Saturday, December 25, 2004

As Events Churn

We sit here in the back cabin, Ari tucked up next to me wearing a doggie t-shirt and a set of purple beads. It's 10 at night and the kids are wide awake, and no wonder: they slept all day in a washing machine. It's roaring winds outside and yet here I am, writing, not sick, belly full of ripe avocado and homemade refried beans... how did that happen? Simple: we are not on open waters. But we indeed have left Gomera.
Our guardian angel Hannah waved us off from the breakwater during the last few minutes of calm waters. After that, sqalls along the coast had us bobbing about with three reefs and a sliver of a Genoa. Once we left the lee of Gomera's shore, the ocean was a stormy washing machine. That was the image that kept popping into my head: I was in the back cabin washing machine, a lumpy sweater with my two little socks. But really it was the guys upstairs who were getting the real wash over. It soon became clear that El Hierro, The southerly most island of the Canaries, was right in our path, and only the hardest core would have stayed out in such wooly conditions.

Entering and tying up at El Rastinga harbor was one of the hairiest maneuvers we've done in years, and made me ever so grateful to have this metal boat. The winds were fiercely howling as we figured out where we should go, and there was close to no space to maneuver about. Achim had us tie up the bumpers on the starboard side, but once we came crashing into the wall, it was like trying to cushion a freight train with a few pin cushions. The impact was loud as our bow roller and starboard side slammed the wall. But the damage was so minimal! I swear it would have crunched any other daintier vessel. Ari came up to the gangway, tears in his eyes. "Pangaea's hurt! We need a doctor, quick!" No matter how much I consoled him, he insisted that Pangaea had undergone an awful accident, and that he somehow would be thrown to the sharks.

Somehow, just knowing that we were going to a sheltered harbor made me stand the afternoon's banging about with more grace and less horror. But three hard one-day passages have done nothing for Ari and Toni's love for sailing, nor mine. "are we going to Oma's house?" Toni will ask every few minutes or hours. I too can't help but fantasize in each harbor we arrive about the airport, standby flights to somewhere far away from large expanses of rough water.

But I know that things can and will get better. I've said that, though, on each passage. First, the one leaving from Graciosa to Las Palmas, which was the worst of 'em. Then the overnighter to Gomera was better by only a sliver. And now this last passage. It's the WEATHER, stupid! I have to say to myself. It's been rough rough rough.

Coby and Achim have been eating up the challenge, though. They are a good sailing team. Plus Coby is great with the kids AND does dishes!

Now we are here, will we stay until Christmas? We'll leave you with that question, which only time will answer.

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