Page 25 - 48º North - The Sailing Magazine - December 2017
P. 25

When Cruisers Aren’t Cruising By Becca Guillote
Part of cruising, it turns out, is... well... not cruising. In pretty much all areas of the world, there are at least a few months when it is inadvisable to be out on the water. For example, in Oregon and Washington, that time is November-to-April (give or take), when low-pressure storms regularly roll across the coast with high winds and piercing rains.
In southern Mexico (along with much of the rest of Mexico and central America), that no-go time is June through October. This is hurricane season. Rainy season. Thunder and lightening and mosquitos and humidity season. It is not that you can’t go sailing; it’s just that sailing is not much fun. Besides the discernable fear of a hurricane, the humidity this time of year generates daily thunderstorms (lightening + sailing = no fun) and quells any thought of a consistent breeze.
We decided to leave our Valiant 40, Halcyon, in Chiapas, Mexico for the off-season, hauled out and tucked away while we embarked on the new adventure of not-cruising (or “land travel,” as some people might call it). Over the last five months, we have
backpacked in Guatemala, visited family in Virginia, hiked up volcanoes, delivered three boats, biked in the Gulf Islands, advanced our business, met friends’ new babies, and slept on approximately 27 different couches and guest beds.
We watched the weather from afar, keeping a close eye on any potential hurricanes forming in the Pacific, but were spared any major storm events. We didn’t realize we should have been watching the tectonic weather instead (when will that be invented?). While we were relaxing in Seattle one evening in early September, drinking wine with friends, we learned that an 8.2 magnitude earthquake had just struck Mexico 70 miles from Halcyon (this was a few days before the Mexico City earthquake).
It was hard to gather any accurate information in the following hours, and we felt so incredibly helpless not knowing how Halcyon had faired. We emailed a cruising friend that was staying in the same marina, and he graciously responded quickly, despite his own mounting fears and anxiety. He was on the roof of the marina building; the water was starting to rise;
it was dark but it looked like the masts in the dry yard were still pointing up. His phone was going to die.
In the end, Halcyon came out unscathed. The tsunamis over the ensuing 12 hours did a number on the marina, but miraculously no boats were harmed. At the same time, Irma was wreaking havoc in the Caribbean. We can empathize with those watching that storm from far away, totally helpless to protect their homes (on land or at sea). We are palpably fortunate that Halcyon – and all the other boats in our marina – avoided harm.
And so our recent homecoming is particularly sweet. Halcyon was covered in grime but otherwise just how we’d left her; with a dry bilge, no mildew, and topped up batteries to boot. I may or may not have hugged the keel when we got home; I was so happy to see her upright and in good health.
But our adventures of not-cruising are not over yet! The tsunamis after the earthquake pushed water into the parking lot and covered the motor on the travel lift, leaving it waterlogged and corroded. The marina has been waiting for replacement parts from
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