Today I'm going to talk about something that I'm not overly proud of. And no, I'm not talking about the time, way back in high school, when I dumped laundry detergent in a big fountain in the middle of the night and then drove in circles around that fountain as the street became covered in foam until one of my passengers vomited out the back window. Because, yes, I'm proud of that moment. If you are thinking that was stupid, well, you are wrong. It was awesome.
Today I'm going to talk about something else. We are going to talk about my swear tally.
If you are reading this and you are one of the lucky few people in this world who know me well (I hope you consider yourself lucky), then you will probably know that I generally don't swear. It's just never been in my nature. Those pesky little four letter words generally don't pass my lips.
I say “generally don't pass my lips” because it has happened, it's just been on rare occasions. I've got to be either really mad or really scared for something to uncontrollably slip out. When it happens, I actually startle myself with the exclamation.
Before we go any farther, I should tell you that my tally before today was a whopping 8. Yes, 8 swear words muttered in my life before today. Most of my good friends are either drunken sailors or drunken construction workers who can't get an eight word sentence out of their mouths without nine of those words starting with an “F” and ending with a “CK”. It doesn't bother me in the slightest. I'm not offended, shocked, or embarrassed by it. I just have never had it in me to be a person who swears.
We've been on our big adventure for 2 years, 10 months, and 27 days now (but who's counting), and in those nearly 3 years of traveling, I do find it strange that my lifetime swear tally has more than doubled. The first 39 years of my life produced 4 cuss words that managed to pass my lips. The strange thing is that these past 3 years have produced 5. If you have any expertise in mathematics or statistics, you will know that I'm experiencing exponential growth on my tally sheet. My guess is that by the end of the day tomorrow, based on the recent trend, my tally will have doubled again.
How did this new mark on my tally sheet happen you ask? Well, that's a good question that I'm going to try to answer.
The day started like almost any other. Almost. The only difference was that today, when we picked up our anchor to move our floating home to a new place, we weren't heading to a secluded spot to explore – we were heading to a marina. A marina in a resort no less. In the last few years, we've spent the overwhelmingly vast majority of our time with the boat swinging on an anchor in remote places, not tied to a dock. Especially not a dock in a resort.
I don't have anything against resorts or marinas, it's just not where we normally spend our time. We love remote, out of the way places that aren't spoiled by the masses, and that generally means we aren't hanging out in a marina at a resort with a large number of heavily intoxicated American tourists. And before you get your panties in a bunch, I don't have anything against American tourists either. It's just that we aren't in Mexico to be hanging out with only Americans in an American bubble, protected by a gate, guards, McDonalds, and Starbucks. We are here to see real life in Mexico.
You might be thinking we shouldn't be in the marina at this resort then. If we are so high and mighty and trying to avoid these types of places, then why are we here? Well, that's another good question that I'll try to answer by just saying that sometimes we like to be pampered too. Every once in a while, I like to give my barking dogs a break by sitting my butt next to a swimming pool. And Brenda, she likes to have a foo-foo drink while her tush is planted in a chair next to mine while she soaks up the sun. She's working on becoming a bronze goddess after all, and an amazing tan doesn't grow on trees.
Even more than living it up and relaxing at a resort, we needed a place to park the boat while we did some exploring. Puerto Vallarta doesn't have a safe place for us to anchor the boat and roam, so the marina it is. We can hop on a bus, explore the town and the Carnival festivities, and not have to worry about the boat being secure while we are gone. It's what we in the business like to call a win-win situation. We get some relaxation next to a pool during the day, and, after some exploring of Puerto Vallarta and Carnival into the wee hours of the night, our boat will still be there when we get back. Perfect.
So, we picked up our anchor, pointed the boat in the direction of Puerto Vallarta, and settled ourselves in for the ride. It was an easy trip as far as ocean voyages go. There wasn't much wind and there was a pretty gentle 4 to 5 foot swell. Piece of cake.
The marina is located inside of an estuary that empties to the ocean. For us to get into this estuary, we have to cross a bar. For you non-sailors reading this, a bar crossing can be a life or death situation depending on the conditions. If you have ever heard of the “Columbia Bar” in Washington, there's a reason it's called the “graveyard of the Pacific.” Now, this little estuary isn't anywhere near the same as the Columbia. The amount of water flow out of this estuary can't compare to that mighty river. They aren't anywhere in the same league. But still, a bar crossing is a bar crossing.
Our guide books had warned us that the crossing into this estuary can be tricky. There isn't much depth in the entrance channel, and depending on the size and direction of the ocean swell, breaking waves can happen as you cross the bar and make your entrance. Ugh.
Well, in an attempt to make this a short story (too late), let me just say that the 4-5 foot swell grew as we got closer to the entrance. And as we were crossing the bar to enter the estuary, breaking waves were forming. They picked up the back of the boat and thrust us forward, shoving us into the channel entrance at a speed nearing Mach 2. We were surfing down the entrance channel.
You might think that I would enjoy surfing our little floating home into an estuary, but let me assure you that I didn't. A 30,000 pound sailboat doesn't quite surf like a surfboard. It's almost uncontrollable. It was a fight with the steering wheel, giving it all I had, to keep us pointed in the channel and not end up on the rocks.
The keel on our boat is 7 feet deep. As one of the surf waves passed under us, just when we were in the bottom of the trough of one wave, waiting to get picked up and tossed around by the next one, I noticed the reading on the depth sounder. It read 7.1. If your math skills aren't top notch, let me break it down for you. That meant we had roughly one inch of water in between our keel and the ocean floor. If there was a tiny crab walking by as we surfed over his head, we would have given him a high and tight haircut. It was that close.
After we made it over the bar and were floating unaffected by the surf with a respectable 5 feet of water under our keel, that's when it happened. My swear tally jumped from 8 to 9. With sweat on my brow, I let out an uncontrollable “Holy F***!!!” And I have to admit, it felt pretty good to let it out.
|Safe and sound and on the beach at a resort. Not too shabby.|
|The estuary where we are tied up has crocodiles. No swimming for me, but that means we have to go find some!|
|A tree crocodile??? Nope. Just a friendly iguana.|
|Brenda the Croc hunter!|
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