Sailing and (Meteor) Showers

Sailing Mount Baker

Sailing back across Rosario Strait. Mount Baker in the background.

Dark grey clouds hung low in the air, muffling sounds and lending a stillness to the morning. Not an ideal looking morning to take the boat out, but the forecast was for clear sky this evening. Still salty from a sauna I’d had late last night with friends, I longed to take a shower but the day beckoned me with a promise of adventure. After a quick trip to pick up a Friday Harbor friend from the ferry terminal, we set out.

It was an utterly windless day, so I didn’t bother with sails. We motored east across Rosario Strait toward Lopez Pass. Bird Rocks are three small islands that form a shoal in the middle of the Strait. We tried out my new binoculars (thanks Mom & Dad for the early Christmas present!) and spotted a bald eagle and a heard of about five stellar sea lions. A small cluster of fishing boats trolled the waters west of Bird Rocks. I got to watch one net a decent sized black-mouth salmon. We dodged logs and debris the whole way from dock slip to our final anchorage in Lopez Sound. High tides and high winds had stirred up every beach in the area.

After setting the hook and dropping off a crab trap, I crashed on the couch with my Kindle for some R&R. I finished Confessions of a Long Distance Sailor and ran across this quote at the very end…

I no longer believe I can save life up – it has to be spent to have any value. And that in order to live, to have adventure, you have to be willing to die.

…And it got me thinking about how life can be ‘spent’. Life could be sold, for time spent earning a paycheck. Life can certainly be wasted. Or it can be lived with a sense of adventure. Sold, wasted, or lived. I can’t think of any other way to spend it. Can you?

Cooking Crab

We caught three crab during our trip and cooked them when we got back to the dock. Yum!

As darkness descended, we migrated to the soggy beach. Despite the dampness, I was able to get a warm fire going. We drank my homemade apple wine while watching for shooting starts from the Geminid Meteor Shower. The clouds of the day had cleared completely and left us with a stunning view of the Milky Way. We must have seen over thirty shooting stars. It was awesome!

After a leisurely morning, we sailed back to Anacortes. The wind was a stiff 15 – 20 miles per hour out of the northeast. I tied down the first reef point on my main sail and raised the jib. Happily balanced, the boat charged across the strait.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the idea of living on my boat the five months over the summer. I wonder to myself, “Can I really do it?”. Weekends like these instill a deep sense of confidence. They are a glimps into the world of leisure and beauty that awaits me this summer.

Related posts:

Dungeness Crab Cakes
Pros and Cons of Living On A Boat
Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 5
2 Responses to “Sailing and (Meteor) Showers”
  1. Alex says:

    Hi Chris,

    Your blog is great fun to read. I like it so much because we have a lot in common and also because you are willing to share so many personal details. For example lots of pictures of yourself, financials with numbers, and grand future plans that sometimes don’t happen as you envisioned.

    I’m 41, just about ready to quit my engineer job for a life of adventure, and also love sailing. I’m in Reno, NV. I have no plans to live aboard in the future because my wife gets seasick (we have no kids). I’m thinking maybe I could work as crew on other’s boats to get some good sailing time in and gain experience. I’ve only had one big sailboat, a 21′ Santana which I sailed in Lake Tahoe and other local lakes.

    Puget Sound area is amazing although I’ve never sailed there and only seen it a few times. A friend of mine who is financially independent has plans to buy a sailboat up there (he lived on Ft Lewis in the 90’s and had a MacGregor boat) and live on it with his family for a year or so.

    I completely agree with you about summers stuck in a cubicle, it might as well be a prison cell! I hope to escape sometime real soon, although it has been a decision I’ve been agonizing over since we do a lot of fun stuff where I work and the environment is actually about as good as it gets.

    I’ll keep reading if you keep writing.

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