Greetings from Maine!
July 17, 2017
East Boothbay, Maine, 43.8636° N 69.5861° W
First off, please allow me to apologize for the very scant amount of communication that I was putting out this past month as I sailed Midnight Voyageur from Charleston, South Carolina to Boothbay, Maine. This is the first time Midnight Voyageur has been in the water in three years and I didn’t want to jinx the expedition by assuming I would actually complete the voyage. I’ve never thought of myself as superstitious, but I did avoid leaving on a Friday and I don’t like to share plans in detail when there are too many intangibles to take into account, especially given that the boat has been out of commission for three years.
In any case, Midnight Voyageur performed beautifully and is safe and sound at Ocean Point Marina in East Boothbay, Maine for the next month. Below is a summary of the trip:
Flipped Around in the Panama Canal
My brother John, a published author and English teacher, is my “go-to” guy when I need to buy a new stack of excellent literature. After hearing that I was suffering through Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” he gave me a list of books that would be a bit lighter and certainly more enjoyable.
One of the books was about a Bahamian kid who discovers a bale of weed while jogging on the beach. I found the subsequent adventure with its colorful Bahamian characters to be highly entertaining. While waiting in the endless customs/immigration line in El Salvador, I had the thought to take out my book. As I was reading, I started having this uneasy feeling that I was garnering the attention of people around me. In fact, it seemed like people in line were moving away from me. Hmmm? How odd. Continue reading
Mutiny, Cranky Whales, and Scary Squid
Greetings from Bahia Del Sol, El Salvador! After six weeks in the great white north, it’s been quite a shock to be back in 95 degrees with high humidity. I’m happy to say that Shannon and her crew are well and resting at a marina one mile up a river that’s surrounded by dense jungle.
Good-byes are hard…so just bring ‘em with ya!
We started this leg of the voyage from Ixtapa/Zihuatenejo on March 19th with four great crew: Sarah, Adam, Reuben and Ron. Several of the crew spent six weeks here and made lots of friends while exploring the area. I could tell they were a bit torn saying good-bye to their friends. To ease the pain, I told them we could take a few of them with us for an overnight cruise to Acapulco. Well, one friend became two and before we knew it we had five castaways: Daniela, Mason, Checko, Matt and Laura. We had a beautiful run down to Acapulco under clear skies. One of the more memorable moments was the impromptu concert that Checko, a professional guitarist, and Reuben provided for the crew. While scudding along with dusk settling upon the ocean, Checko serenaded the crew with Mexican and Cuban songs while Reuben accompanied on mandolin – not bad!
Hoist up the John B’s Sail
It’s the night before our departure and Cabo San Lucas is getting pounded by a very rare tropical downpour, water is running through the streets one foot deep, three of my four crew are hung-over, and the fourth was due in three hours earlier and is nowhere to be found. Well, isn’t this special.
What to do? I had no choice but to let it be what it’s gonna be and hope for the best. Of course, that doesn’t preclude me from expressing an opinion or two. Just as I had that thought my fourth crew member, J.L., walked by the cantina I was hunkered down in while enjoying the storm. Happily, things kept improving from that point on.
Over a fine Mexican dinner, my listless young crew recounted their previous night on the town in an ever-changing convoluted story that included words like: tequila shots, wallet, atm card, id, lost, policia, etc. I decided they were suffering enough and let it drop.
Here Comes the Sun
Merry Christmas to all! Or as they say here in Cabo San Lucas, Feliz Navidad! I arrived on the morning of December 26th and have been catching up on sleep ever since. Upon my arrival, I received the best Christmas present that I could ask for in the form of lots of messages of warm wishes from family and friends.
After, what seems like a lifetime, I finally departed on my voyage aboard, Shannon, my 41 foot sailboat. I didn’t think I would ever complete my endless list of to-do’s and boat projects, but alas, I did get it all done and departed from San Diego for Cabo San Lucas at 5pm on December 19th.
Because of some unexpected scheduling conflicts, I had to postpone my original departure date by a few weeks. As a result I lost my three crewmates and decided to hire another captain friend of mine, Mike Kelley, to join me for the 750 mile run. Captain Mike has a breadth of experience including five passages through Panama Canal. Mike is also a very good diesel mechanic which is an art that seems to have escaped my genetic make-up. The Baja Peninsula is one of the most desolate places on earth – there is no pulling over to the local village for quick repairs, so I’m thankful that Captain Mike was able to join me for this leg.
By God, I Know That I’m Alive
A low pressure system has stalled over Florida and it’s been raining for three days. We haven’t even left the harbor and everything I own is damp and smells like a locker room. With seven men on a 47-foot cutter for the next week, it’s starting to dawn on me that this isn’t going to be any Caribbean charter featuring comfort, sunshine and Mai Tais with umbrellas.