WAITANGI DAY NZ

For only the 3rd time in my life I was outside New Zealand for our National Day! Looking over the news footage from here in Mexico, I felt rather proud of the way my country and countrymen (yeah, there’s not a good gender neutral word for that and I don’t care really!) have conducted themselves this last year. Goodness knows the world’s had more than its share of challenges but little old NZ had come out ahead of the field. Every American knows who and where we are now! I meet them every day, admiring us and our government. Its a pretty good feeling to have the most wanted passport in the world!

And then there’s Brexit. Need I say more!

We’ve had a really busy few days. 7th today. Bernie’s had been translating almost full time, so I’ve actually done most of the painting. However, today there was just the top black stripe to do, and the bit under the support pads. I had assumed (yes, I know, fatal mistake) Bernie would do the top and I’d do the pads, as I can’t reach the top. But no. He accepted a new job over night, and asked me to do the lot. I was fairly pissed off, to be honest. It involves lifting the extremely heavy scaffold round and round the boat. First to tape, then sand, then wash, and finally paint. Three times. So six go rounds.

By the time I got to the wash part I was exhausted and my back really sore. I had a bit of a melt down and threw in the towel, refusing to do more today. I’m going to suggest he helps me in the morning, that we work together, then he can translate the rest of the day. I do all the cooking, cleaning and laundry, so I don’t see why I have to do all the painting alone as well.

It’s getting hotter by the day. Definitely back into T-shirt and shorts weather. Even the kittens are sleeping on top of the covers again! They are the sweetest wee creatures. Jack goes in the crook under my chin usually, and graces me with little pats and grooms during the night.

Bernie has ordered another stuffing box hose and bearing for the drive shaft. We have no propulsion at present so won’t be going anywhere! We’ll be longer on the hard than expected, unfortunately. Its getting delivered to Glenn, who is luckily still in the US and can bring it down. Thank god. Or we’d be here weeks longer possibly.

I’ve met a bunch of people here, all working on their boats. An interesting bunch. Talked to a guy called Matt today! His brother, Marty, was killed by a Hell’s Angels mobster 15 years ago. So we talked about that kind of loss for a bit, and how being at sea helps. He owns a ranch in New Mexico and I told him Matt, Meg and I had visited that state last year. He invited us to visit his ranch. I’d be keen.

I think it’s the 9th today. We’ll get the painting finished today. Hooray. It looks good too. It’s a chilly morning, only 14°C. Not enough for this hot house flower so I lit the fire earlier! Even Jack has only just ventured out from under the covers, though he was motivated by having spotted one of my hair clips on the shelf opposite the bed. They are his current obsession and he can actually unclip them from my sponge-bag himself. He then carries his prize off in his mouth for all the world as if he’s caught a mouse. So pleased with himself. Its very funny. I find them hidden all over the boat!

We’re letting them out a bit more. I still worry they’ll fall off but they’re not showing signs of actually wanting to get off Momo. In fact they get quite stressed when we’re on the ground. They meow at us and track our progress up the ladder, demanding attention and reassurance upon our return.

10.02.21: The painting is finished and looks great. I sent a photo off to Michelle and the girls so they can see. Bernie’s translating today and just had a break to come to the little Mexican food place on the corner for lunch. Great food and super cheap. Saves me cooking!

We had an impromptu party last night. Some people we’ve met here showed up for sundowners. It was a lot of fun. Steve is a 66 year old solo sailor with a trimaran, based in Loreto. The other two, a couple, are Ashe and Luca who have 3 sons; Kalil – 11, Makawi – 15 and nearly Ilo – 17. Really neat people. They’re on a yacht called Distant Star and know the Arena crew. So they’ll be crossing to French Polynesia at the same time as us and Utopia. Luca has a European passport so they can stay there. France has just closed it to tourism due to Covid. We need to apply for our permit to provision there soon.

I also met a young couple called Eric and Natalie this morning. Their yacht is called Bria Mia and they plan to sail to Hawaii, then up to Alaska and home to Vancouver. They have a lovely dog and my kittens are currently going nuts over the smell of her on me! Jack’s been half licking/half biting my foot and rubbing his scent glands all over me!

Nel and her two kids, Brody and Kai, are taking me to San Carlos tomorrow. They haven’t been before so I said I’d take them to brunch at Barracuda Bob’s! Tyler is staying behind to work unhindered by small people, on their yacht Polaris. I’m hoping Kim can join us, as it’s her birthday today and I’m sorry we can’t celebrate with her.

Friday 29th January 2020: Ready for Haul Out!

Well, the paint finally arrived in Guymas and Kim, bless her, took me to collect it. We’ve got everything we need now to paint the hull and are scheduled to haul out at Gabriel’s yard on Monday at 0800.

So we plan to sail the 20nm across to Guymas on Sunday and anchor there for the night, ready to go. We’ve decided we’ll have to keep the kittens shut inside while we work. I’m worried they might fall off; it’s a long way down, and there’s probably dogs around. Plus, it’ll be dusty so closing up the boat will keep it cleaner.

I’m having a very quiet afternoon today, as I had a diagnostic procedure this morning, under sedation. A nice little cocktail of midazolam, fentanyl and propofol! Can’t remember a thing. And the surgeon says all is well so I can sail off into the sunset without worrying now! The system was very similar to home and I felt totally at ease with the service I was getting here. It was a fair bit cheaper than home too, though I would’ve got it on my health insurance at home.

Kim and I went to Nancy’s the other day for a cards and pot luck lunch event with a bunch of local ladies, most of them sailors. A great bunch with very interesting and varied backgrounds. It was a fun afternoon. San Carlos is starting to feel a bit like home away from home, and I’ll be sad to say goodbye to everyone when we leave.

We’ve had some amazing sunsets and sunrises here lately, changeable weather making for beautiful skies. There seems to have been a huge flock of cormorants congregating in the bay too. I got some pics while out in the dingy a couple of days ago.

I got a gorgeous photo of Kim’s gentle giant, Bandit, too and of her in the dingy with Zoe wearing her doggy life jacket! I’ll definitely miss this woman and her menagerie!

Sunday 31st.     Yesterday we heard from Gabriel’s yard that we couldn’t go till Tuesday. So we’ll sail over tomorrow now. Bernie also thought this morning that he was going to have to spend a small fortune on an AIS transponder. He was very down about it but it does seem that the InReach system might be enough. Its to do with Fiji requiring us to be able to prove our track and time at sea, on arrival. French Polynesia had just announced its closing on February 3rd. Omg! Plans change daily almost. This means we’ll have to do a straight hop from here to Fiji. Two solid months at sea. Grrr. Not my favoured scenario.

Still, what can we do? Gotta go with the flow.

Monday 1st February:                              After getting Momo ready for sea this morning, we pulled the pick around 1150 and were out through the heads of San Carlos harbour at midday. I had been feeling a bit queasy before leaving – hungry! – and realised I should’ve fed myself before leaving when we hit open water and encountered 1.5-2m fetch from the high winds last night. For the first time in my life, I felt sea sick. Hot damn! Do not want to experience that again. I believe the cats shared my misery. We all kept to one spot; Alex on his favourite shelf in Bernie’s cabin, Jack in my cabin and me steadfastly watching the horizon on deck on permanent watch! It’s a form of meditation, I decided, as it required definite focus on one spot to convince my rebellious tummy to settle down.

Bernie was tired, not having slept well and we had stayed up late too, talking. He was feeling low, mostly with all the extra worries on his mind. But he’d also talked to Michelle while I was ashore. We’d been invited with Kim to dinner at Nancy’s, but Bernie chose to stay behind. He’d said he didn’t feel well but I now think he wanted to be able to ring her without me here. He could just be honest about that. There’s zero reason why I’d mind. He was still on the phone to her when I got back and didn’t even acknowledge me when I arrived. I was actually pretty pissed off with the whole attitude. It’s fucking immature. He did the same think the other day when talking to his friend, Evette. So pointless. Still, we talked about it and he apologised, conceding it was pretty unkind.

Kim, Nancy and I had a wonderful girls’ evening anyway. We cooked a complicated recipe for corn truffles a local delicacy. It was delicious. And of course, we cooked with wine – champagne actually! Kim and I navigated home by braille I think!

So here we are, anchored not far from where we get hauled out tomorrow morning. It’s 1937 and Bernie went to bed ages ago! So I’m sitting in my bed reading and doing this. It’s flat calm. Andrew Deeley told Bernie today that he thinks we can still go via FP. I hope so. First things first, though! Bottom paint to do!

February 3rd.

Yesterday we sailed – motored actually – round to the shipyard to haul out by 8am. The bay is very shallow and murky and our depth sounder gave up, so we were tiptoeing in blind. With no apparent navigation aids we ended up aground! Never done that before! Very gentle, it was! One moment going along slowly, the next going nowhere.

Deciding the was no point stressing, Bernie emailed the yard to see if they were ready for us and give them a sitrep, and I cooked breakfast! Timing things to perfection, they got back to us after we’d eaten. Bernie then put the boom right out to our port side and hung off it while I tried backing us off the mud! It worked and we were free. Following rather overdue instructions from the yard that what appeared to be mooring buoys were actually colourless lateral markers leading us in, we regained the “channel” and came into the slip without further drama.

I’d put the fenders and lines ready earlier so all we had to do was pass them the lines and watch while they backed the lift over us and put the slings underneath us. We did have to remove both forestays to allow the lift to back up. The mast is held with the halyard at present. Before long we were out of the water and in our spot for the next week. The supports were set under us and the lift drove off, leaving us high and dry! The whole thing was efficient and the guys doing it helpful and friendly.

Within the hour they’d brought the water blaster and were cleaning the hull for us. At almost bang on midday Bernie started sanding, while I got lunch ready. He stopped and started a lot so I thought it must be hard going, listening to him. After 45 minutes he came in for lunch, then I did an hour non stop. Its a decent work out but not that bad. I’m a bit concerned at how unfit Bernie is, and lacking in stamina. So we took turns, with me doing the bulk of it, and knocked off just before 4pm. Pleased with our progress, with 3/4 of the sanding done, we went to shower. Then, of course, we rewarded ourselves with rum & whisky!

Today we have finished the sanding and washed the dust off. Bernie has put epoxy round some through holes and is starting painting. That’s probably all we’ll do today but good progress. I had a nice long chat to Mum and Dad after lunch. Good to see them. Video calling is awesome. I wish Matt didn’t hate it! Talked to Fizz yesterday. 💖

4.2.21: Another very productive day and the first coat is done, as well as the extra coat on the leading edges. It’s looking really good. The kittens seemed to have resigned themselves to being inside, though they’ve found some creative ways to express their displeasure!

We got invited to another boat for sundowners last night. Vince, off Northern Dream, a boat builder from North Pole, Alaska! He’s a very colourful and garrulous character. We enjoyed ourselves immensely and we’re impressed with his yacht. Yes, he built her! I think Bernie now wants a work shop on Momo. My cabin might be in danger!

Tuesday 19th January 2021

I haven’t felt like writing the last couple of weeks since getting back from our silly season jaunt. Not sure why but we’ve been busy, which may have diverted me!

Bernie has been checking all the chain plate bolts and resealing where the chain plates go down through the deck. He’s also reseated the scuttle in the bathroom and has to do the three in my cabin. He’s just waiting on more sealant that he’s ordered. I’ve done my bit (other than the usual cooking and cleaning, which, to be honest, I’m pretty sick of right now!) by taking the winches apart, one by one, and cleaning & oiling/greasing the necessary parts. I’ve run out of gloves which I need as we use gasoline to clean them and that stuff kills my skin.

I’ve been pretty restless lately and have talked about my options a lot with Matt. There’s not a lot of choice in the current climate though. I can stay here and do the crossing, which I daresay I will, go home and get nursing work, which I’d likely regret in a heartbeat, or go travelling in Mexico for a bit. My South African friend from France, Fouche, thought he’d be tempted to join me for that. If he did come over, that’d be awesome. But travelling here alone isn’t the best idea. In the meantime – boat maintenance!

The poor kittens have been speyed. They’re actually doing really well but this Kiwi cat mum got all teary eyed dropping them off! Kim took Midnight (their sister) in at the same time. They’re perkier today, day 3 post-op, but very aware they aren’t as agile and strong as usual. They’ve been quiet and moved with great caution on deck! Still, good to have it done and, other than a rabies vaccine, it’s the last thing to do before taking them to NZ.

The clinic which did them is a free clinic set up by local expats. An American vet comes down once a month for the weekend and he and a local vet do non stop speying and neutering of any cats and dogs brought to them. They do a solid 10 hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday, hitting roughly 100 animals a day. Local and expat nurses assist and recover them. There’s also a van that catches feral animals and they get done too. A truly wonderful service.

