Weather Helmed

an adventure in renewing the spirit and living the dream…on a sailboat

Weather Helmed

Let the hazing begin – an initiation to the cruising life

March 14th, 2010 · 11 Comments · Famous Firsts, First Mates, Funny, Life on the Boat, Oh Crap., Passages, The beginning

Hello world!!!  We just arrived in La Cruz, Mexico after NINE FULL DAYS out at sea.  I can’t believe we managed to stay out so long.  All in all, it was relatively uneventful although we did encounter a small storm in the first couple of days.  The overwhelming feelings for the first 6 days were COLD and EXHAUSTED.  Thank God we rounded the tip of Cabo San Lucas and were immediately greeted with a warm breeze!! I stripped down to my skivvies and whipped up some warmish water and Matt and I “bathed” in the cockpit which we affectionately referred to as the bathtub before that day and now I’m sure the nickname will last.  🙂

It was a VERY good thing the weather improved that day (day 7?) because we were both in really crappy moods.  We’d had one heck of a morning…………………..


“RAAAARRRHHH!!” I scream in frustration as I watch little waterfalls of milk spurt down the sides of the countertop in concert with the motion of the boat.  Just minutes before, I had carefully placed two bowls of cereal on the non-skid mats that now cover every flat surface we have.  As the boat pitched violently to the starboard side (i.e. to the right), I grabbed the railing of the counter and braced myself. I looked up just in time to see cereal bowl #1 careen across the “non-skid” and crash into bowl #2, spilling their contents all over the counter, down into the icebox and onto the floor.  After cursing Neptune, I stepped out of the galley and looked up, rage flashing in my eyes, at Matt, who was anxiously peering down at me from the cockpit.  He glanced down to the mess at my feet and quickly said, “I don’t want a bowl of cereal after all.”  When I told him it was both our breakfasts, he smiled charmingly and said, “Well, looks like you don’t want cereal anymore either!”

I sigh and throw everything into the sink, half-heartedly wiping up the milk and cereal flakes that are floating around everywhere. The floor, I notice, is now even more slippery than before and my boots don’t grip the wood at all.

Totally unmotivated to make anything more complicated than cereal, I decide we will have toast for breakfast.  I try a lazy-man’s version: I cut 4 slices from Matt’s freshly baked bread loaf and throw it on a cookie sheet on top of the stove. Of course, the sheet just starts to burn, the bread isn’t browning right and I know it’s not the best method.  Fine, I think, We’ll just eat the bread as is.  I toss the slices onto a plate, grab some peanut butter, honey and granola and gingerly sidestep over to the navigation table; slipping and sliding around the galley just doesn’t seem safe to me when I’m wielding a knife.

I quickly slap on a thick layer of PB and drizzle honey on top of each piece of bread.  I reach down beside me to get the granola to add a little crunch.  As I’m opening the bag, the stupid boat lurches again, and, with my free hand, I snag the side of the nav table to hold myself upright.  I watch in HORROR as a slice of that gooey, sticky bread launches off the plate and plasters itself against the side of Matt’s laptop computer.  Um, that would be the side with the power input, USB ports, a speaker and a memory card insert.

Because our Nana reads our blogs, I won’t write out loud the thoughts that ran through my mind or the first few four-letter sentences that came out of my mouth.  Let’s just say I handled the incident by banging my fists on the table, throwing the honey, peanut butter and granola into the sink, hurling a nearby plastic container at the wall, and bursting into three-year old worthy sobs while shouting hysterically “AAAAHHH I HATE MY LIFE RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!”

Matt leaps down from the cockpit and immediately wraps me in his arms.  Terrified of uttering those words, “I think I ruined your computer,” I just cry into his shoulder, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”  Because he’s amazing, he doesn’t get mad.  He grabs my hand, picks up the plate of “toast” and leads me to the settee where we sit in silence and eat our breakfast.  I finally calm down enough to explain what happened and remember to warn him about the increasingly slippery floor.  He doesn’t say anything, but soon gets up, puts the plate away and returns with a sponge and bucket to clean the cabin sole for real.

Matt spends the next half hour on his hands and knees swabbing the floor, paying careful attention to the area around the galley.  I sit by quietly, feeling guilty that HE is the one cleaning the mess up, but feeling equally in awe of (and grateful for!) his love and patience with me.  He finishes the job and prepares to put the cleaning supplies back under the sink.  He kneels down to access the cabinet and briefly holds steady the gimbaled oven so it won’t block the cabinet door.  As he’s holding the oven, the boat swings wildly to starboard once more and our teapot (which was sitting on the stove, on the cookie sheet I’d used for the bread) comes flying at Matt.  The teapot whacks Matt in the head, the lid pops off, and lukewarm water goes streaming over his face and hair and down his back.

There is silence for a moment, and then I can’t tell whether we are laughing or crying, or both.

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