Adjusting to Life at Sea and Other Related Thoughts

Ensenada to Islas Cedros, Mexico              3-27-2015 Friday, 4:30 am

Approaching Islas Cedros, the chart plotter shows Kandu's location
Approaching Islas Cedros, the chart plotter shows Kandu’s location. The red marks are the RADAR reflections of the island, closer than charted.

This evening, I offer to take Eric’s previous watch schedule, covering two watches tonight, starting at 7:30 p.m. The three amigos are below deck by 8:00 p.m. In the dark, it is quiet. Trent comes up the companionway (doorway into the cockpit) around 9:00 pm; says he can’t sleep. He cuddles up next to me under the salty blanket. Trent is reading the Harry Potter series, so I offer to read aloud his book to him until his watch. It is nice, unexpected quality time with my 11-year-old son. Just before 10 p.m., Trent takes his watch. I feel badly that he doesn’t get a nap before his watch, but I’m tired. Before I leave, I help him get comfortable under the large folded blanket.

The seas remain rough. When I go below, the aft berth is rocking so violently to and fro that I can’t get comfortable enough to sleep. I think I will have to move to the saloon floor on future passages. Ugh! I finally fall asleep around midnight after Eric takes his watch and changes course to a more comfortable tack.

Four hours of sleep, back up at 3:50…Bryce likes to wake-up the next watch early…little bugger. Stars are bright tonight. I pull out my distance eyeglasses so that I can see better the myriad of constellations that envelope us: recognizing Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Orion and the Milky Way. Next watch, I will bring up my smart phone with its Star app to learn more of the night sky’s patterns.

Bryce catching Zzz's while he can.
Bryce catching Zzz’s while he can.

During my downtime and on watch, I have been reading Richard Henry Dana Jr.’s Two Years Before the Mast (Dana Point, our third stop down from Ventura, was named after him). I enjoy more listening to this book read aloud. Eric had downloaded it from LibraVox (free recorded audiobooks) and shared a couple chapters with his Kandu crew before we landed at Dana Point. On my own, I’m finding the book rather dry, although Mr. Dana has a prolific and eclectic vocabulary. His word choices are entertaining. Impressive is his ability to use such a variety of words to describe similar subjects…halyards, stays, names of sails, etc. But as far as emotional content is concerned, he leaves me parched. I’m reading it to learn more about sailing in a somewhat entertaining way, rather than reading manuals on sailing, and as a bonus, the book describes the California coastline in its early development. The book was published in 1840, just prior to the gold rush. It became an overnight bestseller, whereby he was elevated to rockstar status among gold rushers.

Trent and Bryce on watch to Cedros Island
Trent and Bryce on watch to Cedros Island

On an entirely different subject, wearing our fancy hydrostatic life jackets all the time is annoying. Mine is starting to feel heavy and sometimes it makes me hot. Cooking yesterday afternoon was quite the chore because there were a lot of dirty dishes in the sink and the boat was bucking like a bronco, lurching deeply from side to side. I was crabby and frustrated. I stripped off my vest and found relief to move around and finish preparing dinner: macaroni & cheese, the boys’ favorite; served with the last of my fresh crudité, not the boys’ favorite. In Ensenada, I had stocked up with fresh vegetables, but these were mostly consumed while hosting Uncle Bill and family friend, Joe. I will have to find more fresh vegetables in Bahia Tortugas, i.e.: Turtle Bay.

Leslie as we come into Cedros Island after two nights at sea.
Leslie coming into Islas Cedros after two nights at sea.

Life aboard Kandu while sailing on overnight passages and then anchoring instead of being tied to a dock, is smaller and larger at the same time. Living space is very tight on purpose to keep everything and everyone inside from rolling about when seas are rough. Yet, these imposed limits below deck encourage boat dwellers to ascend above deck offering limitless perspectives.

Leslie Dennis Rigney

2 thoughts on “Adjusting to Life at Sea and Other Related Thoughts”

  1. A hot uncomfortable lifejacket. Being bucked like a bronco. Trying to sleep in the aft berth in a rocking boat. Trent not being able to fall asleep right away. = TRYING TIMES.

    Snuggling. Reading aloud to Trent. Eating a favorite meal. Enjoying certain aspects of an author. = WONDERFUL TIMES

  2. Your description of the seals was so fascinating. Such a great experience to be up close and personal to them. And the adventure of the boys snorkeling with the baby seals. How Neat!
    Loving you all, Nani and Papa

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