When we went to collect our cats, I volunteered to help. The guy in charge, John, was very keen when I said I was a theatre nurse! Then, while he was talking to Kim, who knows him well, I noticed a dog had stopped breathing. Trying to get their attention, I felt for it’s pulse and finding nothing, rolled it on it’s front and opened it’s airway. Kim had twigged by then and knelt beside me to begin rubbing it’s ribs vigorously. We got it going again! John was very happy with us and I reckon we both have a job!

I had Momo to myself yesterday. It was divine. And a beautiful day too, so I could sit on deck and read. A weird fog rolled in for part of the afternoon, making for great photos! Bernie had had to drive, with Josh & Morgan off Grey Matter, up to Kilometre 21 to renew their visas. Its a 4.5 hour drive, so they left here at 0800 and got back about 1830. A long but successful day. My visa is valid as I renewed when I went to see Matt & Meg.

I get desperate for my own space at times. It’s impossible on a boat this size. I think Bernie was a bit offended when I was so pleased to be left alone, but I can’t help it. I needed a bit of peace and quiet. He lives in his head so much, I don’t think he notices it. We talked about it a bit when he got back. Hopefully he understands it’s my need and not a direct reflection on him, though admittedly I find his messiness testing at times and the way he’s such a noisy mover! But he can’t be expected to change after 56 years and I’m not going to try! He is who he is and, as Kim says, has many fine qualities! None of us are perfect and I daresay my obsession with hygiene and cleanliness drive him just as crazy!

He got a call from Jana today, his younger daughter, which made his day. He doesn’t hear from his kids nearly as much as Matt and I talk, so it means a lot when he does. They talked for about two hours. She is so clever and articulate, light years ahead of most 16 year olds. Hardly surprising with two incredibly smart parents, and an unconventional upbringing on Momo.

The kittens have spent most to today in bed!

24th January. Where are the days going?! January is nearly gone already. I caught up with the whanau yesterday, talking to Fizz, Mum and Matt, as well as Dawnda. It was a nice calm day and I helped Bernie with rigging, learning how to retension the stays. It’s actually easier than I thought, as long as you do one at a time! I also cleaned up more of the deck plates!

We had rain a few days ago! Real pouring rain all night. It was wonderful and Momo is fresh and clean. This may not seem particularly news worthy, but Sonora got no rain during the entire rainy season and we’ve only had two small showers with a squall last year around August. So it was the first proper rain since I arrived last July. Jack, our water obsessed kitten, was fascinated. He sat under the bimini watching, venturing out now and then to try and work out where it was coming from. Very amusing! They are such fun little animals, always following us around, helping with our projects!

I went ashore with Kim a couple of days ago to help do the garden out at the ranchitas. We met Nancy for lunch first, ordering pizza which was divine! Then did the weeding and picked some veges and herbs to bring home. It was a nice girly day. I met a couple of their other women friends here, both smart and interesting ladies. Kim reckons she could write a book about all the fascinating women here. They’re certainly all real hard case characters!

I’ve just finished a really good book called “The last lieutenant” by John Gobbell. I’m got to start the next in the series. Bernie and I have been watching a good series too, called “The sandbaggers”.

Not much to report really! 😻

New Year 2021

January 3rd.

It’s Fizz’s birthday at home and I can’t ring her. So gutted. We’ve had internet in all the places we didn’t think we would but not here, where I did expect it, being close to Mulegé! Grrr! I sent her a message on the InReach system but I wanted to talk to her. 😨🎂🥂💖

Jack has just gone for an unplanned dip in the sea. He’s very bedraggled and unhappy right now but as he won’t let me dry him with a towel, there’s not much I can do. He got back up the starboard rescue net as we can see the trail he left! Water everywhere! So they’ve both gone overboard now. The heater’s on so he’ll dry off eventually.

We’re now in Bahia El Burro, having sailed here yesterday. It was stunning sailing conditions. We sailed off the anchor and onto it again. Feels good to do that. This is yet another gorgeous place. There’s a restaurant on the beach, Bertha’s, and we had dinner there last night, and margaritas! Very good quesodillas con camarones.

We saw the new year in with the people who live in Bahia Santa Inés. They invited us to join them for their 1900-2100 get together, after we met them while ashore getting veges from Raoul. It was such fun, and they’re a great bunch. I think it was actually nearer 10pm when we got back to Momo, and we cracked the rum bottle to see out the rest of 2020. Bernie didn’t make it, falling asleep, his hand still wrapped round his rum glass! So I put on Armin van Buurin and the kittens and I danced till midnight rolled over!

I woke up on New Year’s day feeling very chipper, unlike the skipper, who nursed a hangover all day! But as happens, from time to time, I suddenly crashed into heart broken sorrow, feeling like I don’t dammed well want another year that takes me further from when Danny was in our lives. But there it is. One of the guys I met at the new years party, Phil, had also lost his son, to suicide. That has to be hardest of all. We talked for quite a while and shed a few tears. Then told stories about our boys.

Today, Bernie and I hiked to the top of the mountain, Bell Rocks, that shelters this anchorage. There’s apparently petroglyphs on the rocks up there. We did see what could have been some but they were also in an unlikely place and neither of us was convinced they weren’t a hoax! But the view from the top was worth the effort for these two unfit sailors! I’m fitter than Bernie though! I’m glad I’ve been trying to do my yoga every day, as my muscles were fine, even if the heart rate was up! The terrain was startling, arid and beautiful, with huge cacti and every bush covered in lethal prickles! Osprey hunted overhead and I even saw a snake. It was about 18 long and very slender. It was sunning itself on the path just ahead of me and I could’ve trodden on it if I hadn’t seen it and stopped! I really don’t think it heard me coming! It took off pretty smartly.

Oh dear, poor Jack is very unimpressed with being wet. But he won’t let me comfort him or dry him so I just have to watch him shake his legs and look unhappy. Intensive grooming under way!

It is only 1830 and Bernie has gone to bed, exhausted. It’s rather worrying that he has so little stamina. It can’t be good, but I guess he does spend most of every day on the settee in front of his computer screen. I, at least, keep active in a way; cooking, cleaning, yoga, playing with the kittens. It’s not a lot but much more than he does! Anyway, I’m sitting on my bed with both kitties for company. Bernie is sniffing incessantly, which irritates the hell out of me but he’s oblivious and gets grumpy if I ask him to blow his nose. Just another topic for me to add to the “can’t be mentioned” list. I do find it a bit frustrating that, living in a small space, I endeavour to take his needs and feelings into account, but he does whatever he wants. I feel like now he’s used to me being here and knows I’m staying for the crossing, he doesn’t bother trying to be thoughtful of having another person on board.

I had a ghastly nightmare last night. I dreamed I was shopping in Ballantynes with Mum and Danny. But it was a much bigger store and Danny said he was going to look in the men’s department while we were doing girly stuff. Then someone ran up and said there’d been a huge accident and Danny was hurt. I ran to the scene but they wouldn’t let me get to him. I was shouting his name and he was calling back to me. But I couldn’t get to him. I waited and waited and when I finally got in, there was blood everywhere and no Danny. I was frantic, rushing round screaming his name. I woke up panting, upset, and devastated to find my reality hadn’t changed. He is still gone. That was 2am and I didn’t get back to sleep till 7am. For just over an hour. So I should be more worn out than Bernie, but I’m OK. Just sad. I’d like to get off this ride now please.

I think we’re going to go spear fishing in the morning. The sea is only about 18 degrees celcius now so I double wetsuit. I put my short legged one over the full length one. It makes a big difference. I bought myself a hood and gloves in the USA. They’re so worth it!

5.1.21: 0730: Bernie did go spear fishing yesterday but had no luck. He said there were few fish and none big enough to hunt. I didn’t feel like going and wanted time to myself. I’m a quiet person and Bernie is noisy, so I find time to myself precious.

After he got back, we motored to the next bay, Playa Santispac, to see if we could get internet but no joy. So I think today we’ll head across the bay to where we lost it coming in and see what the weather is for the next while. We need to start heading back to San Carlos. Jack stayed below on my bed while we motored. He was very quiet on deck yesterday, after his impromptu swim!

Alex gave us a grand demonstration of how clever the kittens are yesterday. He wanted to jump up and sleep in his favourite place above the fire but has learnt the fire is hot! So we watched him sniff the dial, look intently into the fire box, stand up on his back legs and carefully tap the top to see if it was warm, then deciding it was off (it was off!) he jumped up and went to sleep! Clever kittie!

We watched a few movies last night; one about the Beetles, Of Mice and Men and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. All good. Bernie is a bit obsessed with German documentary type things and I get really sick of them. So it was nice to watch something different.

I’m going to get up and make coffee now. Bernie is sniffing again. About once per second! Grrrr. Jack is attempting to comfort me with snuggles and purring! He’s a dear wee beast.

We’re going to go for a beach walk as there’s apparently warm springs along from here. It’d be nice to have a soak but we’re not sure if they’re that kind of springs. I hope so.

1430: We took the dingy and explored the whole bay. The water is fairly clear here and we saw lots of sting rays settled on the sandy bottom, though little else in the way of sea life, just small fish and the odd puffer fish. They’re the weirdest looking things. The usual pelican colonies are in abundance, however and a healthy number of other sea birds.

We did have a walk ashore to stretch the muscles, after our big hill climb the other day. We found the rather uninspiring hot springs, which we couldn’t swim in, sadly. Nothing like the wonderful hot streams and pools in the North Island of New Zealand. Bernie got some fantastic photos on his big camera, though my new phone camera does take very good pics for a digital one. He’s a pretty good photographer.

I made tortillas for lunch and we listened to a Daryl Cooper podcast afterwards, but I have a headache, so just wanted to lie down for a while. I’m feeling a bit homesick at the moment. I wish I could go home for a bit but covid makes it impractical. Unless I go and don’t return, which I’d feel bad about since I did commit to doing the crossing with Bernie. But a rather large part of me just wants to go home right now.

1630: This is our third evening without internet. How dependent on it we’ve become! We want to check the weather and the InReach weather isn’t that accurate, plus they only give you two days in advance. And I keep thinking of things I want to look up and can’t! We have got the dingy on deck, so if its calm overnight, we might get under way.

Wednesday 6th January

It’s nearly lunchtime and we’ve been under way since 0300. We crept very carefully out of the bays, given the number of small islands and reefs in this area. The radar failed, which annoyed me rather. Once out of Bahia Concepcíon, we got the sails up and turned the engine off. The wind is NNW and we’re on a heading off 035° for San Carlos. Bernie’s just putting a second reef in the mainsail as we’re heeling and it’s pretty uncomfortable. We’re flying though, making great time, even a little above our course so we can always fall off later. I did ask Bernie to strap on! I’m pretty sure he’d be out there with no life jacket or safety line if I hadn’t asked!

The kittens have slept since we got into open water, being fairly unimpressed with the yacht on a 45°angle, bouncing all over the show! Alex is on Bernie’s bed and Jack is next to me on the starboard couch. I made scrambled eggs for breakfast, an exercise in balance! Also coffee. But when I tried to make lunch, the sea thought that was a step too far, picked us up and dumped us sideways so hard I went flying backwards. I ended up in the nav station and am now sporting a darkly bruised haematoma on my right hip and a cut finger. Oh well.

1500: The wind has suddenly pegged back a little. Its been a solid 30+knots all day but I reckon we just lost 5 or so. Hope it lasts! I’m a bit over this washing machine feeling. I responded to a station relaying a mayday about half an hour ago. But they didn’t have any decent info so I just gave them our position and destination, if they needed us. Haven’t heard anything else. Hope no one is in serious trouble out there.

Arrived back in San Carlos harbour at 2015ish. Fast crossing! Good to be home.

SUNDAY 27.12.20

Another year is almost done. What a strange one its been. In some ways the worst of my life, having to learn who I am without Danny in my life, in some ways (for both Matt and I) full of amazing experiences and people as we’ve travelled. It’s these people and places that have got us through such a ghastly time, helped us reevaluate and deal with the worst loss we could’ve imagined.

Having three weeks with Matt and Meg through November and early December rounded off the year in a positive way for me. I needed that. Most of my adult life has revolved around my gorgeous sons. That’ll never change in essence, but it has to evolve for my own sake. I’m so very proud of Matt, both of us really, for how we’ve coped. It’ll be a never ending process and we’ll always be there for each other. We’re blessed to have such wonderfully supportive and loving family and friends.

Further to my last post, captain/crew relations seem to have stabilised! Living in a small boat with no outside influence much of the time is always a challenge. No matter how chilled a personality you might have, things will always push your buttons, and the ability to see how one’s habits might affect others and accommodate that, isn’t regulation issue! So while I get driven insane at times with Bernie’s ability to create mess and not give a shit about personal hygiene, I daresay he feels the same about my OCD Nurse’s need to be clean and tidy! Mostly we give each other leeway but at times it comes to a head! Like when he wears the same clothes for a week straight without washing! My hints fall on deaf ears and I threaten to chuck him over the side. He simply doesn’t care, lol. So basically, I have to get over it!

