SLOW LIKE CRABS

We didn’t leave on Tuesday, we waited until Wednesday. The full moon left it’s effects on the sea inside of us for days.

We are both Cancers- moody, soft, loving, crabs and our ruler is the moon. We are moon sisters. Anyway, the moon made us very yellow for some reason and there were ripples and we needed rest, which got all up in the way of our departure. Well that, and the rumbling sound that came from the prop shaft every time I put the engine in gear. Forward, reverse, didn’t matter. Sounded like machines making love in an aggressive manner.

My kind neighbor, and I have many kind neighbors, that’s the beauty of sailors, everybody helps each other out. A dock or an anchorage is the most generous neighborhood I’ve ever been to.

Anyway my kind neighbor, dove into the marina water to check my prop, shaft, and cutless bearing. He found nothing out of wack. We checked the transmission fluid, no flakes inside, perfect levels. I researched and discovered that, sometimes the shaft can make this sound after not being in use for a while and you just rev up the RPMs to fix it.

I closed my eyes, put her in forward and she made that wretched sound and then I throttled up, then throttled down, then reverse, then up, then down, then forward, then up, then down, then reverse, then up, then down, then forward, then boom! It worked. The sound dissipated.

We left the marina around 10 am. When we exited the Papeete channel, all I wanted to do was fall off and go straight to Moorea because the wind was coming from the northeast, not East as predicted, and the swell was choppy and coming aboard and the wind was hitting us in the face with 25 knots and my motor could only push us little more than a knot against it.

I mean, who in the hell decides to go upwind in the trades during rainy season with a staph infection? Me!

Moorea would have been nice. It would have been something adventurous. It just wouldn’t have been what I set out to do. So we kept going the direction of Ahe.

At the beginning of any voyage, I move like I’m stepping into cold water. Calculating risks, revisiting all the muck I’ve ever seen at sea, constantly thinking of my escape plan. It took me an hour, maybe more, of observing the conditions and myself before I hoisted the main. Then another hour to pull the jib out.

We motor sailed to the east tip of Tahiti and I finally felt that east wind and it was lighter and the sea was calmer, so I turned the engine off and we kept going, slow like the crabs that we are. Reefed down.

Then a squall came. It was bigger than a hippopotamus and we were sailing straight into the thick of it. Surprisingly it had no effect on me. I felt no fear as we approached. I felt like the squall was an old friend, that I never really cared for, and was seeing again for the first time in a while. I looked at it and said, “How do you do?“ Then it spit all over my face.

Behind that squall was a bunch of wind. Then another squall. Then no wind. Then another squall. And somewhere along the way my yellow outfit turned red.

Anyways, the wind is all wonky. It’s East. Then northeast. Then north northeast. We are thrown off course often. I’m hugging the wind as close to 30 as I can get. But I need to be like inside the winds throat to get where I’m going. And I’m not going fast at all. Sometimes 5 knots, if I’m lucky, if I ran around and shook reefs and put them back in and put up the staysail and turned the engine on and blah, blah, blah, blah blah, I could faster, Feds but I don’t care. It’s just nice to be out here again. Plus trying to haul ass upwind is just like going against the Gods entire plans when the seas and winds were created and the idea for a boat was planted into (wo)man’s head.

So far, I have broken the zipper on my stack pack. Two years ago it took me hours upon hours and blood to sew it on. I reflected upon that fact, but not for long because I will soon endure it all over again.

Brianna threw up. Wiped her mouth, then helped me furl the jib in a smidge. I love sailing with her. She is the best non-sailor that I’ve ever sailed with. It’s like she knows without knowing. I don’t know how. I feel calm with her here and I like that.

It was a risk, I felt, to bring her. I deliberated over the decision for a long time. I deliberate over everything for a long time. If I was a fruit and you squeezed me, a bunch of indecisive thoughts would drip out. And they would taste sour and you would wince.

But once I do make up my mind, that’s it. It’s done. And I’ll walk through fire to get it done. And I would probably ask you and a bunch of other people to help me walk through that fire because I don’t know what I’m doing, and you would probably help me because you liked the fact that I was walking through the fire and you’ve never seen someone who wasn’t a fire-walker do that.

The clouds are all cumulus rising to cumulonimbus. The moon is hiding from the sun. The sea sounds better than pop music. There is lighting in the north and I see stars upon stars upon sky upon stars.

Damn, it feels good to be back.

Just after I wrote that last sentence, I got slapped by a 30 knot squall and there was a slight sting in the salt air, but I still mean what I said.

3 Replies to “SLOW LIKE CRABS”

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