Sunday, December 11, 2016 What Happened to Captain Peter and the Admiral?

 

Woke up:                  Chula Vista Marina, Chula Vista, California

Went to sleep:         Chula Vista Marina, Chula Vista, California

What Happened to Captain Peter and the Admiral?

It’s a stunningly beautiful day for a sail on San Diego Bay. The cloudless sky is aqua blue and the brilliant, warming sunshine glistens on the water. Peter and I are underway, if only to the San Diego Bay entrance buoy and back.

december-sailing

Six months ago, I left La Paz, Mexico via Alaska Airlines, in route to the US of A. Our friend, James, had flown into Mexico several days prior to help Peter and Penelope bash north up the Baja Peninsula to San Diego. I left them to the task.

Following two season in Mexico, with minimum consternation, Peter and I agreed to cruise southern California for a while. For the first time in two years we have a mailing address – 550 Marina Parkway, Chula Vista, CA 91910.

Chula Vista Marina/RV Park is a lovely vacation destination people save and wait all year to enjoy. We have access to the pool, hot tub, deli, exercise room and regularly scheduled social events because we live here.

Chula Vista, a town of 200,000, lies 10 miles removed from the hustle and bustle of San Diego. Within a very short bike ride, I can easily visit Target, Michaels, GNC, Walmart, Costco, the mall, AMC Theater, Office Max, Sprouts, Albertsons and a U.S. Post Office. Our domestic needs are satisfied within a 5 mile radius.

Cruising, by definition, is a transient lifestyle. As my regular readers know, there are many, many things to love about sailing the beautiful waters of the Baja Peninsula, the Sea of Cortez and mainland Mexico. But, the familiarity of a single domicile simplifies life and reduces stress immensely. Knowing where to find the peanut butter aisle at the local supermarket is a treat.

As soon as we arrived, Peter got a relief captaining job on an 80’ charter fishing boat, The Constitution. This took him out to sea almost 24/7. He slept at home only one night in seven weeks. It didn’t take long for him to lose interest in being up all night, dealing with crude fishermen, and being away from home so much. He quit on Labor Day.

In his absence, I removed the varnish from Penelope’s exterior using a heat gun and scraper. It was an enormous project but I kept after it, finishing with four coats of varnish after 5 weeks’ work.

Soon Peter landed a real job. He was snapped up in a heartbeat by BAE Systems. The interviewer proclaimed the scarcity of machinists who can actually operate a lathe.

 

I am a substitute teacher for Coronado Island and the Chula Vista School District. The schools are so desperate for “guest teachers” I could take three assignments per day if it was physically possible. I work every day.

I love being in the schools. I love the smell of glue and crayons and construction paper. I love the tidbits of knowledge posted on every wall and flat surface. I love the sound of children at recess. I love to hear kids I know say, “Hello, Mrs. Gierga!” when I pass them in the hall.

I am an excellent teacher. Despite the opinion of one snotty 8th grade girl, I explain things well. I provide applicable real life examples. And, if somewhere along the line some kid remembers something I explained, I will have touched a life.

We choose not to own a car. We don’t really need one. With the moderate climate of southern California, walking, biking and the trolley are completely reasonable modes of transportations. And, there’s always Uber for long distance travel.

Certainly, we intend to visit Mexico again. We hope to venture even further south into Central America, the Panama, the Bahamas and even Hawaii next time. Peter is fastidious about maintaining and improving the systems aboard our beloved 38-foot Hans Christian sailing vessel (S/V), Penelope and I, too, look forward to going again.

I’m learning to speak Spanish. This 60-year old brain is slow to pick it up but I stubbornly work on it each day. When we return to Mexico, I’ll be able to get to know the locals on a more personal level once hablo espanol.

Until next time . . .

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Sunday, May 29, 2016 San Diego

My NewWoke up: Chula Vista, California, USA

Went to sleep: Chula Vista, California, USA

San Diego

I touched down in one of the most dangerous airports in the United States on Wednesday. The flight path into San Diego International requires the pilot to navigate just inches above the downtown skyscrapers. It’s a harrowing experience watching people through their apartment windows doing their dishes.

On a mild spring afternoon, a gracious Moroccan cab driver took me first to US Bank where I deposited $2,000 I had scotch taped inside my underwear then on to Chula Vista Marina. Along with a hefty tip, I gave Hussein valuable career advice. Offered by someone who has tried it all.

I’ve been in California just three days and already have myself intricately entangled.

First, I met with the General Manager of the marina and outlined the yoga program, necessary supplies and my salary. Gainful employment – check.