We’ve had some really strong winds at San Marcos but it’s a good anchorage in a northerly so we were fine. Kim wouldn’t have like it though so I think it was as well she didn’t come. We shut up the boat, hunkered inside so the kittens didn’t get blown off the deck! Digging in so well has cleaned the anchor and chain beautifully too! Couldn’t help appreciating that as we raised the pick this morning!

We went for a walk on the island a couple of days ago. It was good to stretch the legs and a very interesting jaunt to the local mining village and back. It was Christmas day, now I think about it, and everyone called out “Feliz navidad” as we wandered by. Such friendly people, the Mexicans. It’d be a tough place to live, gypsum dust over everything. I wondered what their lungs were like. One local, an English speaker, came and chatted to us, told us a bit of local history, which was nice. He said he grew up there but now lives in Hermosillo. I’d want to go to the mainland too, were I him!

It’s 1100 and we’re rounding up on Punta Santa Inez. We’ve only come about 12nm today and motoring at 5 knots so an easy trip. Lots of pungas out fishing after the stormy weather. No Mahimahi on our line though, sadly!

Anchored at 1135 in 20′ of water in Bahia Santa Inés. Its very pretty and sheltered. Can see a few days here maybe! Up to the skipper of course! The cats were pleased to be allowed on deck for the trip and have just demanded lunch. I try not to feed them right before sailing! Bernie is talking to Jana and I’m cooking grouper for lunch.

1830: I really like this spot! We took the dingy and had a walk ashore. There’s a fabulous beach totally covered in shells, so many kinds, all colours. Danny would’ve loved it. I said to Bernie “This is one of the things I find hard to get my head around. That I can’t share this with Danny.” So we collected shells and I’ll make candles with them one day, like he did.

Aside from the beach, there’s an airstrip and a wanna be airport building which looks like it started with a hiss and a roar, but never got finished! The town is the kind of remote but gorgeous place you’d imagine having a holiday home. Amazing geology (again), lots of birds, plants that defy the lack of water. And the water is so much warmer than San Carlos I had a swim! Very salty, though, interestingly.

Oh, and I forgot to mention. We found loads of sand dollars fossilised in the cliffs. Cool.

28.12.20: Another lovely day in this beautiful place. Bernie was a bit below par today, having enjoyed a decent dram or 6 of rum last night! Should be trained by now!

We went for another walk, checking out the deserted resort on Punta Mezquitito. A lady, Didi, who kyaked past us earlier, while I was hanging out laundry, told me it’d been abandoned, and we found papers inside dated 2016. It’s a shame as it must’ve been a lovely place. There was a lovely seaside bar/restaurant and even a dive pool. The paved walkways had nice detail in stone work.

Didi also said a guy, Raoul, comes every Wednesday with great fresh produce and a fishmonger visits the bay the same day. So I think we’ll hang here till then as we are getting down to the last onions etc! Then maybe go to Bahia Concepcíon.

A fog has rolled in and it’s chilly now, so we’re inside keeping warm. Still don’t need the fire however. It’s so much warmer over here, than San Carlos. Bernie checked out what we need to do for our haul out today. I asked him about it a while ago and he got shitty with me, assuming I was criticising his planning. I wasn’t. I’m just organised and like to know what we’re looking at. Anyway, it turns out he needs a current FMM (mexican visa) and his expired in May. So, if he’d known that earlier he could’ve got it sorted. Now he has to organise a ride to the US border for it. Which delays us. Bit of a pain but that’s the way it goes! And I dare not comment!

Hasta Luego, Matt and Meg 💖

Friday 17th December

And so we boomerang again! Matt and Meg are back in the UK after a very successful donation trip for Meg. And I’m back on Momo, in San Carlos harbour.

Well, I didn’t get far! It’s now the 20th and I’m sitting in Kim’s car drowned in grocery bags after a massive provisioning shop! Kim and Bernie have gone in to get us an ice cream! The poor dingy won’t have much free board after we put this lot in it and Kim’s wee VW is down on the back tyres!

We spent about NZ$500, but that included 2 bottles of whisky, 2 bottles of brandy, 6 bottles of rum, 2 sets of warm clothes for me and all the food for about a month. Just the rum would’ve cost more than half that at home!

We’re planning on sailing to Isla San Marcos tomorrow for the silly season! Might go elsewhere too but that will depend on the weather. It’s very much a prevailing northerly at this time of year here, so sailing south too far means a lot of painful beating back into the wind to get back to San Carlos. And we have to come back here to haul out in the new year and paint Momo’s bottom. That needs doing before we cross the Pacific. We hope to leave in March for French Polynesia.

Kim was going to come with us but has pulled out. We decided she might not be feeling like getting her boat ready for sea at present. She’s got a lot of gear on board, plus all the animals, so it is a big effort. But we’ll be sorry not to have her company. She’s a wonderful woman.

Anyway, back to my last week with Matt and Meg. I stayed in a hotel close to theirs which was great, as it gave us all our space, especially with Meg recovering from her donation procedure, but also was easy to pop across and spend time together.

Generally Matt would bring my breakfast over and we’d do some little outing together. Then he’d go back and see Meg and we’d get together again later on for the afternoon/evening and dinner. Meg is a very good cook, happily for Matt and I! Their hotel had a spa pool which we took advantage of, especially me.

It was marvellous to have this time together. I know I was desperate to see my boy but actually being together made me realise just how much I needed that. It’s the first time we’ve had since Danny died and I guess I simply needed to see him in the flesh, get hugs and touch base properly. It’s settled something inside me, made it easier to face the next period apart. As he said, we’ve chosen this travelling life as our way to cope with losing the most important other person in our lives, and with that comes separation. Naturally, I probably feel it more, because Matt has Meg, for which I’m very grateful. Whereas I’m essentially on my own. Bernie has been a great friend but that’s not the same as being with a partner, having some one to hold you at night and hug away your nightmares and sorrow. Still, it’s just how it is.

00-something on the morning of the 23rd!

Well, we sailed across and are now safely anchored in the south bay of San Marcos Island. We left at 1630 on the 21st and had great sailing, averaging around 5 knots, until the small hours when the wind died. After drifting for a few hours, Bernie (to my relief) decided to motor the rest of the way, and we dropped the pick here around 1230 yesterday.

I had put the kittens in Bernie’s cabin when we left (we shut them below when under sail – can you imagine the results with two kittens chasing sheets?) so they would get to know the most stable part of the vessel when sailing. The motion is vastly different under sail to motoring, and we were well heeled over in a nice breeze from the get go. Poor Alex got seasick but came right once he got used to it. My tlc of him during that time seems to have cured the last of his “cold treatment” to me for leaving left them for a month though, lol! Don’t you love that about cats? He thinks I’m one of the good guys again 😂

I’ve been feeling nauseas, I think because of the dratted hot flushes, but maybe cos I made a pasta dish for Bernie. He loves it but I don’t do well on an excess of carbohydrates! We took turns on watch but I didn’t sleep much on or off watch! I’m not as good as Bernie as cat napping in 20 minutes lots anyway. If I’m on watch, I’m watching! This area is full of local boats which are a law unto themselves, often no lights, no comms, no AIS etc. I don’t trust them to even have a watch keeper. Bernie is far more blazé.

Captain /crew relations are a little off at present. In usual male fashion, Bernie thinks its all on me and while he expects me to explain my thoughts and feelings, making allowances for him, I’m not seeing that reciprocated! While he’ll say “we discussed it”, that’s really man speak for telling me all the things I’m not doing right according to him while he doesn’t have to explain or take responsibility for a thing! I do feel like a mother hen at times! It’s like having another kid. “Have you got your mask? Wallet? Filled the log? Taken your antibiotics (he has a sinus infection) Blah blah blah! Should I even bother? He’s a grown man. How hard is it to do a wee check list now and then? Michelle has my highest regards for doing this for 20 years, lol! That’s what happens when you get an OCD vs a complete opposite! Anyway, it’s all good. We’ll be fine!

Have I mentioned the kittens obsession with water? It’s hilarious, especially Jack. He loves it. It actually stood him in good stead the other day. He burned his paw (he now knows the diesel heater is hot!) and let me cuddle him upside down while I held the paw under the cold water trap. Poor chap!

They also love it when they can get in the dingy, an extension of their play ground!

And Jack gets right under the bed covers with me on these cold nights! My own wee hot water bottle!

Oklahoma 20.11.20

We got a bit of a late start this morning, as the kids were gaming till the small hours! No rush though! First up they went to look at a couple of places they might rent from the 24th, while I went to the dive shop to look at BCDs & regulators. Happily shopped out by lunch time, we headed for the barn house we’ve booked tonight in Oklahoma.

Well, it’s now December 5th! Saturday I think. The days have flown and I haven’t felt like writing. We had a wonderful trip through Arkansas and Missouri, with a few days by a lake. They’re really pretty counties, hills and woods, rather European. It was definitely jacket weather and we even had rain. Haven’t seen that stuff in months!

On our return to Dallas, we settled into the apartment Matt booked. It’s great and roomy for them while Meg does her medical stuff for her egg donation. She’s handling it really well, clever girl. For my birthday, Matt and I went to a gun range. We had a go with a Glock pistol and an AR15 rifle. Awesome fun. We decided it was a draw.

On the 30th November I flew to Reno to visit my friend Dawnda. She lives in Carson City. Its been wonderful to catch up. Gotta be 5 years since I last came! Her house here is lovely, part way up the mountain, amongst pine trees, with deer, squirrels, bobcats and bears around. I’ve gone hiking every day and feel a bit healthier than I was. My body doesn’t like being sedentary! Dawnda’s dog, Cocoa, is delighted to have someone home all day! I take her with me when I walk. She’s a very good dog.

I’ve finally got onto my yacht masters offshore theory course. Done 7 modules.

I head back to Matt on Monday 7th. Can’t wait to see him again. Making the most of it coz god knows when we’ll next be together. I miss him so much. Its been a really shitty year for everyone and worse for us. I’ll be glad to see the back of it. Travel and Momo have kept me more of less sane. I still have trouble accepting Danny is gone.

Life goes on whether I like it or not.

Me, Matt & Meg in the USA!

FRIDAY 13TH NOVEMBER

Yesterday was Matt’s 29th birthday. Hard to believe I have a son a heartbeat away from 30! I feel so much for him, his birthday forever inextricably interwoven with Danny’s loss. I’m so glad I’ll be seeing him tomorrow.

Today is the first anniversary of Danny’s death, something I’ve been dreading for all of us. But we got through the day, as with all the other “firsts”, no choice in it! I did pretty well really. It was a weird day. I went on the bow by myself in the morning to listen to some of Danny’s music and just reflect. Hearing an anchor being dropped, I looked up and saw, to my delight, Arena setting her pick near us. I bounced up, waving to Steph on the bow, tears of pleasure in my eyes. I was so happy to see my lovely friend.

We got in the dingy and went over to see them straight away. They’d decided to surprise me, hoping they’d arrive before I left to join Matt and Meg. Four hours to spare! I got a big tearful hugs from Steph. I miss hugs. Bernie’s not much for physical contact, even between friends in need. And I’m so tactile, sometimes it’s hard. I was so so pleased to see her, even if it was brief.

Kim picked us up at 1pm and we headed for Hermisillo, where I was to fly from early the next morning. She and Bernie dropped me at my hotel at 3pm and I hid out for the rest of the day. I listened to music, had wine and food, shed tears and generally thought about how life can change in an instant and your reality is forever different.

I will miss you always, Danny. Our lives are forever less without your beautiful spirit in it. 💖

SATURDAY 14TH NOVEMBER

Today was manic. I got a cab to the airport at 0630 and with my flight not leaving until 0850, thought I had plenty of time! However, after a total lack of signage, coordination, zero English speakers among airport staff and three different queues, I finally was checked in to the correct place and aboard my flight. The first leg of the trip was to Guadalajara. We were 20 minutes late arriving, turning a one hour turn around into a very tight connection with my next flight to Las Vegas.

Presenting my passport and Mexican visitors visa (FMM) to the check in woman as I went to board, she refused to let me on, saying I had 10 minutes to go and renew my FMM. I literally ran to the opposite end of the terminal, downstairs, back to the other end on the bottom floor, and panting, found the Immigration officer. He was awesome, filling in my new one in record time. I raced back to gate B2, certain I’d be too late, and saw the woman who’d sent me off beckoning at me to hurry. Rueing my lack of fitness, I made it on last, the doors shutting behind me. God, I was lucky. That’s the closest I’ve come to missing a connection. All because of an FMM which had run out a few days earlier and shouldn’t have been a problem. Every website said not to worry, as most offices are closed due to Covid-19 and its impossible to renew unless you’re leaving and returning. Oh well.

