3am, Tuesday morning, back in my comfy spot in the cockpit, under the dodger. Alejandro just took the helm from me, after another peaceful 90 minutes behind the wheel. When I came up on watch with my coffee at 1:30, the sky was black, the stars hidden behind cloud cover. As my watch progressed, I witnessed the moon rise in the east, and the clouds dissipate. I was able to chase the stars once again, as we ride farther north. The winds are behind us, off to starboard, and the boat is peacefully riding the small swells and making around 7.5 knots. We are over halfway to Bermuda, with 380 nautical miles to go - we should arrive by late Wednesday or early Thursday, if the winds hold steady at 18-20+ knots.
Today, I found my rhythm. Any nausea has long since left, and I can spend hours down below during the day without a hint of sea sickness, which was impossible the first day and a half in the passage. I wake up for my shifts at night with ease, and am able to fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer. I made a snack midday for the crew, and made cheeseburgers for dinner. It was both relaxing, and gave me some purpose, to take over the galley and lend a hand. Again, I’ve found a peaceful rhythm to our life at sea.
After a pancake breakfast and my morning turn at the wheel, I hung out in the cockpit talking to the guys. I’m beginning to learn everyone’s stories, and am finding that the community of the passage is as important as the sailing - I can’t imagine the allure to single-handing a trip. Though the challenge could be rewarding, the loneliness would steal everything I’ve enjoyed.
Alejandro’s story has been the easiest to learn so far. Despite being on watch with him multiple times per day, most of our discussions happen while someone else manages the boat, and we are free to talk in the cockpit. Everyone jokes about each crewman’s inability to hold a conversation and a straight course. I’ll share what I’ve found most interesting from this international man from Costa Rica.
Alejandro currently resides in a town just inland from the Pacific side of Costa Rica midway between the two borders north to south. His parents are originally Spanish, so holds a passport from Spain, CR, and the EU. He’s now single, in his late fifties, having been married once for 8 years to a girl from Kentucky. Seems an odd match, but he met her where I would presume most Central American love affairs begin - Miami.
He currently works for Amazon, but has held multiple roles throughout his career. Originally a graduate of Babson college in Boston, he is intelligent, yet has a curiosity to learn as much as a desire to share his perspective. We have discussed religion, politics, money, social issues and everything in between. It’s refreshing to truly escape the bubble we’ve created in Colorado, and hear a fresh and unique perspective to the same issues we all face.
Alejandro has two children from his marriage - A daughter who is attending university in Spain, and a son who is finishing his freshman year at CU-Boulder. He’s a huge fan of Colorado, and I am excited to play host, so he can meet Tara and the girls on a trip to visit his son in the coming year. The girls would love his funny accent, and Tara would enjoy his perspective on the world.
He also has a daughter from a second relationship whom he did not marry. This little 8-year old, Julianna, lives nearby Alejandro with her mom, grandma and aunt. I took special interest in her, given Chalrey’s age. Julianna is into board games and beats her dad regularly at Monopoly. She is also riding horses and learning to ride “English” saddle. Alejandro has ridden “American” saddle (which is how we all ride in Colorado on the trail) his entire life, but explained how English riding is an art form of its own, very precise, and is exciting to his daughter.
I really like how animated Alejandro is, and hearing his myriad of stories from living all over the world. From Amsterdam to Atlanta, he has something to share, and does so in a fun, unapologetic, self-deprecating way. He purchased a sailboat in the last year, which he keeps on the coast an hour from his house. He is newer to sailing, but loves his time at the helm, and is eager to discuss where to go next, or what adventures to pursue with his own boat. So far, he’s my favorite in the crew.
That said, a part of me feels sorry for him. There was a point in my life where the excitement of being single, having a boat and the freedom to explore the world were attractive. I just can’t help but feel for his little girl who is split between homes, and two college-aged kids that have to decide where to go over the holidays. Half the excitement of this voyage is knowing that Tara and the girls miss me as much as I miss them, and I can relive the adventure over and over when I get home, through their curiosity.
Tara told me before leaving that I should take moments on the trip to think about how she and the girls would fare on the passage. In the first day or so, I couldn’t imagine them along, as I was struggling to get my sea legs, learn the boat, get comfortable on the open water and the new routine. Now, as the seas have calmed together with my nerves, and the lazy days and starry nights drift along, I wish they were here.
With a coffee in hand, Tara could tuck under the dodger and share my midnight watch in conversation, or just sit quietly together taking in the sounds, smells and the peace of a starry night. Avery would learn to steer the boat, and have the confidence of helping us get to our destination, in between lying in the cockpit devouring another book. Charley would keep an eye on the fishing line during the day, and want to explore the deck and the entire boat with Nora. When needing her time away from Charley, Nora would sit next to me at the helm, or sitting in my lap looking out to sea, waiting for the dolphins to arrive, or dreaming about sea horses. Ruby would move from one lap to another, happy with the attention, nowhere to go, no reason to be set down.
I guess I’m still picturing the dream of sailing as a family. I don’t know if it will be for a month a year or multiple years, but I see us all there. Unplugged from the outside world. Plugged into each other. Content.
We're the Zimmerman Family!
Home Base | Denver, CO
A family of six that
LOVES to sail !
Follow our crew (Royce, Tara, Avery, Charley, Nora & Ruby)
as we blog our sailing adventures
Set Sail 4.22.23 | Las Palmas - Across the Atlantic - Island of Antigua
Set Sail 9.22.21 | Sweden - Germany -
Set Sail 7.18.19 | Newport, RI -
Martha's Vineyard, MA -
Nantucket, MA -
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