Bob and Julie came out again this weekend, and what better way to occupy ourselves on a lovely July afternoon than with a sail? Greg, Jason, me and the kids, and Bob and Julie all fit on Lehua just fine, so let’s go….but first we had to head out of the marina and go through the Locks. This has become, in the summertime, a stressful hassle instead of a fresh adventure. Julie remarked on how different I sound now when I talk about the Locks – the crowds, the chaos, ugh – versus when we first got Lehua and I was enraptured by the whole thing. What was once a Seattle novelty experience is now a time-consuming twin cement gauntlet we have to run every time we want to go for a ride.
In the large Locks, on our way out to the Sound. On the first trip, the Lock guys were surprisingly disorganized, and we had to go out and come back in when one of them told us to move ahead, and then a minute later the other guy yelled at me, “YOU! SAILBOAT! STOP! BACK UP!”
Uh, we don’t back up that well, guys. Our stern always prop-walks to port so strongly that we basically spin in a clock-wise circle, so I spun around and came back for another approach. I did love being called SAILBOAT, though. Then the first guy said, “What did he tell you?” referring to second guy. I yelled, “He told us to back up!”, and the guy said, “Oh, well you better do what he says!”
YES SIR, LOCK DUDE SIR.
I drives me boat, he drives me dinghy! Ha! Ha ha! We finally got a dinghy. They’re so stupid expensive, but we had to have one, I was having honest-to-God nightmares of hitting some huge rock, or a whale, or you know just something, and Greg and I feverishly bailing water in some futile fashion while the kids stood neck-deep on a sinking Lehua, turning more hyperthermic by the minute. DEATH BY SHARP WHALE, or something. Maybe dreams aren’t rational, but in waking life, there are lots of good reasons for a dinghy. After seeing that crash at Duck Dodge and that boat half-sunk in the lake, I have been campaigning for us to get one before the summer is out and water turns cold(er).
On Saturday we bought a little 8-foot Walker Bay and set her up on Lehua’s foredeck. This also means that now we can go “on the hook” – go anchor somewhere, and row to shore! We gots some oars and everythang! Our first Lehua camping trip can’t be far behind…..
Random shot of Puget Sound, as seen from the boat. So un-exciting in 2D, but in 3D, it’s the best feeling in the world. Greg came home today and plopped down on the couch and smiled this big grin and said, “I love sailing!”
And I love that I got him into this and now his own excitement of it sustains him. He’s a better sailor than I am. I’m great with driving and parking, but Boo really knows how to sail. People try to get their spouses into their hobbies all the time. If I had to pick one of those in life to have been successful at, it’s this one. I’m extremely grateful!
Looking back toward the Locks.
INSERT SAILING HERE. We were gone for a few hours, we sailed around Shilshole Bay, then we came home. We saw one dolphin, one seal, many seabirds, and a lot of power boats. Winds were light, but the sun was shining, and we have good company, good food, and good conversation. My fibro was making things difficult, but hey, at least I got out there, and we didn’t hit anything. Let’s call it a successful day!
Back in the large Locks. We broke our record! Last time we went we had 32 boats with us. Today we had……54! We were rafted three boats thick. The guy who rafted next to us complimented me on my driving. That felt nice.
It’s funny how many people are on their cellphones (including me) while standing around in the Locks, and how I’m guessing so few of us ever actually make a call. Me, I’m taking picture after picture. I usually assume the younger people are texting. Younger people. I just said that.
I think in this Lock we had only two sailboats again. The rest are power boats. There is a lot of ribbing between sailors and motor yachts. Sailors are constantly complaining that the cruisers have their heads up their asses, of which we are unfortunately finding more and more examples, now that it’s summertime and the living is easy. When we first started boating, we met several cruisers were obviously driving safely and were very friendly – when we spoke to them, they were all ex-sailors.
Now when we go out, we notice a fair amount of bad behavior. The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that guys driving cruisers NEVER LOOK BEHIND THEM. It’s so frustrating in the Locks. Today we’re meandering in, single file, and this guy just stops his motor and hangs out, turning his boat, so he’s blocking the whole stupid entrance. We finally realized he was turning and waiting, hoping the smaller Lock would open, which it wasn’t, because, HELLO, IT IS FULL OF BOATS. So me and a dozen other people are throwing ourselves into reverse, waiting for this guy to figure out what he’s doing – and he never looked around him the entire time. La la la! Must be nice to be the only boat on the water! Finally he seemed to figure out the small Lock was occupied, and moved his behemoth out of the way.
This is the starboard side. This is part of what makes the Locks so chaotic. People everywhere. You have an audience, usually a big one. Many of them are taking video. Better hope you don’t hit anything and end up on YouTube.
And this is the port side. More people! Sometimes they wave. We’re so close to them and sometimes we have such fun conversations, that occasionally I get a compulsion to just yell, “Wanna go for a ride? Here, come aboard!”, but I’m pretty sure the best way to get arrested at the Locks is to lure someone over the gate. I heard a story once about a guy whose dog actually jumped out of the boat and onto the Lock wall, and the guy of course jumped out after it. The Lock guys went nuts. “GET BACK IN YOUR VESSEL! STAY ON BOARD YOUR VESSEL!”
We are on the waitlist for the Shilshole Bay Marina, and when we move there, we’ll be able to avoid the Locks altogether. Really, the worst part for me is just the spoons required. The spoon theory is this great illustration of life with chronic illness, where a woman recounts trying to explain to a friend what it’s like living with such little energy. She takes all the spoons off the surrounding tables, and gives them to her friend, and says, “Okay, so each spoon is a unit of energy, and you wake up with this many. And each activity takes away one or two spoons.”
And then she gives the woman just a few spoons, and says, “Here’s what it’s waking up with chronic illness. You have have only a few spoons, and all those daily activities take many more spoons than they do for a healthy person.”
The Locks are becoming SPOON SUCKERS. The concentration and time needed is something that really impacts me. It’s great to get to go out on the boat, but it’s also very draining, and the Locks double that, easy. I am glad we get to have these experiences now, because some part of me fears that in our later years, if this damn condition progresses, I won’t be able to do this anymore. I try not think about it, and just enjoy the we do have with Lehua as much as possible. Yay sailing! I love it. I love it so much. I enjoy it more because I know that I might have to leave it someday.