My travel drama was not quite over! I cleared customs in record time, got my bag and was joyfully heading out to find Matt, when I nearly got stopped at the last hurdle! At the last check point, the guy asked how long I’d been in Mexico and where I’d been. I told him the exact truth and he said “you’re lucky, if you’d been to Mexico City or living ashore, I’d have had to make you quarantine for a week.” As it was, he sent me on my way.

And suddenly, there was Matt. After almost a year, a horrible heart breaking year, I had my boy in my arms again. Such joy and relief. After a bunch of three way hugs, we hit the road.

The plan was to drive to the town of Williams, and visit the Grand Canyon the next day. The Hoover Dam was en route so we checked that out, just on dark.

We stayed the night in Williams, a town just west of Flagstaff and a short run into the Grand Canyon National Park. Viewing this astonishing work of nature was the day’s plan for the 15th. We didn’t get there till around midday, as we all slept in!

Matt’s got a dodgy ankle so we stopped at various places to look and admire, rather than doing any of the hikes. It really is truly breathtaking. You’d be seriously annoyed, as an early settler, coming up against that impasse, completely unexpectedly! We saw some elk in the forest on the way out, which was cool.

MONDAY 16TH NOVEMBER

We stayed last night in a wee town called Gallup. The hotel was nothing to rave about but comfortable enough for the decent price of $57 for the one night for three of us. It was a long drive from the park and we didn’t arrive till after 8pm.

A lot of miles covered today! Matt was happy to be passing through very interesting and diverse geology. Incredibly long straight roads, and the young ones took turns at driving.

Meg and I are pleased to have Matt’s expertise to explain the volcanic geology! We found the local Walmart, after checking in, as I needed jeans and we wanted food and wine for the evening. Ticked all those boxes, then relaxed with a vino!

TUESDAY 17TH NOVEMBER

We stayed stayed last night in the town of Alamogordo. It was a great hotel with a very good breakfast. We have them grateful feedback on the way out. I rang Bernie before we left and had a catch up, as well as talking to the kittens.

We went to the White Sands National Park this morning. There weren’t many people there so we were able to have vast areas of these beautiful white dunes to ourselves. Matt and Meg took some gorgeous photos for their Instagram. I just took holiday snaps!

The five hour drive from White Sands to this city of Lubbock, now firmly in Texas. The Trump mad population have put flags up everywhere. Nauseating. However, the endless flat, desert-like terrain en route was very interesting. There were massive ranches, though barely an animal did we see! Then there’s endless miles of oil fields, which was rather sobering, oddly. Its a bit creepy to see the pumping arm (horse head) of each little oil well bobbing up and down. Another feature, was the cotton fields which have just been harvested. So there were round bales of cotton, not hay. We went through tiny, barely – there towns with names like Tinnie. That particular town (don’t blink!) was set in a gully with one of the few rivers we’ve seen. So there was a narrow strip of greenery and then it gave way to arid desert again. The town of Roswell had little to remember it by, except for its obsession with UFOs! Even the McDonald’s was UFO themed. And there was a diner called Big D’s Downtown Dive!

Tonight we are in a big town called Lubbock. Not a very nice name! We’re all a bit tired, covered a lot of miles the last few days. 1048 miles, in fact. So we’re just chilling to my music. Might hit the hay soon.

18TH NOVEMBER 2020

Today we were up earlier than usual to get to a Covid testing place at 9am. Meg had to get one done. I’m sure it’ll be negative. Then we hit the road and busted out the 5 hour drive to Dallas, stopping only for food and loo breaks. Meg teases Matt about how often he goes to the bathroom but he says he listened to his Mama and takes every opportunity that presents itself! Good lad.

The terrain has been endlessly flat, though the vegetation changed slowly from desert to tree clad, autumnal acres. Lots of cotton fields also, in the process of harvest. And the never ending oil wells and wind turbines. At least wind turbines don’t give me the heebie jeebies.

Today was one of those days. I was constantly on the verge of tears. Once we arrived at our hotel (a very nice La Quinta) I had half a gummy of sativa which improved my mental space 100%. It’s great being able to take it, knowing exactly what you’re getting, that it’s safe and regulated, and the effect is predictable. Man, it irritates the hell out of me that NZ missed this opportunity. We’ve had a lovely evening, the three of us just chatting. Nice to know we don’t have to rush off tomorrow. Meg’s appointment isn’t till the afternoon.

Where now?

13.11.20

One year ago my younger son, Danny, and Matt’s brother was taken from us by a drug driver.

I feel as if I’ve conducted myself with as much strength as I am capable of. Matt and I both felt we were allowed to do whatever we needed to get through (is that even possible?).

I’ve read a lot of books dealing with this loss, I’m a nurse so I’ve seen it first hand in other people, I’ve tried really hard to control how I react. I’ve had to deal with all the legal stuff by myself, because both Danny’s father and Matt didn’t want to. It’s understandable, but I gave birth to him, I raised him, I’ve loved him with every atom of my being from the moment he’s popped into the world. I’m the ONLY ONE who can claim that.

Yet, so much has been expected of me.

Finally, one year on, I admit I can’t do it. I’m adrift. I’m alone. I regret so much. I’ve tried so hard.

I have to find a new focus. Start over.

I wish I could swap places with Danny. He had so much to offer. I loved him so much.

Bahia Algodones

It was with joy in my heart that I hit the “up” button on the anchor winch this morning! It’s Sunday November 1st and I’m so so happy to put a few miles under the keel today! We’ve been at anchor in Bahia San Carlos so long that the anchor chain had spun itself round and round. We had to bring it up slowly, going up and down a few times to get the kinks out! The kittens handled the engine starting and anchor coming up like pros. Not too perturbed at all! I popped ashore quickly before we left to take the rubbish and get wine. There’s a nice trail from the dingy dock to the town. One of the things I love about Mexico is the colour and pattern they put into every day things!

I drove us out while Bernie checked a few engineer type things! We rounded Punta Doble and headed due west towards Punta San Antonio, the south western point of Bahia Algodones. The dramatic Tetakawi mountain, Tetas de Cabra, makes a wonderful backdrop looking back to shore as you cross the bay.

The kittens decided the best spot for them was in the well of the cockpit, though they got their courage up to watch the world go by a bit later. Then Jack discovered a great spot inside the bimini! We did wonder if they felt a little bit sea sick at one point. It was quite swelly, more than anything they’d experienced on anchor. But they’re fine now and totally chilled.

We hoped to tuck in behind the highest hill on the island to the northern part of this bay but couldn’t set the anchor there. So we had to move closer inshore where its sandy but more exposed.

Bernie’s new set up with the solar works perfectly. He’s pretty chuffed, I think!

Bernie made these potato pancakes for dinner, a childhood favourite he tells me. They were good too. He had sugar on his! Crazy man! He’s such a sweet tooth! After eating, we sat in the cockpit, out of the wind, yarning. The kittens did sprint laps round Momo. At one point I found Alex in the dingy, which we’d winched up for the night. These cats will age me further!

It’s full moon at the moment and it was enormous and red as it rose behind the mountains. I got a cool shot of it a couple of nights ago.

2.11.20: We went snorkeling this morning in hopes of catching food for the next couple of days. Bernie got one fish but the sea life is pretty minimal here. This side of the sea of Cortez has definitely suffered from the higher concentration of human beings taking more than they should! But it was nice to get in the water and get some exercise. Jack was fascinated by the fish when we got back, wanted to play with it.

4.11.20; This time last year I was heading to Koh Phangan with Ruth for my diving course. What a wonderful trip that was, the last truly happy week of my life.

Yesterday Bernie and I had a lovely day. It dawned flat calm so we lifted the pick and headed north early. The prevailing winds are northerly at this time of year, and tend to get up later in the day, so we wanted to avoid that. We’re trying to acclimatise the kittens to boat travel gently. It was an interesting coastline, with very volcanic, contorted rock formations. Little gullies had palm trees and other greenery too, so there must be the odd underground spring.

We spotted a particularly attractive spot and I suggested stopping for a snorkel and wander ashore. So we did that and what a treat it was. There’s a lot more sea and bird life as we get further from San Carlos /Guaymas area. We even saw sea lions and a seal. Bernie got lunch and I made cerviche & rice. Delicious.

Still with perfectly calm seas, we motored the last stretch to Bahia San Pedros, our destination for the next few days, probably. I took the helm and Bernie set the anchor this time! He took the opportunity to let all the chain out, get the twists and kinks out, and give it a wash! Then we settled on 150 feet out in about 25 feet of water. More than enough.

This bay is postcard perfect. It’s almost circular, the entrance fairly narrow, has a lovely sandy & pebbly beach, stunning mountainous backdrop and there seems to be so many fish, as they’re constantly jumping. There’s a small motor boat here, as well as a fishing panga, and a large motor boat turned up at dusk, unfortunately, as they anchored really close to us and have their genny running. (it’s 0500 as I write this)

We went for a walk after lunch, finding a rough trail across the peninsula to the next bay. Climbing a small hill gave us a great view over both bays. Sadly, we found a disgusting amount of rubbish on the beach and in the scrub behind the beach. Likely local fisherman, judging by the endless fish carcases on shore.

The kittens have been hilarious today and given us both multiple heart attacks with their wild antics! They’ve really found their mojo and show little fear, especially at anchor! There’s a lot more insects here and they chased them with concentration and a lack of respect for the yachts boundaries! Until Jack nearly fell in! The closest either of them has come, and a stunning recovery he made, hanging off the steel railing on the extreme bow! We were sitting up there, in the half light, had smoked a pipe and it totally set me off. I was in fits of laughter. Well, we both were but Bernie announced he felt Jack’s momentary fear and was fairly concerned, whereas I simply found it hysterically funny. Maybe because I’ve had more experience with animals? Even if he’d gone in the drink he’d have been fine! It’s a short swim to the rescue net. It subdued him though and he stopped haring around for the evening! We’d also noticed Alex was a bit quiet and hadn’t eaten much dinner. Bernie, while holding him up for a snuggle, spotted a bee sting in his lower lip! I pulled it out and he seems right as rain.

God, I’d love some rain! I actually dreamed it rained earlier this night! In my dream, I was delighted because Momo was getting a really good fresh water wash down! A real deckhands dream, lol!

Thursday 5th November

It’s nearly 8am and I’ve just climbed back in bed with a coffee. There’s a bee buzzing up in the hatch which can’t be opened at the moment. The kittens can see it from my bed but can’t get to it. So they’re jumping in and out the scuttles trying to get it from above! Which, of course, won’t work because it’s inside and they’re then outside! So funny! They’re very fiesty this morning and I don’t intend to be caught in the cross fire!

Yesterday morning we took the dingy and slowly motored round the next couple of headlands. The geology is incredible here. Matt would be in his element and able to tell us what we’re seeing. There’s so many colours in the cliffs, layers of red, yellow, orange, brown, white; just beautiful. The bird life here is impressive too. When I hopped up on deck first thing this morning, there were hundreds of pelicans and cormorants on the water, sheltering out of the wind. And during our outing yesterday we went very close by a group of perhaps 20 baby pelicans. They are totally adorable and when they feel threatened, all duck dive as a unit. Though there’s always that one kid that’s like “hey, wait, where’d you all go?” before disappearing beneath the waves!

Bernie went spear fishing after we returned from our jaunt. I didn’t feel like it and stayed here to cook lunch. He was gone two hours and in that time the wind got up a lot. We dragged the anchor and the motor yacht anchored near us started swinging wildly on hers (without the deep, stabilising keel Momo has). I wasn’t happy at all with how close we were getting. I tried to attract Bernie’s attention but he goes off in his own world when he’s spear fishing. I got pretty pissed off actually, that he never checks in with his crew, just disappears. Anyway, I tried to call Good Lack (stupid name!) on Ch16 but she wasn’t keeping a listening watch (queue the eye roll) so that was zero help. Deciding I’d get ready for any necessary action before it became totally necessary, I opened the fuel and sea cock lines below and started the engine, took the snubber off the anchor chain and came up on the anchor a bit. Then, with 150′ out, I reversed on it and tried to set it in hard again. It seemed fine and we were a healthier distance from Good Lack. Still, not entirely happy since I couldn’t see Bernie and was here alone, I turned the engine off but left it ready to start again and the anchor free for manoeuvreing. However the chain was being pulled from the drum now and then, which shouldn’t happen. We should be able to ride on the winch. Of course, you don’t usually as that’s hard on the gear, but it should be possible. But there wasn’t more I could do for now and we seemed OK. Not long after I saw Bernie haul himself into the dingy and start to head off round the headland. I tell you, I was livid. It obviously didn’t occur to him at all to check in with me, look at Momo and notice the weather was worse, just because he was right under the shelter of the cliff. Jeeeez! I yelled and waved my arms at him and eventually he noticed and came over, to be met with a fairly pissed off deckhand, who was trying not to let fly the temper! Poor man!

