It’s 0945, on Thursday morning. I was on the 0600 watch, so was treated to a beautiful sunrise. My second of the trip - the first coming on Tuesday morning. With so few distractions on the boat, it’s easy to appreciate some of nature’s free gifts.
Speaking of distractions, it’s now 1440 on Thursday...I got distracted. Let me replay highlights from the last 24 hours...
I can’t recall what watches I was on yesterday, but my body adjusted to the sea, so I was much less exhausted and spent more time topsides. We had motored for much of the previous 24 hours, which allowed us to throw a fishing line in the water. Over the last 8 months, I had digested a textbook on catching fish while cruising on a sailboat but had been skunked while cruising in August with buddies off the coast of California. I was eager to put my learnings to a second test.
I rigged up Richard’s fishing rod with on of my lures, and attached a second line to the starboard cleat at the stern. After a couple hours of no luck, I switched out the lures on both rigs, putting a green squid on the fishing pole and reset the line about 150 feet behind the boat. And then it happened...ZZZZZZ, the sound of the reel spinning as the line on the rod was running! I quickly jumped up, took the boat out of gear, and hooked my tether to the safety line running aft. Fish On, I yelled below! I began reeling in the catch, feeling the fish fighting on the other end. Scott grabbed the gaff and was standing at the ready as I brought a small Mahi Mahi alongside the boat. It was an iridescent green and yellow, so vibrant against the blue backdrop. In the end, we decided she was too small to keep, so Scott picked her up with the line, I snapped a photo, and she went back in the water to retrieve another day. We’re hoping to get more chances at catching our dinner, but now I have experienced landing a fish off a sailboat and am quite literally hooked.
I realize I was complaining about the food situation a couple posts back and should now revisit the topic. We have now enjoyed two dinners at sea, both produced in advance by our captain’s cousin’s boyfriend or something. Tuesday night we enjoyed baked manicotti and last night we feasted on chicken piccata. I was in charge of dinner last night, so prepped rice on the stove, the chicken in the oven, warm bread, and set the dinner table in the salon with some Miles Davis playing in the background. Tara isn’t a fan of jazz, and our girls really can’t stand dad’s music unless Taylor Swift is part of the entertainment, so I was happy when the crew applauded my efforts.
After dinner, I sat down to read the final pages of the book that has consumed me since Labor Day. I started digesting “Centennial”, a 1970’s novel by James Michener, on a camping trip with my neighbor two months ago. At 1100 pages, and nearly as many characters and subplots, I was pleased to have finally reached the saga’s conclusion. Key takeaways - not to spoil the two-month investment you plan to make in learning the history of Colorado - include the white man’s extinction of the buffalo, destruction of the Native Americans, demolition of the water and ecosystem balance, and mistreatment of the Mexicans. Despite those inexcusable outcomes, there was much color in the characters of the well-meaning ranchers, cowboys, and early settlers, trying to cut a life out of the inhospitable high desert plains of the West. It was an awesome saga of how the place I call home was developed. Though not proud of how it was done, I do feel a deeper connection to the land, it’s origin, and the sacrifices made to create such an amazing place today. Next up in the library, a novel my bride recommended, “The Heart’s Invisible Furies”. Stay tuned for excerpts in the coming entries...and watch out Oprah, there’s a new sheriff in town.
And now, approaching two days at sea, the winds whipped up, the sea state calmed, and we hoisted the boat’s canvas, two white kites in the black night, pulling our boat to life. I was on the midnight watch, and for the first time since leaving the harbor, I was able to take the helm, under the stars, and pilot the boat through the rolling waves of the Atlantic. For an hour, I was mesmerized by the stars, the warm breeze off the Gulf Stream, and the repetitive motion of the sea. Up until this point, I had frankly questioned why I was here. I had hoped for radical weather, an entertaining crew, a deeper understanding of an Oyster, and a real adventure at sea. All of those expectations had gone unmet - but I found complete peace and was once again reminded of this trip’s ultimate purpose - to experience the Atlantic, under sail. Feeling the boat under my feet, responding to each turn of the wheel, brought me in sync with the ocean - a harmony you might feel with the wild as you ski down a chute in Colorado, or cast a fly down the run of a mountain stream, or perhaps under the canopy of trees on a long trail run. Nature’s free gifts.
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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)
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