After a couple of years of preparation, my parents, Ted and Eliza, started their great sailing adventure in the Fall of 2016. They headed South in their beloved sail boat Serafina, a 40ft sloop that contained everything they would need for the next 9 months, from solar panels to clothes to emergency gear to lots of good books. Both are experienced sailors, but this was adventure on a much larger scale than they had undertaken before.
Together they sailed to Mexico, where they have been exploring the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), finding new friends, lots of wildlife, and an environment that is stark, beautiful, and foreign for two long-time Oregonians. I have been inspired and awed by their stories, and humbled as well, knowing that I will have to do some spectacular things in my life to have stories as cool as theirs.
From Eliza on June 10, 2017:
Well, we will soon be leaving the boat for a few months, and have decided to leave her “on the hard” so that we can go visit family and friends. I have never felt so emotional about leaving a thing. People and animals yes, but Serafina is just fiberglass and metal. But she has kept us safe, endured wind and waves, bees, bumpy anchorages, heat and cold, and silly human mistakes. And I am just as emotional as if I were saying goodbye to my best friend, which she is. I will worry about her every day until we return to get her back in the water and continue our journeys.
Together, Serafina and Ted and I have visited places of incredible starkness and beauty. It is as if the master designer said to itself “I have created lushness in other places, so here I will make a desert and dry mountains and canyons right next to the sea so that the wind and the waves can shape them into castles and sculptures. And the best way to experience them will be from the sea, so I will make deep water and sandy bays where fish and other sea creatures can play.”
It is really fun for me to hear the transformations that have occurred. It sounds so cliche these days, but this really is one of the greatest things about adventures, the things we learn about ourselves and the people we love along the way. Whether that be climbing a mountain, or sailing a boat thousands of miles, it reveals to ourselves more of our nature, more of what we possess, and I think in the end shapes us into better people.
From Eliza on July 21st, 2016:
We had barely tied off to the buoy when a man came over in his dinghy expressing concern about the shallow depth. Ted and I had discussed this because last night and the night before were the lowest tides because of the full moon: minus 1.5 feet (1.5 feet below mean low low water). But we did our calculations based on the depth of the tide when we were arriving and the depth of our keel and determined that we had enough. And our depth sounder showed that the water was about 18 feet deep. We told the man that we had in fact tied to this same buoy and we were okay.
But the next morning, when the tide was going down to its lowest point, it really did look shallow. I could see our keel and rudder underwater, and the water was a beautiful green color. What was going on?
So Ted devised a plumb and I got in the dinghy. I dropped it overboard. 13.3 feet. From the waterline, not from the bottom of our keel. Our keel is 6 feet. That means we had 7.3 feet under us and the tide still had 3 feet to drop.
Moral of the story. Never trust anyone else’s ability to read directions or do math: I grabbed the manual for the depth sounder and went through the menus to find out what offset the prior owner had put in for the depth of the keel from where the sounder is attached: 4. NOT MINUS 4, just 4.
You can read more about Ted and Eliza's adventures on their blog at twohappydogs.com. Also, if you will be joining us at the Outdoor Project Block Party on June 17th, they will be there in person, and I'm sure they would love to share some of their stories with you.