Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Chasing sunsets and frolicking with dolphins

On some rare occasions, everything just comes together.

dolphin01

Saturday was really the culmination of three years of hard work that brought the Seahorse back from the dead and created an amazing day.

Now back in August when I was suffering from heat stroke inside the cabin even with the air-conditioner window unit strapped into the hatch and blowing full blast, I couldn't find anyone else foolish enough to sail in the heat with me, so I decided to swap the transmission shifter around, tune up the engine and add another vent to the cabin. Time well spent because the motor ran like a champ. However, I had left the boat a total mess.

Then last weekend, after three weeks of traveling, I finally made it to the boat only to be stuck in a massive thunderstorm all weekend. What do you do when you're trapped inside a boat in the rain? Well, you might as well clean, and clean I did.

What do you do when you're stuck inside a clean boat in the rain? Obviously you work on your novel, and you take pictures with your dog.

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Midnight guitar break

Writing out the storm

So when I invited a friend to go sailing this past weekend, the boat was not only tuned up but also clean. Take a clean boat that's running well out in beautiful weather, and well, it's just magic.

There was a huge regatta going on towards the south, so instead of making the usual run to Redfish Island I headed to the north end of the bay to avoid all the traffic.

Once I made it out of the channel, I kicked on the autopilot and raised the sails. Everything went right. My guest marveled at my ability to single hand the boat. I kind of marveled at it myself remembering what a nerve-wracking experience it had once been to attempt this.

We cruised across the bay in the light breeze and warm sun. We anchored near the point just off Pine Gully Park and had sandwiches while we watched the other boats go by. The afternoon was filled with sunbathing and swimming.

I raised the anchor and hoisted the main for a leisurely trip back that would coincide with the sunset, and I joked that I was sorry that being in Texas I couldn't deliver crystal clear water or friendly dolphins.

Not ten minutes later, the friendly dolphins showed up.



I'd seen a few dolphins in the past off in the distance or riding the bow waves of the big ships in the ship channel, but they'd never visited my boat before. The bigger ones kept their distance, but the baby was very friendly and kept buzzing the side of the boat and chirped at us a few times. I wish I had thought to kick on the autopilot, so I could have left the helm and made a better video, but in the excitement of the moment, I didn't even think about it.

We motored back through the channel and straight into the sunset getting home at dusk.

The only tragedy of the day was that I blew out a flipflop.

Blew out a flipflop

But if comes down to losing a flipflop versus losing a motor, I'll happily give up the sandal. I even happened to have a spare pair in the truck.

The real problem now is that I can never ever take that girl sailing again because it's never going to live up to that day with perfect weather when nothing broke, there were no emergencies, and a baby dolphin talked to us.

But even if there never is another day like that, the three years of work I've put into the Seahorse to experience that Saturday have been completely worth it.

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