Sailing away from the heat, sea-freeloaders & Mordor

We all try find a way to escape the heat this time of year. Like:

“We are heading for Mammoth in 2 weeks! Getting the h— out of here!”

Yeah, the girls just left for Hawaii for a wedding”.

“We had to go sleep in a hotel!”

Some of us huddle in our air-conditioned homes, keeping the shades drawn. Others head for movie theaters or malls.

Well, skipper and I didn’t wait to find out it was really going to get to 100 degrees around here. We may not be heading for Hawaii, but we packed up a lunch and headed out to our little boat. We offered, even encouraged the ‘kids’ to come too but they knew it meant lots of heaving and ho-ing and tying dock lines and what not, plus they had things to do with  their friends involving bonfires, beaches and food. Okay, sit in front of a fire on hot sand during a heat wave. Be my guest.

Maybe they had seen enough of mom throwing up over the side railing.

But we had a secret weapon against ‘mal de mer’ this time!

My wonderful-new-space-age-super-electroshock wristband of magic!

We were going to test it out today, not wait until the next trip to Catalina, when it’s too late and you have a 5 hour trip ahead of you, sea sick or not. No no. This was the day. I put it on my wrist and pushed the buttons. I could feel a tingling on my inner wrist. Off we go!

We untied the boat and threw the lines on board where skipper wrapped them up on the rails. We raised the sails in advance since we didn’t have our sea-monkeys with us to pull them up later when we might need them.

Once we were under way it was beautiful calm. A light breeze was just kicking up to put a little puff in our sails. We motored out of the harbor. So far so good. No sick tummy.

I could feel the temperature drop bit by bit as we got farther from the shore. Ahh, breeze, some shade, smooth sailing. What a perfect day to be out here.

We approached a buoy. It was covered in “Freeloaders of the sea”. Skipper calls our cats Freeloaders. They lay around a lot and eat, occasionally throwing up fur balls to stain the carpets. Well, except for the fur balls, as you can see…

Food? Food? Food? Food?

They bob around eating fish and sleeping on buoys. Eat, sleep, eat, sleep. What does this sound like?

No, not your husband.

Okay, maybe your newborn.

I think this should be called something like “Bird Poop Jetty” or “Pelican Latrine”

Anyway, it was nice and cool on the water. We ate our sandwiches and chips (and didn’t throw up thank you!). Then we noticed two black columns of smoke coming from either the port of LA or the refinery behind it. Orange flames were shooting up and the smoke was filling the sky!

After a bit of tacking back and forth across the water we noticed one column of smoke was gone. White smoke took its place and eventually dissipated. But the other one kept going and filled the sky with grey murk. Even as the sun set, it was spreading its black Mordor doom across the horizon.

Here is was, early on.

I don’t think this is normal. I don’t recall seeing the sky filling up every night with black chemical haze. But I sure don’t know what it’s all about.

As the afternoon slipped by we practiced sailing, tacking, ‘jibbing’ and other nautical stuff. Whenever I was at the wheel I noticed we were doing a lot of weeble-wabbling.  I would aim at, say the spruce goose dome, trying to stay straight. Darned if the dome wasn’t falling to port, then to starboard, then to port, then I would lose it altogether. In the right hands, the boat is a smooth masterful thing. We would fiddle with the sails, looking at the wind direction and all that. When the wind was just so, the sails trimmed just right, the moon in alignment with the planets, then the boat would leap up, heel a bit over and just fly through the water! It was exhilarating! All these things I never noticed before because I either had my head hanging over the side contributing to water pollution or in a dreamy medicated daze, nodding off in a comfy chair while everyone else took care of the sailing. It’s a rare day when this feet-of-clay, land-lubber, Scorpio has a great day at sea! (Skipper of course, an Aquarius, a water child if ever there was one!)

At one point we heeled over ever so much and heard crashing from below decks! Oh man. I really don’t want to go down there and see what happened. I peeked my head in. One locker had opened and a canned horn fell out as well as some safely equipment that looked like rocket launchers and flare guns. As I watched, the table tilted a bit too far and crashed over, dumping everything on it to the floor.

“What happened” yelled skipper.


I did go down below eventually and straightened up, battening things down, putting the rolling bottles of water into the sink and so on. Thats when I first started to feel queasy. You just don’t go down below if you don’t want to get sick, not while under way with a good wind. I frantically pushes the + button on my magic band and felt the electric pulse get stronger. Now it felt more like small pins sticking in my wrist. Well, couldn’t be any worse than acupuncture, right? I went topside and immediately felt fine. All was rosy again!

The sun must have been affecting his mind because Skipper promised me lobster macaroni and cheese at Gladstones. I’ve never had it and wasn’t likely to turn it down. When we headed back in we had to lower the sails, which isn’t really as hard as hoisting them up so even without the sea monkeys to help it should not be a big problem. Skipper loosed the lines and started pulling it down. I was at the wheel and the engine was engaged going forward on low-speed, heading into the wind. You can’t really lower the sails if they are full of wind, so you head dead on into the wind. I tried to keep a straight heading.

Dang, the line got stuck. “Loose that line, will ya'” skipper shouted over the flapping of the sails to me. No problem. I left the wheel and pulled the line loose. I noticed the land spinning round in circles. That shouldn’t be. Either that or we were spinning. Oops! Okay, maybe I should have put the engine in neutral? But skipper didn’t end up swimming so all was good. I told him if he fell in the first thing I would do was grab the phone and snap a picture. Then I would stop the boat and help him back on.

We went to Gladstones and were seated immediately. There was a wedding party there, so here I was in boat sneakers, capris and an old shirt, hair all windblown to smithereens. I went to the ladies room to wash and here were all these women dressed to the nines, corsages, hair just so, reapplying lipstick and tucking in a stay lock here and there. Of course.

I decided then and there to stash away some snappier clothes and shoes, just in case we are eating around a wedding party again. Or anyplace other than the boat slip.

It was nap time once back at the dock. Lots of sun, good heavy food, work=nap. Plus who wants to risk going home when it still might be hotter than blazes?

Our view from the slip at night. Not bad for a camera phone.

As long as I get home in time for Dr. Who please.


One thought on “Sailing away from the heat, sea-freeloaders & Mordor

  1. A lovely sunny post seriously enjoyed by this land lubber who also gets seasick (and car sick…and air sick…sigh…) on a decidedly grey Tasmanian day that seems to have reverted to winter by default.

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