Once he was on board I explained everything to him and to be honest, I don’t think he believed me. With a very dismissive “Oh, well, that makes no sense. We shouldn’t have dragged. We set it well.” he wandered forward, put the snubber back on, mucked around up they’re for a while, then upon returning aft said “The winch was loose, don’t know why, shouldn’t be. I’ve tightened it so the chain shouldn’t pull through now.” I was standing there, keeping a tight rein on my ire, and said “yes, I know that. The problem here is less about this situation, which I handled by the way, but the complete lack of communication. You’re off for two hours, no radio, because guess what, that doesn’t work either, and never once thought to check in with me. And you would have disappeared round the corner without even telling me, if I hadn’t seen you going.” He saw my point and apologised for stressing me, but I still think he reckons I was over reacting.

Perhaps I was, but he needs to remember I’m used to really big ships, with a full crew, well maintained, with an anchor that can be operated from the wheel house if necessary. Also, he and Michelle have had 15 years to get used to how Momo works, and know every detail about her. I’m sick of being expected to be on that level, being compared to Michelle and found lacking. In fairness, I don’t think he even realises he’s doing it half the time. He only notices what directly affects him, not how it might affect me! Such a bloke, lol!

I made a hot pasta dish for lunch but I think it was a bit spicy for Bernie. At least it would’ve helped warm him up after fishing. I’ll have to tone it down. Shame, I love it hot!

11am. Oh my goodness, the cats are wild today. As my Californian friend, Dawnda, would say “they’ve got a wild hair up their ass!” They’re leap frogging round the interior after winged beasts, a mixed blessing since some of those are bees! Then wrestling like sumo fighters with each other, and getting totally in Bernie’s way as he’s trying to go locker by locker cataloguing what he needs in spare parts. I came on deck to do a little laundry and they followed me up, giving Bernie brief respite. Of course, as its windy, everything is flapping most satisfactorily! You’ll see, if you look at the photos taken along the yacht’s waist, that the guard rails are two stainless steel rails with netting inboard. Except on the extreme bow and stern. Well, Jack has discovered he can stand on these rails, back paws on the first and front paws on the top. Most nerve wracking for parental watchers.

We have the bay to ourselves today, rather nice. The winds shifted from overnight stiff northerlies (30+ knots) to a steady north westerly of about 18 knots, I reckon.

I’m very cross with myself as I think I left my good deck sandals on the beach when we swam the other day. Of course they’re not there now. So I only have slip on $3 floppies and some cutesy jandals. I’ll have to go buy some runners or something similar before going to see Matt and Meg. I have tickets, did I mention? Very excited and feeling better within myself for having a plan, a date. Every parent loves to see their kids but I tell you, when you’ve lost a child, seeing the only remaining baby is super important. Even if they are packaged in a 6’2″, highly intelligent and independent adult!

5.11.20: We had a few bevvies sitting on the bow last night and a long talk about the future, options and what we hope for. It was productive. Bernie, very kindly, told me he thought I was an intelligent and amazing woman and he admired that I was modest with it. Well, I’m not used to being told that by men and don’t really think of myself that way, but it was sweet of him. He is certainly way smarter them me, and I reckon Michelle is too. I’m just me. A simple country girl! At one point, in a lighter moment, Bernie asked when the cats have to be speyed and if they’d start marking their territory. I laughed and said at about 6 months old and that, no, they wouldn’t. He remarked it was funny because he always felt the need to pee over the side of Momo each time we anchor! I howled with laughter. I stayed on deck after Bernie went to bed and had a wee melt down over Danny’s loss and being on my own for the anniversary. It had to hit me sooner or later. I’ve been coping OK the last couple of weeks since being ashore. But this was always going to be a totally shit time. I’m so glad I’ll be seeing Matt soon. I’m still feeling delicate this morning. It’s a gorgeous day and I’ve been sitting on deck again since sunrise. We’re still here on our own and it’s peaceful. Good spirit food. Alex has caught two bees that I’ve seen, without getting stung! Goodness knows how.

11am. Bernie is climbing the hill on the edge of the bay, so I have Momo to myself at the moment. I couldn’t go, having stupidly lost my only decent footwear. We looked at Michelle’s stuff she left behind but she’s got bigger feet than me. Bernie said I could borrow some of her warmer gear too and I’ve grabbed a couple of tops and a fleece, but she’s much bigger than me round the waist so none of the trousers or shorts fit, unfortunately. I’ll have to go to a second hand shop.

I’ve done the laundry, having decided the water is much cleaner here than in Bahia San Carlos. So Momo is lined with flapping clothes! The wind has got up from the south but we’re ok for now and I’ve seen Bernie on his way back.

1300. Bernie got back, a bit worried I’d be stressing about the wind, after yesterday’s drama! But I was fine. Anyway, we decided to move to the other side of the bay where its more sheltered in this wind. Its a nice spot too, and I’ve had lunch. I made chicken masala. When I say I’ve made something definitive like that, it is usually doctored in some way, as I seldom have the exact ingredients! So this had whisky instead of sherry! Still tastes really good!

7.11.20: We had crazy gusty winds overnight and were up and down checking our position. No worries, though an annoying swell from somewhere is hitting us broadside, even though the wind is on our nose. The dingy got flipped over. Luckily we’d taken the engine and fuel out last night. But all our snorkeling gear was in it. We recovered what was floating but Bernie will have to dive for the rest. On the plus side, I’d tied the dingy anchor to the dingy (as well as the painter) so we have the location to dive marked! We had some of the fish Bernie got yesterday for breakfast. Very good too.

8.11.20

It’s 0440 and I’ve had a restless night, don’t know why. I woke at 0030 and popped my head up on deck to check our position. The wind had flipped into the north and we’re in a better position now. We moved back to the North side of the bay last evening, though it was still southerly, because it was forecast to change around midnight and we didn’t want to have to move then. So we risked a lee shore for a few hours. It was actually more comfortable anyway. I reckon the southerly swell swings around the point of the bay and turns as it enters, making for a broadside swell at the bottom end of the bay.

We got Momo ready for sea last night, so plan to head back to San Carlos first thing. I’ve had about an hours sleep so would be happy to leave now, lol! I think Bernie’s still asleep though! I’ve got Alex sleeping on top of my legs and Jack wrapped round my head! They are funny! Jack has an obsession with grooming my face that I don’t really share! They’re due for their second round of vaccinations, poor kitties.

Maintenance +++

24th October 2020

Bernie has been working really hard on getting the new solar panel mount made and installed. It involved a lot of time under the deck preparing for the aluminium frame, a very uncomfortable and hot job. I do admire how he can think the whole process out in his head and translate that into a working arrangement. It is up and we’re trialing some panels that Arena bought and then found too big for their space. We think they’ll work, which is good news for both them and us! We just need to go to Guaymas today for some wood and parts.

Other than the solar system upgrade, we’ve been working our way through a list of maintenance jobs and Momo is starting to look pretty sharp. It should benefit both Bernie & Michelle in working out their finances, so I hope it goes ahead smoothly for them. He really does want the best for them.

The kittens love all the work going on, as each time we open cupboards or get gear out, it’s like a whole new jungle gym for them to explore! They’re getting more confident with their swimming lessons too. They’re not too fazed by it all!

Kim has two new babies too hand raise, the most adorable Siamese looking kittens!

The weather has cooled down a little. Its still in the 30s but the humidity has eased, thankfully. The water temperature has dropped a bit too and is much nicer. We’re getting a rolly fetch at the moment, the last two days, which is a bit of a pain! So somewhere out there they’ve had rough weather, lol! Still no rain! There were a few drops a couple of weeks ago and the kittens took off inside as though they’d been stabbed! It was so funny. Didn’t even dampen things though. We’ve had some lovely sunsets and sunrises.

Matt and Meg are in the USA! Hooray! 😍💃💃💖

Sunday 25th October: We had a great night out with the couple who live on Maitairoa, in the marina. Patrick is South African originally, and Ellen is American. It’s a friendly place and getting to know the other yachties is the good thing about being stuck here.

26th: Is Hannah’s 21st! In NZ, that is! Hard to believe it’s 3 years since my boys took her on a pub crawl for her 18th! She’s the only one who got to do that kind of stuff with Danny  😕

I’m ashore, house sitting, though its not necessary, more “time to myself” to reevaluate. A couple of months ago I would’ve been 100% sure about staying on Momo. I was happy. But now, I don’t know. Bernie’s put me on a back burner. Big time. I’m not willing to be messed with again. It seems to have coincided with his trying to finalise things with Michelle. I’m attempting to give him the space he needs to deal with that. It understandably hurts. But in withdrawing, it’s meant my willingness to engage has suffered. I think, for now, we’ll remain close friends.

And I’m really struggling with losing Danny. I guess it’s catching up with me. I’ve tried so hard to look after everyone else, doing the legal stuff by myself because Richard & Matt “didn’t want to know”, not wanting to stress Bernie with “bereaved mother” etc etc etc. My walls are caving in. The pieces of the puzzle are lost.

30th October.

I came back to Momo yesterday, after helping Kim take her yacht out onto her mooring. We did it like pros. Go the girl team! Her animals are so happy to be on the water! The babies have really grown.

My few days on my own ashore have done me the world of good. No cooking or endless cleaning. Just peace. I feel like I can handle it all again. It seemed to have been good for Bernie too and he seems happy to have me back! He’s nearly finished the solar panels which is great.

The kittens reaction to my return was so sweet. They’re so pleased and are all over me. Jack actually was drooling he purred so hard! He slept on top of me and Alex right beside me. So I couldn’t move! They’re following me round like shadows today! I’m enjoying the extra attention!

I’ve managed to have nice chats with Matt. They’re doing a bit of a tour in their hired truck, making the most of their free time before Meg gets into this treatment regime. They’ve had snow in Colorado! Posted some gorgeous pics. Hard to believe it’s snowing up there when we’re still getting hot days in the high 20s.

It’s definitely cooled at night. I bought a cool blanket for my bed. I love the colourful Mexican designs. Bernie said “oh look at your lovely bed” and I replied “yours could look like that too!” Never gonna happen!

The Weirdness that is Meditation!

Soon after rejoining Bernie and Momo in July, Bernie suggested we do a daily meditation using Sam Harris’ guidance. As there’s a ton of research showing it is a helpful practice in dealing with trauma, I readily agreed.

It’s never been something I’ve felt I’d be any good at, since I don’t usually sit still for long and my mind spins off on all manner of tangents. But Bernie explained it in a way that gave me reason to think I might learn and also Sam Harris teaches it in a slightly different way. He talks you through the meditation and then follows up with a discussion/lesson.

So, while we’ve been fairly erratic, not exactly managing the ‘daily’ part, we have been doing his lessons sequentially. We sit on deck, in the shade, or early enough to avoid the heat. Anyway, yesterday something fairly wondrous happened to me. We were asked to try to meditate with our eyes open. We’ve done little snippets of that before, but this was for almost the whole session. Sam got us to focus on one place and then, without really moving our gaze, widen our fields of view and sort of try to not really see the individual objects but just notice the colour fields blending. I found I could do it easily and really enjoyed the experience. Bernie was astonished, as he finds that difficult. And I’m pretty useless at the exercises we get usually!

However, I was reminded of those pictures that were very popular about 15 years ago. They were a picture in a picture, and you had to focus intently on one spot and let yourself look into the painting to find the second one. I could do that easily too and knew many people couldn’t. Bernie said he’d always had trouble with those. It’s so interesting the way our brains work.

He asked if I couldn’t see anything except colour any more. But I could see the boats, mountains and so on, they just became indistinct and blended together, more patches of colours. I did see a turtle because it popped up right in the central point of my focus!

Then, last evening (10th), we were sitting in our usual spot on the bow, a little bit high after a nice wee Mexican buzz, and I tried it looking at the sunset behind the mountains. I found I could not only blend the colours but actually manipulate them and their outlines. It was way trippy and so cool. I could make the whole horizon become one entity, though its actually hills in front of bigger mountains, then darken it and move it down the front of the mountain, though the whole time still able to see the original horizon. So freaky and awesome! I was commentating as I did it and Bernie was fascinated! Later as the sun made a red gold back drop, I could turn it sort of black & gold like a honey comb. It’s rather addictive!