Continuing my Spanish lessons should be no concern. Simply go to Walmart for an hour a day and you’ll be fluent in no time. Even easier, nearly every grounds keeper and maintenance person at the marina speaks Spanish. But, I’m checking into Spanish classes at the community college just to be safe. They say learning a foreign language is one of the best things you can do for an aging brain.

I took the first step toward obtaining my California Teaching Credential. I’m registered to take the California Education Basic Skills Test (CBEST). This will determine if I’m competent at reading, writing and arithmetic – we’ll see.

Finally, I volunteered to work, in lieu of registration, at this year’s Yoga Journal convention to be held here in San Diego.

I think that’s enough for now.

A very sweet woman, Anna, is allowing me to live on her 36-foot power boat -for free- until Peter arrives.  She’s in Wisconsin so I have the boat to myself.

 

My New Digs

Peter, James and Penelope

Peter, James and Penelope left Cabo San Lucas Friday morning. Last night was their first overnight at sea. I hope and pray they will be safe and as comfortable as possible bashing into 15-  to 20- knot winds out of the northwest for 800 miles. I don’t expect to hear a word for 5-7 days. Like Peter says, “No news is good news.” Please keep them in your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016 Choosing to Stop Cruising – For Now

Woke up:                  Timbabichi, Bahia San Carlos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Went to sleep:          Isla San Francisco, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Choosing to Stop Cruising – For Now

Peter and I have loved our cruising experience.

The Day We Picked Up Penelope

The Day We Picked Up Penelope

We’ve relished getting to know the Baja Peninsula and the west coast of mainland Mexico over the past two years. Sailing within these areas, moving at 2 knots, gives one an intimacy flying into a tourist resort cannot. We’ve had a profoundly positive experience of Mexico, her people, and their culture.

 

The Guards at La Cruz

The Guards at La Cruz

The Arreguin Family

The Arreguin Family

Our lives have been spent “living on the hook”,

Living on the Hook

Living on the Hook

trusting the anchor to hold well, waking up to beautiful sunrises each day,

Tenacatita Bay

Tenacatita Bay

depending on the dinghy as our only form of transportation,

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having to make brutal beach landings and even more hair raising departures if we want to go to shore, walking wherever we go, hauling provisions home in turbulent seas, meeting new people, bumping into boats and people we already know, sailing like a snail when there’s not enough wind,

Peter has to row

Peter has to row

being pummeled when there’s too much wind, sailing through the night under a full moon on Christmas Eve,

Moon Over Cruise Ship

racing with the dolphins, missing family and friends, bathing in the cock pit, motoring home after dinner under a star filled sky and searching for Penelope among all the other vessels in the darkness, making water, conserving power, being rocked to sleep in my 38-foot cradle with the sound of the surf crashing on the beach in the background.

Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas

Shopping at the Mercado

Shopping at the Mercado

Living on the Hook

Living on the Hook

We cherish the exquisite sun sets behind majestic mountains with gentle breezes creating sparkles on the water that look like stars. We love and respect Penelope who has sheltered us and carried us every step of the way. Our feelings of accomplishment, gratitude and awe will inspire our lives for the rest of our lives.

Beautiful Sunset

Beautiful Sunset

Two years ago, if you had asked me what I would sacrifice to have all of my days free to do as I please, I would have said, “Everything.” After 40-years of full time employment, loafing for a living felt like a dream come true.

I’ve had many idle hours, though, to consider what truly makes me happy. Certainly, sailing through the ocean, climbing steep slopes and exploring new places

Tabor Canyon aka Steinbeck Canyon

Tabor Canyon aka Steinbeck Canyon

are high on the list. While feelings of uselessness crept into my days, I came to realize, it takes more than beauty and adventure to complete me.

I need to be doing. I need to be doing something purposeful. I need to build community and create lasting connection with others. I need opportunities to learn and grow spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Besides all this, I will never again take cable TV, high speed internet, having coffee with a friend, going to a movie, having unlimited choices at the grocery store, a place to ride my bike, being close to family for granted.

Peter and I are as thrilled to be taking a year off from cruising as we were to embark on this epic adventure. We’ll make our home at the Chula Vista Marina in Chula Vista, CA.

Sunset off the back of Penelope in Chula Vista Marina

Sunset off the back of Penelope in Chula Vista Marina

I hope to augment my role as Yoga Program Director/Teacher

Yoga Teacher

Yoga Teacher

for the marina with more yoga teacher training. I also want to teach in the elementary public schools and see if I can be a positive role model.

The Children

The Children

I’ll continue to study Spanish so future time spent in Mexico will bring a more personal engagement.

Peter has a lengthy list of things he wants to do to Penelope. We already have the most beautiful, well equipped and seaworthy vessel in the fleet. I trust he’ll make her even better and more comfortable.

So much to look forward to.

He plays until dark

He plays until dark

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