Tag Archives: Sailing California

Don’t Cry for Me, Catalina

Catalina Four

Paddle Board- Bikini- Beach

Sailing from San Francisco to Avalon, this was the long planned passage, a tribal escapade, journeying to the harbor of the living-breathing Santa Catalina Island—- a offshore destination where exists an alter paced island ambience— the much admired oak barrel aged amber liquids bottled and called booze, in all things swaddled in near nothingness called a bikini; mingling amidst the sun-gilded bronzed visitors and residents who have by happenstance roved here to this storied island— separated by nothing more than mist and fog bank—- one half-day’s sail from the buzzing Southern California megalopolis— where by arm’s-length from the mainland reside the formidable sum of forty million of western civilizations quirky and traffic hazed.

Catalina Six

Running with the Big Dogs

I pet my peoples dogs, admired their dinghies. I relished the glorious knowing transcendence, our group-oversharing, our unyielding sanguinity— a fair-weather native birthright, people tested in gridlock but unbent (until fenders have clashed,) a citizenry resplendently aglow with a can-do- window tinted willingness to rise against all ill-tempered obstacles identified as too hot or too cold. All our thermal moderation, all evidence of material insufficiency, all former physical attributes once celebrated as character traits vanished by American Express fueled scalpel and suture. This is not self-help on steroids, this is what only a modern day banking system- financialized surgeon enhanced imagination can buy. Chins, cheeks and noses are chiseled into appealing compliance. Veneers for teeth, fitness centers for a cursory quick do over of gut or bicep. Hair and nail salons are cheek to jowl from Yreka to El Centro. My people start the day in circuit training end the day on a yoga mat. Kale salad and our first of two hibiscus infused martini’s are sipped at sunset with more often than not a second or third present-life-partner. The brilliant oranges and atmospherically moody ozone and carbon enhanced reds bring to climax another Left Coast Topanga Canyon sunset.

Lacey in July

Performing the Mightiest Little of Dogs

My sailing began on the Alameda Estuary. In 1980 I had come off the road from constant touring. I had weathered five years out of state crisscrossing the nation chasing dates playing my juggling act to infinitesimally diminutive audiences. I heard the call of home. Born in Oakland and raised in the Bay Area. Northern California of the seventies and yet to be written eighties was fern bars, funk bands doused in magnums of Napa sparkling wine. We were the world’s glitzy, garrulous— glamorously libidinous. A person born in California tested the complex multidimensional iterations of the sprawling romantic endeavor described more or less as love.

Catalina Seven

Summer Winds

Decades, children, homes all came and went. Some vanished, some were sold and some simply moved out. All the while I was playing the streets of Fisherman’s Wharf a swelling population compounded like some interest bearing retirement account. The long wet winters are memory. A dryer and warmer climate has taken hold. We don’t much like to do dreary, wet or cold. It’s so awful we invented Palm Springs to help the most averse among us to not have to ever have to suffer such inconvenience.

Catalina Two

Cozy Lagoons Nestled in Hillsides of Prickly Pear

And to this leading edge of all that is left of the era of enlightenment, as we all sort through the digital catastrophe, the computer chip disrupted economic rollercoaster madcap E-ticket ride to mostly rags or in some few circumstances riches here at this island outpost I arrive to take measure of my fellow countrymen. I am here to shoot my curiosity arrows into the heart of others minds, to gauge temperament, to discern what remains of what we have in common. In less than one year three historic sized conflagrations have leveled thousands of buildings, terminated the lives of good people helping to shape the expectations of what Tesla, lithium and solar panels can bring to our fragile future. Dusk is spent rocking gently at anchor. I see you fellow citizens. I see your spirit, I see our challenge. I want to shake your hand, hold you in my arms and convince you that we can do this. Together, we can do this, starting here and starting now. Come September and my return to my harbor… it is time.

Edited Red Star

Seven Days, Twelve Hours

breach

Humpback

Departed San Francisco Bay Sunday morning 6:00 AM. We turned south at the first set of buoys. By noon Half Moon Bay was off our stern. The rest of the lighted hours of the day were spent watching the humpback whales. The whole day was spent spotting pods. Some whales came so close we could smell their breath. The rattle of their lungs exhaling shook us. Their need to breathe after holding their breath while submerged was empathically written into our terrestrial based imaginations. Even a whale’s breathing is no small feat. .

Shearwaters, gulls, and pelicans were spotted. Sea lions were hunting along the entire route as we motor-sailed five to eight miles offshore. We hadn’t counted on running the motor so long. When darkness took hold we diverted chasing a forlorn red flashing light across the bay to Monterey.

buoy

Buoy as Spirit Guide

Night fell as the seas kicked up. All we had to hold onto was the light from Point Piedras Blancas. Our plunging ahead on compass course, the blackest of nights, not another vessel appearing either on our horizon or electronics was a way of the gods telling us that we had this piece of coast to ourselves. Whatever we found was what we deserved. We had played right into fates hands.

nav desk

Knowing Who and Where You Are

An hour from the anchorage at San Simeon we began bending our course to where two weary mariners would sleep. Slowing as we approached the shallows. Dodging kelp reading the lighted marks to the diminutive safe protected anchorage we dropped our hook and once she bit hold the longest day came to an end. We were forty-five hours south of our departure. Sleeping in shifts along the way. But, by now we needed dreams to sweep our minds clear. I took a few compass bearings to orient the sailboats position. Once I was sure she wasn’t going to move my  chance to take of myself and let my boat take care of me turned to my advantage and I placed my weary sailors body on my bunk and was soon long gone and away.

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Edited Red Star