Monday, May 16, 2016

To Lopez Island via Sailboat


On Friday, I had the beautiful opportunity to "sail" to Lopez Island with D.M. I put sail in quotes because we never really sailed -- but we did motor all the way up there at a solid 4-5 knots.

My first exchange with D.M. went something like this:

Me: Hey, we can play cribbage. Maybe in the San Juans, Eastern Washington, a park or something?
D.M.: "Well hard to argue with those fine suggestions. I'd counter with a sail to San Juans and Cribbage."
Me: Cool.

So, around a week later, we went!


D.M. lives year-round on his sailboat and has for around five years and is a friendly ambassador for the sailing community.

He calculated that the trip up would take around 10-12 hours and doubted that we could use our sails. The wind would be in our face and, if we wanted to use it by tacking (sailing school finally comes in handy!), we would've gotten there in such a slow time that it wouldn't be worth making the trip.

We set off at six from Seattle, cruising past landmarks like Golden Gardens, Edmonds, and Kingston (crepes!). It was a bit choppy to start 1-2 foot waves, but nothing too out there. He was definitely right about one thing and that was that it was going to be cold on the water. I felt foolish packing so many layers but every single blessed one came to use.

Besides an hour when he took a nap, I was pretty useless. That was ok with me as long as I knew he was content with the circumstances. I knew he'd ask for help if he needed it. It was fun when I did get to be at the helm because I felt like a magical bad-ass. Truly. Even though I wasn't doing much, it was a magnificent blast to be absolutely surrounded by water in the Puget Sound.

There was Point No Point Lighthouse to the west, backed by the Olympics. Whidbey Island, the town of Maxwellton, was coming up on the right. Every song I played seemed to serendipitously mention sailing.

I was glad D.M. got up when he did because it was just as we were reaching where the Puget Sound funnels into a narrower flow that feeds into the ocean and the tide was going out. This is where we got to try and out chase waves. There was one time where we went sideways and my reality totally tilted and I liked that a lot. I could because between full faith in the boat and D.M., I was safe.

Eventually, 10 PM came and I was exhausted and D.M. encouraged me to head down to bed. This had already been arranged when we set up the weekend. I told him I couldn't, by any means, stay up a full night (we were sailing overnight, 6 PM to 6 AM) sailing. With bipolar disorder, a lack of sleep isn't an option at all. I was surprised at how well I slept.

Waking up was an odd sensation. For one, I was on a sailboat. For seconds, I would then remember that for every minute I had slept, D.M. was up on deck manning the helm and bringing us closer to Lopez Island. At one point I woke up and peaked my head up, for I thought I had heard him knocking for me. Half awake, staring up at a lanky 6' 2: tall man in a thick peacoat with the dark sky and stars behind him, it was hard to place reality for a second.

I went back down and next time I woke up, it was around 5:10 AM and I got up. 7 hours of sleep would do with a nap later.

He said something about Lopez Island and port and pointed east to the land. I got confused. Turned out we were already there. Welcome to Lopez Island. He navigated us into Fisherman Bay, tucked into the closest slip, and we were home for the weekend.

After he did the thing he does, we napped soundly. After an hour, he slept on (as he should) and I dashed off to see who I could find.

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