“Todd did you notice the fog is getting pretty think out there?” were the words spoken by our crew member Scott. “Yeah I guess it is…we better jet sooner than later”. We picked up the pace to run down our standard departure routine, cast off the dock lines as we waved goodbye to our new and good friends Adam and Laura Nash.
We pointed the nose of The Answer out into the open ocean, as the sea fog rolled over us in thick, damp, cool clouds. Again, that feeling of nervous calm starting to arise from my gut. On the one hand, calm as I trust our boat and our team. But on the other, the nervousness of heading out to sea blinded by mother nature and left only with our basic senses to guide us. Oh, that and more electronic navigation gear than I know what to do with. Yeah, the senses sound all cool, but hard to beat a good radar, chart plotter and AIS when the fog rolls in!
The goal was to get far enough away from shore to put us out of the range of crab pots before the darkness fell. In 5 to 8 knots of light breeze at our back, we motored the entire 60 miles to Eureka. We were finally able to appreciate the investment in Radar we made as it clearly gave warning to non-AIS transmitting fishing boat of which we saw a few. As we approached the bar inlet to Eureka in the dark, we slowed our pace to an idle to await the light of day, and a safer passage into an unfamiliar channel.
We have been in Eureka CA since Monday (08/28) morning and have truly enjoyed this laid back, salty fishing village. We have been docked among off shore tuna trawlers and crab fishing boats since we arrived. Walking the docks, the smell of old boats, bait and drying trawling nets brought back childhood memories of going lobster fishing with my uncle Ray, Conch fishing for the summer with my cousin, or walking the docks of Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard. While they may not be all polished, I find old school fisherman to be a refreshing combination of brash kindness…they are real, unpretentious and true sea going Men. What I’d give to know a small percentage of their sea knowledge.
With each port we visit, we do our best to experience the local. In Eureka, it was all about the fruits of the sea. The following are just a few highlights; With a screw driver and putty knife (yes a Portege rig) Shay and I got to shuck our first Oysters purchased fresh off the docks we were on. Shelby purchased freshly filleted Albacore Tuna and made truly the most amazing Ceviche I’ve ever tasted. While short, Shelby and I got to actually have a date night and found ourselves having fun with each other for the first time in a long time. Shelby got to reconnect with Raybowls, a kind and gentle old friend she lost touch with years ago. I have found for me, that cruising in not an easy lifestyle. We live in a cramped space that lacks all but the basic
necessities, but the experiences we have and the truly amazing people we meet, have made all the sacrifices to get here worth the efforts.
Tonight, walking to the showers, I had a very bizarre feeling that to be honest, actually felt awkward and unnerving. As I walked I noticed the trees…noticed a seagull fly overhead and that the pavement was still warm under my feet. What was to some degree startling, was that I was actually not in a rush. Living a pace of life for many years where almost every movement I have made is calculated to be efficient, the feeling of not being in a rush to get to the showers was to a small degree overwhelming. So odd to not be in a rush.
I am grateful to have the opportunity to experience life from this perspective, even if only for a year. I am grateful to all the men and women out there who bring uniqueness to this world. We are looking forward to all the adventures to come and as Shelby said to me tonight, consciously being present to each moment.