Saturday, July 09, 2005

But What Does Sue Think?

It’s been just over 3 weeks of our sailing on and what does Sue think?

I wake up wondering about the weather. I love paying attention to weather. I worry about storms, high winds and waves, so I collect as much information about these things as I can. And then it’s time to sail ….. or not.

The few days we’ve actually sailed have been rather fantastic. Sailing (and motor/sailing) through the night from Lake Macatawa to Leland, Michigan was very exciting. Scott and I shared 2 hour shifts and I had the 2-4 a.m. slot. The stars were plentiful and when the almost full moon set, they became brilliant. It’s an amazing place to be; on calm waters about 5 miles off shore looking at distant lights, on the look out for passing barges, and listening to the water wash by the hull. I find it peaceful and exhilarating at the same time. Of course there are also the frightening moments when you start to think, what if there’s a rare species of monster fish living in these waters that no one knows about and they are about to crash into our boat! These moments come in handy when one is trying to stay awake when on watch at the helm.

I continue to be the more conservative crew member although I do like to adventure-on as well. In theory, taking the ‘short cut’ route to the Macatawa Bridge would work according to the charts. I looked at them. I agreed. The question I had later was, ‘Are depths measured from the highest rock or the lake bottom?’ An important difference to consider. But we paid close attention to what we were doing and when the depth got to 10 feet it was time to turn hard to port where we knew the deep part was.

This morning the question was, ‘should we go out today?’ It rained off and on all night, the temperature was changing and the fog was thick. We could barely see the 3 sets of buoys guiding the way in and out of the harbor. Perhaps we should wait until the fog lifts. The single handed sailor in the slip next to us said he wasn’t going to chance it in the fog, why would we. Instead we walked into town, tried to update our blog and checked our email. We also found a great butcher shop, Plath Butchers, and the last fresh baked loaf of white bread. By the time we walked back to the boat, the horizon was clear although there looked like white caps were forming. The fisherman that just returned from the north said that the waves were about 4 feet and seemed like they were building. Hmmmm. We walked over to the lake again to check it out ourselves. Looking south which was the direction we were headed, the lake looked rather calm although there was definitely a brisk breeze. We were going to have the better of the predicted 10 to 15 knots.

Scott said, “What do you think?” I said, “I think we should go.” And we did. Gracie didn’t like the chop we had to motor through to get away from the shore, and frankly neither did I, but once we were out a ways, I was steering a very comfortable, fast, though reefed starboard tack reaching 7 knots at one point. We don’t usually go that fast, but it was comfortable I think because Enee, the sails, the waves, and the wind were all in sync and I was able to be the one steering to make it happen. Scott asked, “Are you glad we decided to come out?” I said, “Yes.” (I won’t talk about how the wind died down to almost nothing when it was time for Scott to ‘drive’ and we had to put on the motor and grind to our anchorage.)

Sometimes I am afraid. Sometimes my fears are of the unknown like the monster fish or the unpredicted weather. Sometimes my fears are of the moment, like the height of the waves or the tangling of the leech line. For me, so far, these fears have been a chance to find out what I can do. And I think I can do a lot. But not everything. It’s about balance and being in ‘sync.’

When Gracie decided to pee in our bed, I wasn’t in control of that situation. But I handled it. When the waves grew to 6 feet when we were heading to Rogers City I wasn’t in control, but I handled it. Can I always handle everything that comes my way? I don’t know. But that is life. And I love it.


1 comment:

Cindy said...

Sue speaks...and it is good.