As a million other women throughout history have done before me, I stood on the dock waving, a little weepy, as my husband (and my home) motored smoothly out of the marina and on to the adventure of sailing the high seas for the next few weeks.
I had seriously mixed feelings - sadness, excitement, trepidation, loneliness, relief, nervousness, turmoil...so many things. Sadness because a chapter of our life was ending, excitement for a new chapter to start, trepidation because holy crap he's sailing on the big wide dangerous ocean, loneliness because we spend most of our time together, relief that all the preparation was done, nervous because will their sailing skills be enough to get them through any bad weather, turmoil because maybe I should have gone with them, not wimped out and stayed behind...just so many things.
Having made our decision to make the most of the small weather window still open to us, the weeks flew by as we did last minute boat projects, organized paperwork, bought all sorts of things, contracted with a crew, provisioned for weeks at sea, Daz finished up work, checked 3 different weather forecasts 4 times a day and generally tried to make the boat as storm proof and comfortable as possible for 3 men who were spending the next 2 weeks together on a 40 ft sailboat.
Finally it looked like a perfect week to head out, and so the date was chosen - Tuesday October 10th at around 2pm. Wow. Things got really real really quickly - again.
The crew turned up and spent time tying things down on deck (things like extra fuel, the life raft, our dinghy) while Darrin and I dealt with a last minute head problem (eww) put food away, put all the fou-fou stuff liable to fly around in heavy seas away, and generally got things sorted. Safety procedures were established along with the watch schedule, a last minute look around and all of a sudden there was a last hug, lines were untied and Eione was out of the slip and moving smoothly down the slipway, turning left and heading into the Puget Sound, probably for the last time.
I watched until the boat was obscured by the breakwater, raced to my car and careened down the road to the end of the breakwater and watched until she disappeared behind Meadow Point. And that was it - gone. Headed to Mexico.
It felt really surreal and quiet after all the bedlam and ballyhoo of the previous 2 weeks. Also a sense of nervous anticipation for this new life and how we'll adapt to it. A new country, a different language and culture. So exciting!
I spent the next few weeks obsessively checking weather and the tracker, waking in the middle of the night to make sure they were still headed the right way. I admit I was "that wife" who called the Coast Guard when I was told the engine wasn't working and they needed to get into Port. I also admit that I looked up every boat I could see close to them on AIS so that if I couldn't get hold of anyone, I could try calling surrounding boats to have them find Eione. I had complete confidence in Darrin and the crew, but it's still really nerve wracking to know your husband is 30 miles from land, traversing the longest lee shore in the world, in less than ideal conditions.
The story of the passage is Darrin's to tell, but needless to say I was relieved and excited to take a quick trip down to San Francisco to see him for a weekend and hear stories about the trip down.
Now he's in Ensenada, putting the boat to rights after her long journey south, recuperating from a long tiring journey, getting things established, working onboard and living a different kind of life - meeting all the other cruisers at the hot tub at 5pm for drinks doesn't sound too bad does it? It's definitely merited after the insanity of the past few months and particularly the sail south. Such an incredible accomplishment and I'm so proud of him!
My favorite salty sailor and Captain...an epithet rightly warranted and well deserved! Love you Cap'n!