Standing over the port primary winch, I grind hard and watch our big white Code Zero fill with breeze. Accordingly, our crew can feel Yahtzee start to rocket forward and our boatspeed quickly jumps to nearly 8 knots. Though it feels like it, we’re not racing other boats, rather the sunset as we sail south towards San Diego. Running smoothly at a full gallop now, my dad, Jill and I sit back to enjoy the ride while the boys bounce back and forth between the cockpit and down below. It is yet another dream sequence in an increasingly long list of them.
After a stunning summer in Alaska, Jill and I had some trepidation about what cruising the coast of California would bring. With more people and boats than we’re used to, more hustle and bustle, would we enjoy it? Umm…yes. Sometimes I feel as though we’re living in a dream world that gets punctuated by the day-to-day facts of life that include homeschooling and work, and the inevitable parts of being a nomad like finding laundry, showers and groceries ashore. Fortunately, after so many years of cruising under our belts, we know the routine well and are exceedingly comfortable with the flow.
Much of what we enjoyed about our time in San Francisco Bay has carried on as we’ve sailed south. Sunny warm weather is pervasive. Beach town vibes are easy to meld into. Finding fresh, delicious food is a real treat. Linking up with old friends brings a lot of laughter and reminiscing. And connecting with other sailors and cruising families in Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Pedro, Newport Beach and here in San Diego is incredibly rewarding.
From the boys, we’re seeing an equally enthusiastic response in our changes of latitude. They’re reveling in the typical lower latitude cruising routine of waking with the sun, playing all day in it, and falling contentedly asleep shortly after it sets. We are too.
But what’s been particularly rewarding for them is meeting and playing with new friends from other boats. We’ve experienced this a little bit in our travels through the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, but it’s different here. Instead of meeting weekend or summer-time vacation cruisers, we’re sailing with full-time cruising families heading in the same direction, south to Mexico. Because of this, we’re able to hook up time and again at marinas, anchorages and on beaches. And we’re continually in awe of how quickly boat kids connect and then hang out like they’ve known each other for years. Age doesn’t seem to matter when they’re not constrained, arranged or assessed by the standards of grade levels, organized sports or the societal norms of cliques. They’re just kids being kids.
As I type this, we’re days away from shoving off to continue the voyage south. With us, we’ll carry fond memories of California firmly etched in our minds. Happily, we’ve enjoyed it far more than we thought we would. And now, it’s on to Mexico…