Baja haha Cruising Dream

“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations.

We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

― Mark Twain

Above, a wise quote from the spinmaster himself, Mark Twain, born in 1835, an American author, humorist, and let’s not also forget; a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi.

In his own words, a book he wrote titled “Innocents Abroad”

“This book is a record of a pleasure trip. If it were a record of a solemn scientific expedition it would have about it the gravity, that profundity, and that impressive incomprehensibility which are so proper to works of that kind, and withal so attractive.

Yet not withstanding it is only a record of a picnic, it has a purpose, which is, to suggest to the reader how he would be likely to see Europe and the East if he looked at them with his own eyes instead of the eyes of those who traveled in those countries before him.

I make small pretense of showing anyone how he ought to look at objects of interest beyond the sea—other books do that”


Today, I found and dug out from the attic an old, long ago, forgotten crafts bag with 1,2,3, and A,B,C, type dividers. Granddaughter Alice has recently taken possession of it.  I am now sorting through what used to be neatly organized craftbag sailing tidbits, stories from days past spent dreaming of cruising, now in the form of cut out old articles as far back as 1998 – just a mere seventeen years ago.

Today, you can easily google some of what I found today; yesterday, was there even an internet, smart phones, gps?  The first two pages I read, A Zennish look at Sailing by Reese Palley. This story goes back possibly further, as I now recall using his material to teach a class of non sailors how to sail, no, not on the water, but in the classroom.  Without a boat or water, and all in under five minutes. The five-minute time clock stopped five seconds after I uttered the last word earning me the highest grade.  Others tested on the same day taught us subjects like how to shoot, how a ship floats or how to speak a foreign language. You may not think five minutes is a long time to teach someone a lifeskill but, sometimes, it’s just long enough to light a passion in someone.

Another story found, a 2004 Channel islands story by Mike Pyzel; Guide to Catalina diving, excerpt story by Bruce Wicklund.  A Boating Catalina island story when the price of a 40′ mooring was ONLY $21 a night!  This year (2015) I paid $48 for a 40′ slip, wow how times have changed; same water, same mooring ball, however, the customer service from the then approaching harbor boat is no longer.  We now call on the VHF radio to announce our arrival, cordially you are given a mooring assignment and an 800# which you call and make payment.  Gone, like the toll booth operators or meter readers or two person sanitary trucks.

These old notes and stories value to me gave me an opportunity to reflect back on possibly how I saw myself evolving as a boater or sailor.  I now confess, I never cruised before or sailed much except for maybe the three Newport to Ensenada races, a few local races. Motor sailing to Catalina and back doesn’t count does it, except for maybe the first year of recording the miles to qualify on your six-pack license.  Then there was the recent time that I helped deliver a 30 ft ketch from Portland to Prince Rupert.  A far cry from my first and last seasick bout as a fifteen year old sailing from Miami to Bimini, on my first overnight passage to the Bahamas?  Never forgot that passion of sailing first lit in me many moons ago.  And like they say, Sailing or Cruising . . . . . is an addictive, lifelong affliction, that is curable only through intensive sailing, over a long period of time, to endless ports, scattered around the glove, with others who are likewise afflicted?  Complete cures are very, very, very rare!  “Jack”

Handwritten notes dated March 20, 2004, from the time the First Mate and I attended Lynn and Larry Pardeys cruising seminar for couples.  The location – Orange Coast college sailing center, about five couples in attendance.  Besides the couple without a boat we possibly qualified as the least ready to go on account of careers and family life.

Still we (or rather I) dreamt ourselves onto the cruising life. Highlighted in her handwriting is a note, “don’t scare the crew”.  My scribbled notes after listening to Lynn; hone up on your sailing skills, build up confidence in the harbor, conduct your own sea trials, (possibly Larry speaking) practice reefing, spend more sea time on the water, running off, lying a hull, heaving to, and weather.

Fast forward eleven years, seven months, and a week and guess what, we are finally ready to go and so is the Western Flyer. Baja haha XXII, here we come, the twenty-second year of its existence and we are finally ready to go!!!

Only a mere eleven years later but, here is the real sort of mental kaleidoscope as Mark Twain eloquently puts it, We are now on a Trawler, not a sailboat!

Unlike the past, the old time sailing ships are now more popular than ever, they are rag sails and we are steam. The march of progress continues but people are still sailing.  The young men and women out there sailing with us qualify as the most knowledgeable of all times.  Every past Baja haha included.  Information is at their beckon call, if only wi-fi was available down the entire baja coastline.

Perhaps one future Baja haha year in the 22nd century, a trawler will accompany the sailing fleet, with a sailing mast about 12 meters high, sporting a cell/wi-fi tower.

Then there are the ever-present checklists like for example a 1997 Cruisers Connection Checklist. Highlighted are such items as flashlights for each area of the boat. Check. You can go to my boat now and find a flashlight in each cabin area so, did I gain this knowledge here, there or by repetition? You bet.

Enjoying the Cruising Life!