12.10.20: Yesterday I got onto my list of “tomorrow’s jobs” (clever, huh, always got an out!) I started polishing the stainless on the bow, a work in progress, mended Bernie’s trousers, tried to free the rusted solid fittings on the Danforth (spare emergency/kedge anchor), cleaned out the kittens’ litter (daily job), added refinements to the kittens’ rescue nets (weighted the forward edges so they don’t blow out), did Spanish lesson/practice, researched how to make a bong and mended the foot pump for pumping up the dingy. I also swam over to Compass Rose and back. All by lunchtime. Then I was knackered for the rest of the day!

The kittens are battling around my feet, a disconcerting experience. I expect my ankle to take a bite any second! We have a little step stool that just gets used to sit the computer on while we watch a movie, but the kittens love it. One gets under it and they pretend to be hidden from each other. Oooh, my calf just got bitten. Rats! It’s probably payback for all the times we swoop them up for tummy rubs. It must be infuriating to be so little at times!

October 13th 2020: Its 11 months since Danny died. I’m feeling a bit tender, well, more than usual. I’m trying Sam Harris’ exercise for today which he says will help stop us reacting to things that upset us. Guess it doesn’t work on the feelings that come with losing a son. Kitty cuddles work better.

We had Thanksgiving dinner with the crew of Arena and Kim, last night. I’ve never experienced traditional thanksgiving before. We did pot luck so Steph wasn’t cooking for nine people. It’s was a truly fun evening. Steph made us all name one thing we’re thankful for, before eating. The kids were funny, struggling to think of something and settling for practical things like “a comfy bed”! I said I was thankful for Bernie having me here while I tried to put the pieces of my life back together, and for the wonderful new friends I’ve made here. Bernie said he was thankful to have my company on Momo. I’m also thankful for our kittens, which give me so much joy!

On the subject of the cats, again, we gave them another rescue lesson. I’ve made better nets for them to climb up, out of some spare green net Arena had and two old swim noodles. It worked a treat. I got in the water with fins and Bernie handed down each kitten to have a go. They did so well, didn’t panic or claw me to bits. They just perched on my shoulder till I said it was time to swim to the net. Jack went very sedately but Alex cleverly did a massive jump off my shoulder onto the net and scrambled up like a bat out of hell! We did it twice. Jack didn’t find it as easy and I realised it was because I’d trimmed his claws that morning, so I won’t be able to do that again. Poor man. His ego took a hit!

Alex taking the leap!

The poor kitties also had to have their first jabs recently. The vet came to Kim’s catamaran, The Cure, which was awesome. Kim has 4 cats and Midnight, our guys’ sister. So it’s easier than carting them all round! I felt sorry for them but someone pointed out they probably minded a lot less than the swimming lessons! Alex made a wee squawk when injected but Jack didn’t seem at all bothered. So round one of inoculations done and the next lot, including rabies, on November 2nd. I can also get them microchipped for 200 pesos each, so will do that then too. Its a requirement for bringing them to NZ, so I’m glad it’s no trouble to get done here.

0100 hours on the 16th October:                I’ve been tossing up whether to mention this or not, but have decided that I’m not into just putting the “perfect life” up. So much on social media is not real but I don’t want my story to be a lie. So, over the last month Bernie and Michelle have been working things out between them, in a much more civilised way than many couples when they are separated, I might add. You know, the financial stuff etc. It’s been hard on both of them and messing a fair bit with Bernie’s peace of mind, which is understandable. I’ve tried to be supportive and not be involved any more than he wants me to be. It’s their business. The bit I’m finding hard is that all of a sudden the lovely, easy, caring relationship we were developing has vanished. He’s pulled right back from me, putting physical and emotional distance between us. I feel very much like “the crew” and that I should be “working” all the time. I no longer feel relaxed and able to plan my day as I wish. I feel guilty if I’m not slaving over something. Which is crazy because I’m not being paid, I came as volunteer crew, I’m putting quite a lot of my own money, caring and time into being here, yet I’m not feeling entirely wanted right now.

I’m trying to just let it ride because I do know this is a difficult adjustment for him to make. But I have my own demons to deal with and don’t really need this. It all comes just as we’ve got the kittens and I’ve committed to doing the crossing next year. Yet here I am, feeling like I could be doing it only to find on arrival in NZ, I may not be welcome, that Bernie might just try and get it all together with his family again. For all their totally disfunctional relationship over the last few years, he is definitely still in love with Michelle. I don’t know that I can cope with being screwed over yet again by a man I’ve put my trust in, however unintentional. I’m thinking my trip to see Matt soon will put some timely distance between us, give some perspective. I just can’t deal with any more hurt right now. I didn’t come to Momo expecting to find someone I could be with, only to help a friend, but Bernie himself put that possibility on the table and now I feel it’s being withdrawn. Except that he’s not telling me, not talking to me, just quietly backing off. I guess time will tell. At some point I will need to try and get him to talk about it. When I raised it the other day, he denied there was any change, which I found disingenuous because it’s so patently not the case.

On so many levels, I wish I could turn back the clock. Maybe to 2018, September, when I was on MY Moonbeam with Fouche. We had such fun and made the most of every day. Matt and Danny were happy and doing great things. Life was good. Damn it. I want that back.

I went back to look at my posts from that time and found I hadn’t made any. I only stop writing when I’m really happy, so I guess that shows I was totally loving life at that point.

A Touch of Autumn

It’s Thursday 8th October, nearly 11 months since I lost my beautiful son, Danny. I still can’t get through half a day without feeling that tingling in your nose that you get when you’re trying not to cry. It’s a long and tough journey, this road through grief. It is what it is. I just have to be a bit more patient with myself and know its OK to feel this roller coaster of emotions. Putting the jigsaw of my life back together will be an ongoing process. It’s a lonely trail.

I’m crossing all my fingers and toes that I’ll see Matt soon and praying we’ll get to be together for the first anniversary of Danny’s passing, and for our birthdays. We were all in November and it’s always been a fun month for us. Matt and I need to make different memories. Danny would’ve been 27 this year. Being with Matt is all I can focus on at the moment. I am also keen to get to know his girlfriend, Meg, better. We had a lovely week together in Prague last October and of course I saw her at Danny’s funeral. But I’d like a chance to see more of her in better circumstances. She’s been instrumental in getting Matt through this ghastly time of loss.

Back here on Momo, Bernie and I are getting on well. He’s nearly done with two big translation jobs, so we’re hoping to go sailing for the next couple of weeks. We might head to the Bay of LA, and then to Santa Rosalia in the hopes of meeting up with Utopia and Love & Luck. Arena might come too, so we’ll all be together again which will be great fun. We’ve got some maintenance jobs done and others planned, as well as getting Bernie’s passport off to the Canadian embassy. That was a relief! Everything is so tricky in these weird Covid-19 times!

The kittens keep us laughing and are a comfort to me when I am feeling low. They seem to know and both show up for cuddles the minute I start sniffling! We gave them their first rescue lesson two days ago. A dip in the sea and a scary scramble up the net over the side, gave them enough of a shock to slow them down for 24 hours! But they are away again now, defying gravity at great speed!

We’ve had some lovely times with Jamie & Steph, from Arena. They and their four kids are a delight and I love them to bits. It’s been nice having another woman to talk to and share stuff with. Steph’s a nurse too, so we have a lot in common. Between them and Bernie’s gentle kindness, I am very blessed in my support during this tough bit of the year. They’re all so understanding when I lose the plot and need time out to give myself a pep talk! We go for happy hour margaritas fairly often and usually end up getting yummy Mexican food! It’s so cheap! Their youngest, Lochlan, turned six recently. I thought he was older! They’re all so tall! Jamie is 6’4″, so not really a surprise!

There is finally a touch of Autumn in the air and we had a foggy start to the day today. It was a beautiful morning, all misty and calm. Its still in the early 30’s during the day but the heavy humidity has eased, and the nights are in the 20’s. Much kinder on a sleeping body!

09.10.20: If there were room to be doing cartwheels rounds Momo’s deck I’d be trying! I’m very happy because Matt & Meg are definitely coming to the USA. Meg has a somewhat personal project she’s doing so they’ll be here for six weeks. We’ll make more definite plans once they’re here and know what they’re doing!

Bernie and I watched a film called “My Octopus Teacher” last night. Everyone has been raving about it and it purports to be a documentary. The cinematography is great but a documentary it is not! It’s more like a soppy, cheap Mills & Boon nature equivalent. It annoyed the hell out of Bernie! I just took it all with a grain of salt and enjoyed the underwater scenery. But it’s all made up, a load of BS, nothing ‘real’ about it. I’m getting quite a lot of amusement out of how much it got under Bernie’s skin though. Truth and honesty are important to him in a very visceral way, and with the way they present this film, I can understand his irritation!

The kittens are scrapping. Again. Jack is feeling very full of himself. He bit me hard this morning, so got held up by the scruff and told “not on!”

Bernie’s painting the shower, so there’s stuff all over the saloon. It amazes me the positions the kittens sleep/relax in!

I’m polishing some of the rust off the endless stainless steel a yacht possesses! I quite like doing it but it’s hard on my back so I do it in stages. I don’t have to be as obsessive as on a superyacht either!

It’s been a hotter day again, real feel of 41°C. So we’ve just had a swim and it’s nearly wine time! Good job!

Morning Watch

It’s 0453. 18th, maybe! In the Navy this period of four hours from 0400 to 0800 is called the morning watch, so I guess I’m subconsciously on duty! For whatever reason I can’t sleep anyway. I had nightmares when I went to sleep and am now awake again with a bit of an upset tummy. We went out for drinks with Jamie & Steph, and another couple from another boat in the marina, Josh & Morgan. I hadn’t met Morgan before and she seems like a nice girl, but we’d both met Josh before. Bernie’s really funny about Josh, doesn’t like him much at all! I don’t think he’s too bad but he is a bit of a blow hard! So, we had a couple of margaritas and some finger food. I guess that’s what upset my tummy. It’s not bad though. I’ve always found, when travelling, that it’s best to cook your own food. Especially in countries like this!

Once we got home, we sat on deck, on the bow, as we often do. Most days, in fact. We had a good long chat about the future, where we thought things might go, and so on. Didn’t solve much, lots of “don’t knows”! But good to toss stuff round. I find Bernie easier to talk to, on just about anything, than any other man my age I’ve met. He’s incredibly non judgemental. It’s refreshing.

On a totally different thread, I’m cat sitting for Kim at the moment. She’s gone to her place in Tuscon for a few days. She has four cats and the sister to our boys, so I’ll go twice a day to feed them etc. Our kittens have really settled in and love it here now, I think. In fact, when I got back this afternoon, they were calling to me, happy to see me, and Alex did that kneading /sucking thing wee kits do. I forget how young they are. Normally they’d still be with their mum. Bernie and I sat on deck watching a TV series and they stayed close all the time.

Alex and Jack are getting bold though, and have nearly gone over board chasing each other or attacking halyards! They seem to think the whole yacht is a fancy playground designed just for them! We laugh so much.

On Monday we took the dingy and went exploring the harbour. The ride was a couple of hours before high tide (springs) so we went up the river a ways too and saw a beautiful white Ibis (I think, lol). Then we hopped ashore on the isthmus to the west side of the harbour. It was actually pretty spectacular and I couldn’t resist a swim in the fresher cooler sea on the other side.

24.09.20: I’ve been feeling weird this afternoon. On edge. Emotionally delicate. It’s not all Danny this time either. I don’t know what I’m doing here. I haven’t earned any money for nearly a year and it worries me to be living on savings that have taken a life time to earn. I don’t feel I can say anything really. Bernie has enough on his plate right now. He needs me to be supportive at the moment, with things in NZ giving him sorrow. So I get that it’s on me that I’m letting it ride for now. Though I did mention I’d applied for a job in Fort Lauderdale.

We had a nice night out with Steph and Jamie this evening. They’re Christian and we aren’t and it’s never been discussed between us. I don’t know how it came up tonight but next thing I know Bernie is really getting into one of his passionate dissertations. He’s so educated and articulate about it, it’s impossible to argue with him. I was embarrassed. I think they’re entitled to be left alone regarding their belief system. So I’m feeling a bit fed up. I hope it doesn’t affect our friendship cos I love them to bits. They’re great people.

I don’t know. I just feel in limbo. Like I don’t belong anywhere any more. The jigsaw is a bit shakey just now. If it wasn’t for the kittens making me smile today, I might’ve given in to a good old sulk and grump session!

It was a gorgeous morning though, with stunning light on the sea at sunrise.

I’m still not feeling 100%. When a girl can’t drink her happy hour margaritas, you know there’s something wrong! I did get some grocery shopping done this morning though, so at least we have fresh goods again. But had to ly down when I got back.

Sunday, 27th September.

Where has this month gone! There’s a lot of local traffic in the bay today and many of the ignorant a-holes are screaming past us so close, making Momo bounce all over the show. You can tell I’m in one of my really tolerant moods!

