sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

April 24, 2008

late night companions, zzz’s, and surprise!
posted by soe 11:39 pm

Three beautiful things from the past week:

1. I’ve spent the past two nights up through the wee hours working on some editing/proofreading. At 3 a.m. or thereabouts, certain birds wake up and start calling to one another.

2. I arrive home from today’s farmers’ market (fewer veggies left when you arrive at the end, but I still brought home cake and gelato, as well as some healthier items) tired and crabby (probably from #1 above). I lie down in bed with the cats and sleep for an hour and awake feeling sooooo much better.

3. Charles arrives at the pub on Sunday more than 90 minutes after his wedding shower was due to start. (Apparently his fiancée had a tough time keeping him on a schedule without giving away why she was hurrying him along and wisely opted for surprise over punctuality.) You can tell from the adorable look on his face when he crests the stairs that he totally was not expecting to find a room full of his friends awaiting him.

Category: three beautiful things. There is/are 2 Comments.

This weekend was the Newport to Ensenada sailing race. I got up at 4~ish AM on Friday morning to finish my packing. Joe arrives at my house around 4:15. We head to the bus stop with large bags.

The bus arrives on time at 4:43. We get on and are treated to early morning public transportation. People watching is amusing, though I am rather too tired to fully appreciate it. We arrive at the train station shortly after 5:00 AM.

Ticketing doesn’t open until 5:30. We could have taken the next bus, but I didn’t want to risk running late. Murphy thinks this is funny. I sit reading Song of Susannah on my kindle. We get our tickets, which requires a photo ID now. More waiting, more reading. We get on the train at 6:00 AM.

It is scheduled to leave at 6:10, to arrive in Dana Point at 7:30. That gives us half an hour to taxi from there to the guest docks where Junkyard Dog is waiting. An hour is planned for getting the boat ready, then motoring up to the starting line at Newport. Shouldn’t be a problem.

But there is a problem. An announcement over the PA tells us “garble murble fleeble gwah gah rabble bzzt.”

Someone in University City has decided that today will be the last day of his life, and followed through spectacularly by jumping in front of an oncoming train. He left suicide notes at home and in his backpack. Our train waited for two hours at the starting gate for the police to do their job.

When we finally headed north, we had to wait at each single section of track for oncoming trains to pass, increasing our travel time by another hour.

We got to Dana Point at close to 11. There was no way Junkyard Dog would make it to the starting line for the gun, but it’s a long race so that doesn’t mean we’re out of it. Joe’s plan of hopping right into a taxi was foiled by the lack of any signs of taxi life near the train station. We asked the hostess at a restaurant to call one for us and waited in the sun for 20 minutes.

The taxi driver who arrived to pick us up was crazy. Maybe all taxi drivers are at least a little bit crazy, but this man was over the top. He began our ride by cursing out his previous customer – a lady who apparently told him he should telepathically know her destination because he was the taxi driver. We told him where we needed to go.

He’d never heard of the guest docks before, and the directions we gave required an attention span of more than .07 nanoseconds to listen to. He brought us close to where we needed to be, the first place he could think of where there were boats. It wasn’t the right place.

He stopped and asked a random passerby for directions. Then when that man didn’t know, he asked another. She turned out to be an information person for a marina, and told us what the directions we had given him also said.

He headed off, and chose another arbitrary turn, taking us to another place that wasn’t where we needed to go, asked another pedestrian for directions, and took off to the other end of the parking lot, despite a third set of directions telling him where we needed to be. There he stopped at another marina office and I got out and asked inside. I returned with a map, and a fourth set of the same directions.

Next, we missed the turn.

Eventually we got to the appropriate docks. The rest of the crew was mature enough to know that as much as they wanted to yell at us, it wasn’t anything we could be blamed for nor would yelling change the time. Jim was tempted at the time to forget the race and just head back to San Diego.

We convinced him to at least head up and try to enter the race. After all the enormous effort to get there, with so much working against us, it would be a shame to quit without trying.

We motored up to the check in point, and they allowed us to check in. We were just about the last boat to cross the starting line at 2:00 PM (our class start was 12:10).

For the next several hours, it was wonderful. So many beautiful boats with their spinnakers flying, so many bright colors. The wind was good, and our J120 was able to pass a good portion of the slower boats easily. It began to turn into a really nice day.

We had sandwiches for lunch, and a chicken pasta dish for supper. I wore my brand new PFD and safety harness – figuring it would be a shame to have gone to the trouble to get one, and then fall overboard with it uselessly below deck in my bags.

We started a rotation of naps. I got the first hour from 8 to 9 PM. The sun had just set, and I was still exhausted from the early start.

When I woke up, it was me, Joe, and Jim – the boat’s owner. Oh, how wonderful it was to be out on the sea at night! So quiet, you could hear for miles. So far from city lights you could see so many more stars than I have seen in years. I could have just stared up at them for hours and hours and been deliriously happy.

Jim had me take the helm to give him a break. The winds had died down to almost nothing. Each wave caused our Daisy and mainsail to slap. This is bad for the light mylar sails. Jim shined a red flashlight up at the mainsail with dismay to discover that a two foot long tear had formed at the clew.

An effort was made to patch it, but it was too large and the strain on the sail at that point was too much for duct tape. That was the final straw, and the universe won the battle to keep us out of the race. The rules only allow you to bring a single mainsail along, so without being able to repair it, we were done.

It was still several hours sail back to San Diego, and for a couple of hours, a pod of dolphins joined us. They swam alongside the boat, surfed in our wake. The phosphorescence as they streaked along beside us was amazing. I regretted that it was so dark and there was no chance to take pictures of them.

On Saturday morning, we were back at the docks on Shelter Island. As disappointing as it was to drop out of the race, the consolation was having the rest of the weekend ahead of us – we had planned to be finishing up in Mexico on Saturday, and then motoring back overnight arriving on Sunday.

Comment by Grey Kitten 04.27.08 @ 9:16 pm

I’m enjoying reading about your trips to the farmer’s market. Ours hasn’t started yet, but I’m looking forward to the fresh vegetables and wondering what they can possibly offer so early in the season. I guess it will be a surprise!

Comment by Debby 04.28.08 @ 2:46 pm