Kids, Don't Try This At Home!

Hi, and welcome to the adventures of "Triton", a 45' Robertson & Caine Leopard catamaran we purchased in July of 2007, in Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands. We sailed her back to Emeryville, California, located in the lovely San Francisco East Bay area, worked a few more years, then set off cruising in the fall of 2014. This journal is the story of our ongoing adventure, the folks we've met along the way, and the hardships and joys of that journey. Please read along and let us know what you think!

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here to start from the very beginning of the entire adventure. You can navigate from post to post simply by clicking the NEXT or PREVIOUS phrases at the top or bottom of each page. To find out what we've been fixing, changing, upgrading, click on the Triton Boat Work link under Related Websites. If you want to subscribe to this blog (and get emails letting you know whenever we update it) just click on the icon that says "subscribe to: posts (atom)" at the bottom of each page.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Rob By Any Other Name...


Dear Reader,

Now I usually refer to you as such, although I've greeted you many other ways as well. Does it upset you if I called you something else? Say "Most Reverent Peruser", "Scanner Of All He Surveys" or even "Bored Web Surfer"? What"s in a name, really? Well, as you've heard, we played a mean trick on Robert by pretending to not ever remember his name, always calling him something different. And, as things unfolded, he took it all with grace and aplomb. Of course, we came clean eventually, and it was all in good fun, but the name thing remains a source of great amusement for us.

Now, don't think for one second that once we revealed the practical joke, the name calling stopped. No, far from it. We've all developed various nicknames for each other, and they all require some explaining. Actually, no amount of explaining will really get the point across, but it has been a source of entertainment for us throughout the journey. For instance, for Rain there was the obvious "fat ass", "kitchen bitch", and Robinson's favorite "sea anchor". We've called Robinson everything from "Jodie Girl's Name" (his first name is actually Jodie) to "Jack Of No Trades" and "Don Flan"-- he flirts, but he's still a bit of a custard. Robert has had many names, but our favorite has been "El Muneco" which means "action doll". We've feminized it to "La Muneca" whenever we are feeling particularly mean. Of course, the crew has shown nothing but the highest respect for their captain, referring to him reverently as "El Hefe" (and when he isn't in ear shot, "El Hefecito", which means little boss) or "El Gordo", which they assure me means "His Immenseness." I need to look that one up.

So we have made it through the Tehautepecs with barely a scratch and arrived in Mexico safe and sound with nothing seriously broken. We considered ourselves lucky. Several of the folks we'd been cruising with have reported serious problems getting through some of the more difficult passages around here. We'd just heard from back from Stephanie and Jeff on Musetta, who'd been sailing south through the Papaguyo's. These are winds that occur south of here that are very similar in nature to the Tehuatepecs. With no warning they suddenly found themselves in forty five knots of wind with too much sail up. Before they could get everything down, they had ripped their jib, tore out a fairlead, broken their boom vang, and taken on a lot of water, sand and dirt through a broken hatch that ruined a lot of their electronics including their laptop computer, not to mention the damage to their beautiful interior. We were heartsick to hear about this, especially given how beautiful a boat it was and how well kept it is. They said they would spend the next few weeks cleaning things up, but if I had to guess, I'd say they won't move until everything is spotless again. Good luck with everything guys!

We've taken a few days to relax and prepare for the next leg, which is the bash up the coast to Puerto Vallarta. There have been very strong Northerlies (winds coming from exactly where we need to go) so we are going to wait a bit while they pass us by. Weather off the west coast of California and Mexico has been horrific, with some of the worst storms in history being reported. Had we made better time, we'd still be sitting in Cabo waiting for them to pass us by. It is some consolation for our delays, but its frustrating how much longer everything takes to do that what one would have hoped. At this point I'll be lucky to get home by the new year.

In the meantime we've been making friends with the other cruisers, some of whom we had met before in Puesta Del Sol. We've befriended a crew member from another boat, a guy named Ryan from Canada. It is surprising how quickly you can make friends while out sailing. Back in the real world folks are unlikely to just come up to you, invite you to dinner or help you fix your car. Out here, everyone goes out of their way for you. It's wonderful in a way that is hard to convey, unless you've hung around a lot with the Burning Man crowd, or grew up in the country, or lived abroad. You may never see them again, but that doesn't stop you from getting to know folks quickly, enjoying their company immensely and sharing a great time.

At dinner tonight we were all sitting around telling stories about our sailing experiences. Invariably, the conversation centered around problems we've had with government agencies, officials, absurd rules and the like. We all told horror stories of trying to get into or out of a country, the annoying red tape and bureaucracy, the customs inspectors that bust your balls, the port captains that try to make your life difficulty for no apparent reason. Not five minutes later we started talking about work, and the various jobs we've all had. "So, Ryan, what do you do?" I asked. There was a bit of a pause, then he smiled and said "I'm a Customs Inspector". We all burst out laughing as he explained that he worked on the Canadian border, and understood exactly what we were going through, only from the opposite side. It was an amusing turn around for all of us to hear his perspective. Since he didn't work on the ports, we decided he was okay after all.

Today Ryan asked us if we all wanted to go surfing with him. There is a good beach a few miles away, and the cab ride is only a few dollars. Now Robinson is a pretty fair surfer, and Robert has tried his hand at it a few times. I've surfed twice. The last time resulted in black and blues the length of my arm and leg, and near fatal exhaustion. Rain didn't feel the need for any bruises, but wanted a day relaxing on the beach. When we got there we found a surf shop that charged exorbitant prices for board rentals, but we didn't know any better so we all rented a board and walked off towards the beach.

Getting to where we wanted to surf was actually a bit tricky; there as a small river that cut across the beach and ran out to the sea. To cross it, you needed to go through the most shallow portion, just at the tidal zone, but there was a really strong current, with loose rocks and shells underfoot. There were a few moments where I though one or the other of us were going to end up dragged out to sea in the rip current, but we made it through. We found a shady spot, threw down our towels and headed out to the surf.

The waves themselves turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, as they broke right on shore. Robert got up once for a bit, Ryan seemed to do okay, Robinson managed a few waves, and your intrepid reporter caught one really promising curl that I misjudged, pitch poled my board, was launched over it, dragged along upside down underwater and eventually spit out on the beach. Overall we had difficulty judging the waves, they seemed to come in odd sets, first breaking close to shore, then far off, then over to the right. There didn't seem to be a consistent pattern to it, but the local surfers seemed to know exactly where they waves. The more I do this sport, the more I understand its attraction. It is much like golf. It seems easy, and is maddingly hard to perform with any skill or consistency, and years of experience make all the difference.

I've included some pictures of us before we set out, and some of us after we got back. It was exhausting, and I didn't last very long at all. Robinson and Ryan stayed out for quite a while, and we tried photographing them. Unfortunately I mistook one of the local surfers for Robinson (those Mexicans all look alike) so I didn't get any good shots of him on his board, but from a distance you can't tell who it is, so just pretend.

Rain needs to be going back soon, so we will be losing one of the most fun crew members we've had in a while. Although we've teased her mercilessly, she has given as good as she got. Her cutting remarks, withering stare and most especially, that innocent look when she has just poured ice water down your back. We kept hoping that she'd change her mind, but no amount of pleading or tears could sway her from returning back to work and finding bugs in the other programmer's code. I told you she was evil, but we'll miss her anyway.

We leave for Puerto Escondito next, its about a day away, and then on to Zihautanejo and eventually to Puerto Vallarta. We hope everyone is doing well, and we look forward to seeing you all as soon as we can.




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