I made a decision late last year. I made it on the spot; I didn’t even realize it was coming. I was sitting in a friend’s living room enjoying a beautiful Sunday brunch overlooking the Pacific Ocean, listening to the conversation around the room. This group of people have boats, have had boats or want to have boats. One of the women has been sailing all her life. She has cruised the Pacific Coast, through the Panama Canal, to many Caribbean islands and into the intercoastal waterway on the east coast of the United States. She is the one who posed the question. “Would you like to join our all-women crew of racers next Saturday?”
That was when it happened.
I made a lifetime decision.
I love to sail. I love the water, being on it when it’s too cold to be in it, and in it when it is warm and balmy.
Salt water is fantastic stuff: possessing healing powers, calming motion, and fierce sounds. The sheer immensity of the oceans knock me to my knees, and I marvel at the vastness of this beautiful watery world. The ocean at once commands my respect and soothes me in its embrace.
Each ocean or sea I have had opportunity to experience has been different. From the vast, unpredictable Atlantic, so cold as she crashes on sandy, rocky, sometimes reed lined shores to the gigantic Pacific. The Pacific is my ocean because I grew up with her. She is usually cold but sometimes warms enough to swim and play in during California’s summer months. I’ve also seen her from Hawaii where she is perfectly temperate and great to swim in.
The Caribbean, clear and shallow for long stretches, filled with sea life and beautiful color. She is is a joyous ocean, to which I have staked return rights again and again. She has eased my pain, excited my senses and awakened new awarenesses.
The Sea of Cortez or Vermillion Sea often referred to as the Gulf of California runs between Baja California and mainland Mexico. This great sea has significant differences across its expanse. At its northernmost shore, the tidal flux is incredibly large. Think, Bay of Fundy. It’s nearly as great. You can walk forever when the tide goes out. Midway down Baja at Bahia de Los Angeles, it is warm and fickle, often calm but can quickly change to terrifyingly angry. Then, at many bays along the Baja coast there is quiet and warmth and so much to see in that sea. At the southern end where it meets the Pacific, it changes again, continually crashing in confusion as the two seas join.
So, that decision.
When asked “Would you like to come sailing?” My answer will always be the same. YES. I will clear my schedule. I will show up on the dock, throw off the lines, lift up the sails and head out into the wind on a vastly beautiful, immensely incredible, intensely unpredictable sea.
* In case you’re wondering, the day I sailed on Atta Boy with the all-woman crew, we didn’t win, we didn’t even finish, but we had one fantastic day. Isn’t that what sailing is all about?