We’ve both been productive today. Bernie’s been filling screw holes in the shower cubicle, readying it for painting, and I’ve cleaned the whole deck and done a ton of laundry. It’s too hot to do more now. It’s 36°C. I wonder when it starts to cool off for the Winter. I’ll be happy when the sea temperature drops. It’s almost the same as the air!

Alex and Jack are doing well. I rather suspect Kim has incorrectly sexed them. I had a look for myself now they’re happy with us handling them. I think Jack might be a girl and Alex a boy but I’ll see what the vet says when we take them in for their first rabies jabs. We’ll have to do that soon, though they never go ashore to have contact! But we’ll need the record for sailing to other countries.

Kim took us for drinks and nibbles at some friends of her’s house two nights ago. Nancy and Glenn. What a cool couple. We had a great time. They live in a lovely place between here and Guaymas, overlooking the sea. They also have rescue cats from Kim! And two dogs. They’re educated, articulate and a ton of fun. Great attitudes to life. Glenn is a psychiatrist and Nancy managed health care facilities for indigenous populations, I think. Really interesting to talk to. Glenn is now involved in running a local medical clinic and three ambulances. It’s free to use and supported by donations. The staff are paid so it’s a well run, successful local enterprise. I offered to work for them while I’m here and Glenn was very keen for me to. He was keen to have me do some education and go out on the ambulances. Bernie was very supportive which I appreciate, because if I do it, I will be exposing us to Covid-19. No doubt about that. Glenn said its prevalent and killing people regularly here.

We both went in to hang out with Steph and the kids for a little while this morning. Bernie needed to collect his tools. He’d been helping Jamie do some work on Arena yesterday. Steph had had fun with her two older girls, putting temporary hair colour in their hair. They’re great kids. While there, Ada found a sick young sparrow. I helped them try and pipette some sugar water into the poor wee thing. But it didn’t live so they asked us to do a burial at sea for it on our way back to Momo!

What day is it?

One or other of us asks that every day, I’d say! The days are blending together. We’re getting things done though, slowly, Mexican time. I’ve learned that everything will be done “mañana” – tomorrow! Today could be Tuesday, I think. I could look on my calendar but I rather like living in this zone. I’m sitting on the bow, it’s 0630ish and the kittens decided we should come on deck and enjoy the extraordinary calm.

The stanchion bases we took off and got an engineer in Guaymas to strengthen, are back on. Momo’s engineer did a great job with help (holding screwdrivers etc) from his deckie. The deckie also tidied up, she’s good at following the engineer round and mopping up stray tools and filthy cloths! All that’s left to do on that job is restring the netting, not a job I’m looking forward to as it requires me to be bent double for long periods. It kills my back.

We bought some garden type solar lights the other day and I’ve put them on the bow and either side aft, as a precaution against idiots at night. The commercial sight seeing boats aren’t too bad, but the sea fleas (jet skis – bane of a sailor’s life) are ridden by total eggheads. That’s me being polite about them. They rocket round at 30 knots, so close to us, unlit at night. Et cetera. Loathe them. I’ve asked the skipper, repeatedly, for a 50 cal to mount on the bow, but it must be on back order, coz I’ve yet to see it. I could’ve had so much fun with that… The fringe benefit of mounting the solar lights is it’s stopped the pelicans from sitting (& shitting) on the bow, something that gives me perverse pleasure!

We had Kim for dinner last night. She’s a neat lady. She raised the kittens. Alex was so happy to see her. It was adorable. Jack didn’t seem as engaged!

I think Alex is the more sensitive of the two. I was having a wee weep over Danny’s absence today and Alex came into my cabin and snuggled with me, doing that kneading thing kittens do, purring, meowing and being just so sweet. It made me feel better and I couldn’t help thinking how much Danny would’ve absolutely loved these kittens!

They’ve worked out they have cool as cat doors all around the yacht! The scuttles seem to be their favourite mode of getting in and out!

We watched a documentary called The Social Dilemma, about the effect of social media on us. It was disturbing, to say the least. Worth a watch. I found it more disturbing than A Private War, which really got under Bernie’s skin. He got pulled down by that and I actually felt bad. He’s missing his daughters. They’re not great at keeping in touch and that hurts, understandably. I told him he just has to keep trying because a) they’re teenage girls who see things in black and white and think it’s all about them most of the time, and b) they’ve got different lives they’re focusing on but will one day raise their heads from and see him there again, as long as he keeps trying. I hate seeing him sad. The same way he hates it when I’m having a melt down about Danny. But that’s our lives and the reality of it, so all we can do is support each other. It doesn’t really help, I guess, that my family are all so close and talk /message every day, or that Matt and I call each other every few days and talk for hours. It throws the lack of communication from his family into rather sharp relief.

I’ve had lovely talks with my nieces, Hannah and Kelly, in the last week or so. Both are doing so well, as are Suzie and Elsa, though I’ve not talked to them lately, just messaged. I’m very proud of all my nieces, and nephew, Sam. Such lovely young people they’re all growing into, navigating the trials of life in their own ways and with increasing maturity. ❤️ I’m going to do something a bit special for them all in the next few months. It’s a secret! Not telling yet! Matt has another wonderful idea, too, for when we both get back to NZ.

2030 on the 16th September. We’ve just come in from our usual Sundowners on the bow with the kittens. They’re getting very bold. Jack is an absolute greedy guts and I have to watch him like a hawk at dinner times. He eats five times as fast as Alex and will steal his food with zero compunction! Would you believe, I haven’t taken any pics of them today. 😉

I went into the marina at lunch time today to fill the water drums and collect the laundry. But I met up with Steph, from Arena, and we went for lunch together. Nice girl time. She’s such a honey. I really hope they get to NZ next year too. They’d Canadian and want to emigrate.

Yesterday afternoon I took the dingy out to the heads, then went in with snorkeling gear, towing the dingy, and snorkeled my way back. It was nice to get the exercise and cool off, though the water is almost at air temperature, but the sea life is so disappointing here. The impact of the hugely increased human population is so evident. No fish, no sea plants, zip. Pour visibility, a grey sludge over everything. Amazing, when 80nm away at San Marcos island the wild life is abundant. But no one there. Remote. Just incredible. I want to go back.

My back is giving me gyp at the moment, not sure why really. My beds too hard but not enough to cause this much grief I wouldn’t have thought. Oh well. I’m looking forward to getting my fancy topper mattress though. The kittens had me up on deck for sunrise this morning. It was a good opportunity to ring Johan too. We haven’t caught up for a while and it was great to hear his news. I’m so happy for him that his new job is going well.

Marina San Carlos

04.09.20

We’ve been here a week already and I did say I’d fill in the gaps! First, though, Brett sent some more photos of my taonga which I’ll put in. It’s very beautiful and thoughtfully made. I will certainly treasure it.

Since arriving in San Carlos Harbour, Bernie has got on with his next translation job and we’ve started on a few maintenance things. We’re preparing for the Pacific crossing next year. We’ve ordered bits and pieces online and getting them brought down from the USA by a lady, Debbie, who does that a lot for cruisers. I’ve ordered a mattress topper as I find this bed too hard and my back complains. It was damned expensive but at least I know it’s a good one. The couple on the yacht Kyrie have one and let me try it! Bernie’s ordered a new battery charger. We’ve also taken the stanchion footings into Guaymas to get strengthened and if the guy seems to do a good job we’ll get him to make a couple of new ones as well.

We did take the dingy out the harbour mouth to snorkel around a big rock there. It wasn’t amazing snorkeling but was nice to freshen up in the cooler sea. We saw some as yet unidentified birds.

We’ve been pretty social, spending time with Arena, Kyrie and meeting a few “locals”. Kim, on The Cure, who has the kittens, is mending our dingy cover. Hopefully.

Did I mention we are adopting two kittens? They’re tortishell males which isn’t common. It was Bernie’s idea and I totally second it! I tidied out a kitten zone for them today, in my cabin!

5th – Jamie and Steph have gone into Guaymas and messaged they’d get litter and food for the kittens. So we might be able to get them today. Super exciting. I only have a photo of one at the moment since they were hiding when we visited Kim yesterday.

We watched the French movie The Intouchables last night. I’ve seen it before and I was pretty sure Bernie would love it. The deckie was right again. We both laughed our way through it. Such an awesome film. Last time I watched was with Matt and Danny at Christmas and I fell asleep with my head on Danny’s lap.

We talk a lot. The weirdest things, or thoughts, provoke long philosophical discussions, which I love. Bernie has a very wonderful way of seeing the world, partly because of his historical education, partly their life of sailing and partly because he’s one of the most self questioning and introspective people I’ve met. He has better insight into himself than most of us achieve, and with humility. I very much appreciate it. Its good for me too, when my less tolerant side wants a say! The meditation, while not quite as routine as we hoped, is going well. I enjoy it and Bernie has helped me learn to settle into it. I was really struggling with the concept but he’s explained it in a way that makes sense. We go and sit on the cabin roof, get the air on our faces and feel the sea beneath us, close our eyes and tune into our (not quite) daily lesson!

I’ve been slowly going through all the cupboards, cleaning things out and generally making Momo easy for me to operate in. I wasn’t sure about doing this at first, because she’s not my boat, but Bernie gave me the go ahead since he wants me to stay. We’re quite different in how we approach things. I’m a neat freak and very methodical, but do know how to pick my battles! Bernie leaves stuff all over the show and manages to lose incredible amounts of stuff on 13.3m of yacht! I get endless amusement from watching him look for things. He’s huffing and sighing, going “oh god” in his lovely Canadian accent, and I’ll say “lost something”? knowing damned well he has. 9/10 I can either see it from my seat or can tell him exactly where I last saw it! So I guess the deck/nurse has her uses! I’m usually rewarded with a sheepish grin.

We’ve both had messages from Michelle and Bernie had a long chat with her yesterday. She and the girls really like Dunedin, which is great, and her literary endeavors sound wonderful. She’s a very clever girl! I think it’s so good they’re still close friends because it means they can talk over things about their daughters and parent together still. I wish I’d had that level of support. Bernie set up financial support as a matter of course, he’d never not do that, whereas I had to beg and fight for every little thing. So unnecessarily exhausting. Still, it’s all in the past and not worth thinking about, except as context.

It is very hot. We literally drip! I’ve washed all the seat covers and we’ve got towels on them now. Easier to clean those! Sheets are not needed at night, only to ly on, and even then you feel wet! I can’t say I mind. I’d so much rather be hot than cold. Though I’m also glad we’re not labouring physically in this heat. The light grey shade cloth strung above the boom makes a huge difference and every little breeze is appreciated! We have fans too. I’m glad a brought a stack of surgical sponges with me as they make great mop cloths. Yeah, I know, gross!

9th – The kittens have been here four days now and have settled in beautifully. They’d never been outside so their first two ventures on deck with us were interesting. It was a mixture of abject terror and ‘eyes on stalks’ intrigued. The great side effect was they suddenly put us in the “good guys” zone, realising we’d save them from any Mexican equivalent of the Loch Ness monster!

11th – I’ve had nice long chats with everyone back home over the last few days, as it was Pip’s birthday on the 9th and Lucy’s is today. Also Mum and Dad’s wedding anniversary is the 9th, this year 59 years. Wow! Matt has rung a couple of times for long catch ups. I miss my big son so much.

Bernie and I went with Kim (off the Cure) into Guaymas yesterday. Got things for Momo and the cats, and passport photos for Bernie. Unfortunately they aren’t the river size, when he got back and checked the Canadian requirements. So we’ll have to try again. We also started putting the stanchion bases back on, a messy job. The guy, Luis, who fixed them did a good job.

I’ve started doing Spanish on Duolingo, which is fun. At least I can do greetings and basic stuff like that now! We’re going to be here a while so I figured I should at least give it a shot!

Kim told us about the cartels and their influence in this area. Apparently their families traditionally live or holiday here so there was a bit of a no go zone for killing each other, but the truce broke down recently and they’ve been murdering the police and each other again. Bit scary. I have no desire to get caught in their cross fire. The quicker we get our maintenance done and foxtrot oscar, the happier I’ll be.

The kittens have worked out how to get up on deck and back in my cabin scuttle, jumping down onto my bed. They’re so small it scares me that they’ll try to jump through the hatches. But so far they’ve decided it’s too high. Thank goodness.

I’ve just worked out what the hell WordPress does with my photos. It automatically crops them. So maddening. I have to deselect “crop” every time. Still, at least o know now.

Isla San Marcos to San Carlos.

02.09.20

Our faith in Windy App is a bit shakey just now! Either there is a ton of local anomaly or they just get it wrong all the time. Whichever, the wind we’re expecting seems to be continually at variance with what actually is! So, as my captains in the Navy used to say “look out the window, sailor!”

