Angel standing by

Back to school...

January came with news from the North...

It seems Hollywood (always an uncertain prospect), was not exactly banging down the door.
We were let off the hook (very nicely) by the executive producer in charge of our only prospective source of income.
There would be no guarantee of work for Jon in the next few months.
Normally, this sort of news flows like ice water through the veins-but we chose to look at it differently this time.
This is what living like an outlaw will do to you.
When the highway is closed, you shrug and ride the goat trail through the hills, instead.

The answer to less stability, is to up the adventure.
Hoist the sails and raise the Jolie Rouge.

After we received the email telling us our services were not readily needed,
we had a long and sober (resolutions, resolutions) discussion about our plans.

We lay in our bunk, drinking expensive, imported, herbal tea (to soften the piety) and I looked deep into Jon' s eyes.
I was searching for any longing, for unanswered dreams, for masked disappointment;
there wasn't any.

"Okay." I said, 
realizing that I was about to call a very serious play with my next statement.
"Let's go, then" .

Today, we are anchored in Escondido, where we will leave the boat for a few days as we travel North...
Jon is, at this moment, underwater with a scuba tank, securing a new Zinc to our prop shaft.
I am thawing and turning the last of our deeply frozen chickens into soup.
The kids are quietly home learning.
Kai is drawing birds and Hunter is working from her Anatomy book.
We did Shakespeare this morning, in the chilly sunshine, the kids taking turns reading aloud the Witche's parts from Macbeth.
I showed Hunter how to play a basic blues progression on her new guitar and Jon showed Kai how to fix a faulty electrical wire with a soldering gun.

There isn't enough money left to gamble on another pilot season-unless we sell the boat.
Sell the boat...
and swallow the anchor?
Put the kids back in public school, where they won't learn how to fix a diesel engine or bake bread?
Where they won't spend the morning listening to Jerry Garcia play blue grass with David Grisman and watch the Ospery's catch fish?


We could boot North and refill our visas.
Put our trusty old Subaru up for sale and catch the bus back across border.
With maybe a used scuba tank or two....

And we can return to our Sea Home,
Wait for a fair wind and sail South to the Mainland.
To warmer Mexico...
Where touristas lie, like rows and rows of plump, greasy eclairs on the beach.

We will haul the boat.
We will scrape and paint her bottom and grind out a few nagging blisters,
We will study our navigational charts, we will learn the rules of the ancient stars, we will take tests for HAM radio licenses,
Then, when we have stocked up with as many cans as our storage berths can handle,
and filled our spare tanks to the brim...

We will head for the open seas.
and adventures on some greener isles.

There are places on a chart that I keep by my bunk,
that only see ten boats a year.
Where they trade in fruit for sewing needles.
Where Time lies, stoned and unemployed under the coconut palms,
working on his tan.

Perhaps, one day, when the tides have changed, 'Hollywood" will call again.
Pura Vida will let us know our children have gotten too big for her old bones,
and we will furl her sails and say goodbye and go...
back to whatever life will have us.

But for now...
I think we have opted to take the Rebels oath.
To wear our hair long and our hearts on our sleeves, 
and spend our few remaining dollars on a game,
of wind and waves.

"Let's do it. " I said,
 "... It will be March soon and we could just GO, couldn't we?"

I was talking about the Pacific Ocean.
Sailing across.
From Mexico to the Marquesas. Then on to Tahiti, Fiji, Tonga New Zealand...

I was saying this and Jon was looking at me, with unfettered calm.
His eyes were deep and serious.
March is not that far off.

But I was on an un-premeditated flow,
following one of those strange lines of thinking that bubble up and my mouth is moving and my soul is open but even I can't believe what I am suggesting we do.

I put my hands on his face.
"...I trust you as a captain, I trust our boat. We've all learned so much since we came down last winter..."

I could literally see Jon's skin changing colors.

Maybe that's an aura.
Whatever it was, it lit him from inside.
"...and the kids are doing so great and we can hunt and fish now and we know all our systems. Pura Vida's in as good a shape as she can be, for an old girl and the engine isn't getting any younger...".

"The weird thing is..." I continued, not even sure why the hell I was suggesting all this. I mean, I'm not 23. I worry about security and a future and all that, but here I was, concocting a plan to take my young children and our precariously small bank account and sail across the seas.

"I'm not scared." I said.
Then wondered if this was actually true.

Jon looked over at me and smiled.
"Your just happy we're not talking about swimming with Tiger sharks in the Revillagigedos..."

I had to laugh.

My whole life is so constantly nerve-wracking now, I think I've just given up.
Or given in.

If it's Life that chooses us...
then, we will find ourselves doing things we never imagined we were capable of.

Who knows where we will be in a month?

Maybe Terry and Dawn will ask us to join them on Benedicto Island and we will ride the backs of the giant Manta's...
and beat off the Tiger sharks with a stick.
Or perhaps, we will be waiting for the Pacific High to drop to the lower latitudes and like centuries of sailors before us, 
we will head West looking for the Trade winds to carry us across the wide ocean.

When Kai was little, he had a big map of the world beside his bed.
I was tucking him in one night, while Jon was away in Hollywood, working on a job.
Kai looked at me and asked,
"what's your job, mommy?"
"I look after you" I said,
"...and sometimes, I make up stories".
"What kind of stories?" he said with a sleepy face,
I pointed to a stretch of long blue ocean on his map.
"Exciting ones. About people who sail across the sea and dive with whales and discover new things living in the oceans..."
"That sounds fun" and he yawned and pulled the torn ear of his floppy dragon.
"I hope I get to do that someday..."
And I'm pretty sure I said, 
"me too".

That really happened.
And that stretch of blue ocean was off of Tonga.

Maybe it was always in the cards,
this unexpected, life of adventure...
or maybe the Angels, just happened to be standing by that night.
And know a good idea when they hear it.

Terry gave Kai his medal awarded by the Navy SEALS for excellence in diving tests...
and made him the happiest boy in the world.

Anatomy lessons
wildlife drawing

In search of a school of yellowtail in the anchorage
back in the 'hood in Escondido


  1. Big Julius the AngelJanuary 13, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    There is a tide ... said Willie the Shake ... which taken at the flood leads on to fortune ... omitted all the voyage of our lives is bound in shallows and in miseries ... you are clearly afloat on such a full sea and must take the current when it serves ... but then as the Italians like to say, 'piano, piano' ... gently, gently.

  2. Ah you must have known. We knew you were leaving! Didn't realize a boat cleaning was required, and the drive north for Visas, but... we knew this was coming!! And what a beautiful post!! xx

  3. You will never regret taking the next step - what brave amazing people you are, having done this before you, all I can say is you are embracing it in a way I just never knew how, I always worried and somehow never managed to handover completely, and from all you write you have, so go with that flow, that feeling, that sense of YES, you guys will be just fine.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this adventure with us.
    God Bless you all four and P.V. of course!
    Joan Hayes
    on cloudy cold and damp B.I. BC

  4. Moment to moment, stay grounded in the water and know that I love you. Your having the experience of your life. See you in New Zealend! Smooth Sailing!! -Cynthia Macadams