical miles,  port names, boat parts and supplies lists was becoming “normal” until the day I woke up in the morning knowing myself floating. Immersed in this world.

It would be fun to start calling home the Mayan Palace and its port. Although not far from a reality. In these weeks I’ve been crossing worlds without border formalities and passports stamped, worlds that have no territorial lines, which are collapsed into a single moment and geographical point...

Like Mrs. L, a lady who works at the hotel. I surprised listen to her talking about travels in the various countries she was working to send money to their children. She had a different view about the “boat people”. She talked about the type of sailors who rarely are seen ashore, traveling in comfortable and luxurious ships that require very little help from locals, those who are dressed in the whole outfit of nautical brands: sailing shirts, shorts, shoes, clock and even sailing socks.

They live in different countries, in different seas, but always carry their own world inside their boat, where they eat and speak as always. No go and find out what are the places they pass through and say they have known Mexico after spending a few weeks in sun bathing. The only thing that changes is the view they see from the window.

It is not about geography. In the same place are the worlds of the luxurious Mayan Hotel and the little sailing boats in the backyard, where we use a bucket as a toilet.

It is not about geography. Here in Puerto Vallarta is where I use to spent family holidays in my childhood, even my house is a few hours from here … and yet I feel so far away, as if I had now reached new distant lands being in the same Mexico.

It is not about geography.  As Mrs. L said “some sailors are on different countries bringing their world within themselves, changing only the view from their windows”

It is not about geography. Neither the difference is to live at sea or land, or to be “traveling” or “local”…

In the same geographic point there are so many worlds where normality are interchangeable, on the same corner so many worlds, in the same port there are so many worlds.
The different worlds are here in this moment, in oneself.

En Pointe en el muelle B40. Paradise Village Marina
En Pointe en el muelle B40. Paradise Village Marina

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August 13 / My Sailing Logbook

24/Feb/ 2013 – Nuevo Vallarta, México.

This would be the Final Test. There it was on deck, made of plastic and with wide rims (looked quite comfortable in fact), nor as large as those big home depot containers  but not too small. Just the right size for…

The very moment to decide if I’m going to cross the Pacific aboard En Pointe is this one.

Tom wanted to have a “serious talk” before I come live aboard. I was a little nervous at first, I thought I would talk about passports, insurance, expenses, or perhaps permission signed by my mom, or something like that. Who could know what a “serious issue” could be in these terms? Not every day one talk about sailing across an ocean and I really have no idea.

I arrived at the Paradise Village Marina, a port in the middle of a very fancy complex of hotels. I walked between some large and luxurious sailboats. Around a corner at the end of one of the wooden docks, between that shiny catamaran and that other brand new motor boat,  with the best view to the mountains: it was the yellow sailing boat attached with a pair of ropes in front and behind.

Tom was sitting in the cockpickt (or area where sailboats usually have the wheel) with crossed feet on air, cap, and sunglasses. He invited me to come aboard and I took off my sandals. Now I would discover the heart of that entire important subject we should talk.

¡En Pointe has no toilet! Well, it has a little one but for “special occasions” when the weather is really bad.  Tom Said, if you have no problems using a bucket then there is no more to say. However I understand if you do not like it because not many girls like to use a bucket as a toilet … and not even talk about the shower on deck. Here he gave a little nervous laugh and waited in suspense my answer…

¿¡To use a bucket!? What a relief! It was this. Of course I do not mind using a bucket!

 

Tips on how to do it on a bucket (board a sailboat):

1) Make sure you have a rope tied to the handle.

2) Using the rope, toss the bucket and fill on third with sea salt water.

3) Put it in a safe and private place.

4) As you sit be careful not to get stuck

5) When you’re done, bring it to deck with EXTREME caution and WATCH FOR:

-NEIGHBORS swimming around or looking at you. (there are several anecdotes regarding this point)
-Someone aboard using the salt water tap to wash dishes.

6) Look for where the wind comes before pouring the content!

7) ) Once you’re downwind. Set it free to the sea. The fish will be happy.

 

The great advantages of using the Bucket:

1) Not having to fix the toilet (relief for captains) or cleaning (relief for crew).

2) You do not have to pump, wait, and look in suspense how is going around and around hoping is not going to return before the captain or the next person on board use the bathroom.

3) You can place it anywhere. If it’s hot you put it in a cool place, if it rains you move it into the roof, if you feel like putting it on deck is fine.

 

Considerations when choosing the most appropriate bucket:

1) You must choose one of perfect size that fit well your butt without you getting stock. If you can test it by sitting on it before buying it, much better.

2) Must be of a durable material that does not bend with the weight.

3) The strong colors are better than light colors. Just aesthetic issues for the sight.

4) Take care that the edges are wide, so they do not injured in the legs when sitting.

5) Try to give it a clean occasionally because if not start to grow moss!

 

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