Monday, October 7, 2013

Lessons Learned in Port

A long overdue post of Claire's thoughts during the Seattle, WA to Newport, OR leg. - Adam

September 2, 2013

It's Claire again, what, you say, is she still doing on this boat? It is a great question and the impetus for this post on a lesson learned from sailing, patience.   We have been stuck in Westport, WA going on four days now.  We theoretically plan to leave tomorrow, but only time will tell. We arrived in Westport and thought the winds were going to shift the next day, but Mother Nature had a different idea.  She threw in a gale down south where we need to go and so we have stayed.  The interesting thing about sailing the Pacific Coast is that there are not a lot of places to pull out.  There are marinas from here to Newport, but all the guidebooks say entering them is treacherous on a good day and so once we leave we need to be able to sail 20 or so plus hours to Newport because there is really nowhere to go if the weather gets bad. And so we have waited for Mother Nature to give us the right conditions.  Of course we would all like to be sailing rather than stuck at the marina.  We thought we were going to be in Newport last Sunday, but that just wasn't in the cards.  So when sailing, one has to be flexible and patient in order to be safe.  We have spent the last few days reading and doing boat projects.  Adam just finished installing a new chart light and re-gooped (technical I know) a whole bunch of things we thought leaked in our first leg out a sea.   The bright side of being stuck in port is that you get to explore a town you might not ever had considered visiting.  Nathan and I walked to the lighthouse today and then to the grocery store. On way back we found a local brewery and came back with a growler (another plus to being stuck, we can go ahead and imbibe a bit).  And so we hope that our wait was worthwhile.  Two boats left yesterday which made us doubt our plans, but then we heard a few calls over the radio for help and we decided we had made the right choice.  Good things come to those who wait, right?

Once out on the water you are at the mercy of the wind, waves, and current and can only go as fast as these forces allow.  Again one has to be patient, you can calculate that the trip should only take 20 hours, but it very well could take 30. There are so many charts and reports to read to help you predict, but at the end of the day, these are all still predictions.  I think it is much easier to be patient and flexible when you are not working. Nathan and I had planned to be on our way to Glacier at this point, but it's just not going to work.  There is nothing we can do about it, so no need to be angry or mad, because it just is.  Justin, on the other hand, has a deadline, so has been concerned about our slow progress. He has, however, thanks to the interwebs, been able to get some work in.  

The second lesson I have learned is that it is possible for a girl and three boys to live on a 36-foot boat.  Things are tight, but we make it work. Adam sleeps where we eat.  Nathan and I have to move loads of things in and out of the v- berth daily as it serves as our sleeping quarters at night, but storage for lots of random things during the day.  Things on the boat serve multiple purposes. For example, I just used the stovetop toaster to steam green beans tonight.  We have a composting toilet that requires quite a bit of attention when you have four people using it pretty consistently and only one cook can be in the kitchen at a time without bumping butts. But it works.  All of Adam’s possessions are on this boat and we have stuffed our few in the cracks.  It turns out you don't need a whole lot. I mean we all know this, right? But it is not until you live on a 36ft boat (or a cabin in the woods as Nathan and I did our first year in Portland together) that you actually really think about what you need.  It makes me think about our trip to Utah earlier this summer.  When Nathan and I were in Arches National Park, we saw an old house built by a civil war veteran and lived in for about a decade with his son, daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren.  The building was literally the size of our kitchen and I thought, how did they do it? Now, I sort of understand it all.  If that is what you have then you make do. And so I guess I will try to keep this all in mind when I think about what I "need" and what I "really need."


(crew from Seattle, WA to Newport, OR)

Claire and Nathan rewarded while patiently waiting for wind. (Photo courtesy of Moments #1 crew member, Justin Cherniak)