Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"I've sailed farther than most have dreamed"

Bonus points if you know where I lifted the line. 

I can't claim to have sailed that far but the recent weeks spent re entering American society have made it clear to me just how far out in my own floating universe I'd been.  Most people are not out crisscrossing the globe treating the world's oceans as their personal playground.  Instead, they are going to work - everyday.  Day after day after day.  Now I am too.  It has only been a few weeks and I already feel like I've transitioned from being a cruiser to one who dreams about going cruising.

One of the many pointless mind games I engage in while poring over charts include trying to divide all ports into either destinations or points of departure.  The destinations are usually easier to identify.  At least in reputation as they promise exotica, the antidote to all those years you spent working day after day.  Like, in the Marquesas, I didn't meet locals living on sailboats saving up their money so they could one day fulfill their dream and sail to a place like Long Beach.  Hawaii is a bit curious in this regard as it isn't so clear which side it sits on.  Hands down it is THE tourist destination for mainland Americans but that doesn't easily carry over into the cruising scene.  The truth is that it has a crap reputation and in some ways deservedly so.  Too much wind on the windward side and in the dreaded channels while the leeward side requires motoring.  Not enough natural harbors and the worst state run marinas anywhere in the country that are unfriendly to visiting yachts.  Hawaii isn't on any of the circumnavigation routes.  The customs official that cleared me in said sixty boats a year, the overwhelming majority from Mexico in May.  These boats are usually west coast boats doing a half hearted go at the South Pacific.  A bit of French Polynesia, a straight shot up to Hawaii and then they head back home at the peak of summer avoiding the nightmare of where to keep their boat as they only spent a few months in Hawaii.  As a visiting yacht you can only stay in one facility for a maximum of ninety days per calendar year provided there is space.  There are locals who have endured the bureaucracy (often compared to the third world) to obtain an annual permit.  I have met many of them while rowing to shore while anchored here in Reed's bay.   The anchor out community is very familiar.   If you have ever attended a nautical flea market in the USA and witnessed the cast of arm chair sailors, mostly older males all looking the imagined version of the wizened salt, then you know well what I am referring to.

This is my current reality.  Trying to get along with the system so I can keep the boat here the entire winter while I try and finance a refit.  On a good day, I can convince myself that this is part of my cruising experience, that it is fun to be in the Hawaii phase of my trip.  On the bad days, the blog could easily turn into the tired rant of what it feels like to see the "new" corporate run America.  We won't go there.  I grew up in this.  It is all too familiar and I have seen it spreading.  What was I expecting?  That it would change while I was out sailing and become better?  I know the drill.  Make the money.  Don't give it back.  Go simple.  Go now. 



Sean said...

"I no longer know how far I have got, except that we long ago left the borders of too much behind."

Jason Duell said...

Thanks for the info on Hawaii. I'd heard bad things about it as a cruising stop before. Good to know there's at least one place to anchor out in.

Emmanuel Marshall said...

yep! go now. my golden rule too amigo! thanks for the post.