I think it was the morning of the 28th, we got up to a strong NNW blowing us onto the lee shore of San Marcos island, the anchor pulled up tight. I said to Bernie “I don’t like this much” and got some sort of a grunt in reply as he was (again pretzeled) wedged on the nav station floor mending something. I went outside and started readying Momo for sea, not wanting us to be caught out not ready in a difficult spot. All the weather forecasting apps were giving different info, with Accuweather being least wrong!

Mid morning I went below and told Bernie I thought we should make tracks. The weather was looking increasing awful and I really do not like being blown towards rocks. Not healthy. He came topsides and decided I might have a point so he tidied up below and we lifted the pick around 11am, heading out on the engine. I took the helm and Bernie got the sails up but there really was little wind, bizarrely, once we got out into open water, though the sea was rough and confused. Another plug for lots of variance in local weather in this area. Mon capitaine (I might’ve mentioned he only likes to sail!) bemoaned the engine noise and suggested we turn it off, to which I replied it was up to him but I wouldn’t just yet! There wasn’t really wind in said sails and we were still not clear of the island which boasts grand rocky outcrops just begging over confident sailors to get too close! We kept motoring.

Initially the waves were quite big and coming from two directions, so not wildly comfortable, but once we cleared San Marcos and were heading east of Isla Tortuga, the sea was less confused and there was a decent breeze from the ESE. Bernie happily turned off the engine and we were sailing close hauled nicely on the auto helm. It was mostly overcast and we’d even got a solid, though short, bit of rain which freshened up Momo and ourselves. Bernie forgot to shut one scuttle in his cabin, though, and his bed got totally drowned. Luckily the couch in the saloon is also a comfy bed!

We sat together on deck for a long time, yarning, then Bernie went to kip and I stayed up till about 2100,when he took over watch. Having expected  20+ knot winds, we ended up having a lovely sail all night, with mostly 10-15 knots, sometimes even a bit less. I took watch from 0100 to 0500,then had a wee sleep before we stayed up together again as we approached the Eastern coast of the Mexican mainland. And very spectacular it was.

The closer we got, the more inspired by the rugged mountainous coastline we were. There was some debate about where we would be rounding into harbour. The deckhand was right 😜!!

Thursday 3rd September @2100

I’ll go back to fill the gaps but I have stuff I want to get off my mind.                

Today was a pretty good day but ended in a rush of emotion I should’ve been prepared for.

We had an easy start with Bernie making crepes for breakfast, then we both worked online till lunchtime. Around 1530 we went ashore to go see a yacht which is looking for homes for kittens. We’ve discussed having a Momo cat and both of us are keen. Of course, we’re both soft as, so I was pretty sure once we saw them we’d end up wanting one! Turns out the two male tortishells (yes, I know that’s rare – so cool) are super close mates so naturally that’s what we want most. There’s really been almost no discussion about the wisdom of this move. I’m pretty sure we’ll just do it! We’ve been researching (well, Bernie has coz he’s like Matt and is the research guru while I just go “sounds awesome”) boat Cat bed /litter systems. It’s a thing – who knew. I have a feeling you’ll get photos before long. Of the new kids 😜

After that exciting interlude, we used the fresh water shore showers, not an everyday luxury we’re making the most of courtesy of Arena (they’re regalvanising their anchor cable so have to be on a berth).

Then went to have a few bevvies on Arena with Steph and Jamie. Had a great time but then I got a text from Brett saying he’d just done the marae visit on my behalf, receiving the taonga from Hope’s family.

I don’t know why it threw me but I did rather lose the plot. I knew it was on the 4th but its the 3rd here and I just hadn’t quite factored that in. I’m not sure if I explained before but Hope (the girl who killed my Danny) has an uncle who is a respected carver of Maori Taonga (treasure, things of value, usually culturally). He offered to make a piece to represent Danny and be a memorial. I so badly wanted to be there to receive it myself but can’t be. And I wouldn’t want to rush him in making something so special, to get it done before I left NZ. So my very dear friends Brett and Raewyn stood in for me. However Raewyn wasn’t well so Brett went on his own. I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures.

I’ve talked to Raewyn and Fizz since then and feel much better. Bernie’s gone to bed but I’m sitting on the bow. My brain is still wide awake. I’m listening to country music, missing my boys but in a better place. Fuck it’s tough, this road to learning life without Danny.

Steph and Jamie are just a gorgeous couple. They’re so kind, generous and I’m really happy they’re here with us. They have four adorable kids who are learning life in the most amazing way, just like Bernie and Michelle did for their girls. Ada is their oldest daughter at 14, then Riley at 12, Bronwyn is 10 and their only son, Lachlan, I think is 6. Steph is a nurse too, so we can swap notes! Then there’s the other yachts we’ve been anchored near the last few weeks. Utopia are an Aussie family (yay, cuzzies!) of Andrew and Karen with three of their four kids on board. Tristan is 19, Max is 17 and reminds me of Danny (he is who he is and adorable with it) and Ava, their gorgeous little sis! Love & Luck (Mark and Julie) I think have three kids and I haven’t spent enough time with them to get it all sorted out! Pretty sure it’s Fenton, Lucy and Heidi, but I’ve never been great at getting it right straight off!

Since I’m being all open and honest with rum on the bow by myself, I might as well state that I reckon Bernie and I have a good chance of making a great team going forward. Apparently he told Michelle that already, before I even knew he was thinking it! I arrived here originally after Danny died, not even knowing they had irreconcilable differences. I was simply crew. I came back in a similar mind set but have come to realise things are quite different. We have talked a lot and though it’s early days, we do get on well and are good, caring shipmates. That’s enough for now. I appreciate Michelle and the girls coming to Danny’s funeral very much. I think it would be wonderful if we could all be supportive of each other in our lives, though the dynamics might have changed more than I ever envisaged. God knows I realise life can change on a dime.

In a way its similar to the changed relationship between Richard and Sarah, and I. Danny’s death has brought us all together in way that would not have happened otherwise. I mean, I’ve always tried to work in with them, but it’s not entirely been reciprocated. But losing a child has a way of stripping away those petty games. For the first time ever I feel they’ve recognised I gave my every atom of my heart and being to my boys. I love them so very much and this has taken the pieces of my life apart and I don’t know how to put it back together. But I will. For Matt. For everyone else I love. For life, because we’re lucky to have it.

EIGHT MONTHS OF COPING STRATEGIES

Since Danny died I’ve been reading quite a bit on the psychology of grief and resilience. No doubt that is unsurprising and a normal, healthy way to deal with the events of the last eight months.

Among my favourite (or perhaps, most helpful) authors are New Zealander, Lucy Hone, and American, Mark Manson. Lucy is a consummate professional and acknowledged expert in resilience, and also has lost a child to a car accident. She talks us through her experience and coping strategy in her book “What Abi taught us”.

Mark is harder to describe; a blogger, writer, has studied psychology and philosophy, and has a unique way of putting things. Blunt, could be one way of describing him. He has a take no prisoners, harden up attitude, tempered with down to earth common sense, which appeals to me.

Both allude to various exercises one can do to test our view point or help us strategise how to cope with difficult life events. I’ve done a few of them. Mostly, I’ve felt I haven’t needed to, but it’s a good way to check I’m not feeling too much of a know it all health professional! After all, just because nurses deal with a fair bit of trauma and death, doesn’t mean we should cope any more easily than anyone else when things happen to us. It’s one thing to know recommended coping strategies but not necessarily so simple to take one’s own advice.

Anyway, almost all the authors I’ve read, at some point, urge some version of the WHY Game. And, of course, the point of it is to make one examine the roots of our feelings and values. They’re not talking about the superficial bullshit we’d rather focus on, like “Why am I happy?”… “because I’m eating ice cream”. No. They want the Why question to lead to a whole scary bunch of other questions that force you to focus on the next step, and the next one after that.

For example. “Why am I feeling my life has lost its joy and meaning”?           “Because my son was killed in a car accident due to someone else’s mistake”. “Can you change the outcome”? “No”. “What can you influence”? “I can only influence how I react to it”. “How do you want to do that”? “I think I need to try to redirect my anger at the unfairness of his loss, towards ensuring the offender doesn’t do it to another family”. “Would Danny want you to feel sad all the time, angry or without direction”? “No, I know he wouldn’t. He would want us to find happiness again, continue with our plans and look after each other”. “Are you able to do this? How are you going to do this? Do you need help to do this?”

And so it goes on. I quite like this exercise because it keeps me honest. If I start to fall off the wagon, so to speak, to let anger and thoughts of revenge pop up, or thoughts that life isn’t worth living without my son in it, or that I don’t want to travel /get my yacht masters…. any of these things, it gets me back on track to ask myself to rationalise my wishes going forward. It works every time.

Naturally, every time I do any exercise designed to help me find a way to live life without Danny in it, the process always brings me back to Matt. I was the mother of two sons. In a way I always will be but the reality is I only have one living, breathing and very precious son. As Matt so poignantly said “We don’t want to do life without you, Danny”. Yet, we must. And, for me, part of coping is being thankful for my wonderful older son. He is a truly beautiful human; intelligent, hard working, loving, full of humour, giving and helpful, family and friends oriented, a joy to me in every way. So my focus, going forward, is to help him live a joyful life. We will make new memories and treasure the old ones.

Part of the idea of questioning one’s feelings and digging into them, is to identify what drives you, what you want to stand for, find your defining values. It can be easy enough to do this but working out if they’re good values to live by requires more self awareness than and honesty than we might like! Some of the values I try to live by are honesty, vulnerability, standing up for myself and others, respect for myself and others and not being judgemental.

I’d never thought about it until I read his book, but Mark Manson says good values are reality-based, socially constructive and immediate and controllable. Also that bad values are superstitious, socially destructive and not immediate or controllable (eg: dominance through manipulation or violence, being narcissistic, wanting to be rich, or pleasure seeking). That simple definition makes it easy to see where you might be heading wrong!

In the end, it’s all about picking your battles! Matt might laugh at this, because it’s something I’ve always said, and tried to do! I even asked him once how he dealt with some of the things a certain girlfriend did, and he replied “you taught me that, Mum. I pick my battles”! How I laughed. But it also have me a wee rush of pleasure to think I’d done a good job of parenting!

So, pick your battles, choose how you respond to various life events, take responsibility for how you react. In all things, at all times. It’s amazing how empowering that is. Choosing to focus on using the justice system we have in New Zealand for youth offenders to try and ensure Hope (the girl who killed my son) never repeated her mistakes and hurt another family like she hurt me and mine, was my way of redirecting my anger into a more useful channel.

Although I entered into this with a dose of scepticism, feeling nothing but jail could come close to justice for my son’s death, I knew she was unlikely to get a custodial sentence. I did have a moment of ranting and crying at the poor policewoman who told me that, about the unfairness of it all, but she encouraged me to engage in the process, saying she was sure it would help me find some peace. She was right and I thank her daily. I made a conscious decision to use the family group conference as a tool to change Hope’s attitude to life, to see if I could get across the huge price we were paying for her poor choices. Instead of ranting at her and abusing her, I tried to project encouragement to change, to use her life in a better way, to be thankful for her life and opportunities.

And, miraculously, in trying to help her, I helped myself. She and her family not only accepted responsibility for her actions that resulted in Danny’s death, but acknowledged the gift of my understanding (Forgiveness might be a bit of a stretch still) and thanked me for sharing our feelings with them, and for making Danny a real person to them, instead of just a name on the legal documents. For myself, I felt a sense of justice I hadn’t expected and did indeed find some peace in the knowledge that she took responsibility and was genuinely remorseful and wanted to change.

Friday 21st August 2020

I’ve been on Momo for over a month now. Bernie keeps asking me if I’m bored yet, lol. Not going to happen. Anyone who knows me at all well, knows I don’t get bored!

I’ve got three books on the go, do most of the cooking, all the laundry, can swim and snorkel as much as I like, do whatever maintenance stuff I’m in the mood for, do nursing education and listen to podcasts or music, write, take the dingy off somewhere – no, I don’t get bored. Bernie and I have started a little meditation routine too, in the morning after our coffee. I’m quite liking that.

We talk a lot too. Bernie is so knowledgeable about so many things. I’m too lazy to do research like he does. Hashtag Matt! I work on a need to know basis! He’s always educating himself! We’re both pretty liberally minded and non judgemental, on the same page about a lot of things, but also totally comfortable with our differences. I find it refreshing that he doesn’t try to bend me to his way of thinking or will.

We’ve been watching the weather closely the last few days, as we had hurricane Genevieve on the warpath. But it’s moved offshore to the north west, and we didn’t even get too much wind in the end. The gusts were maybe 40 knots. The visibility for spear fishing isn’t that good though. The swell courtesy of the hurricane has stirred things up.

Bernie’s been working hard out on his book, trying to get the translation finished. I’m trying not to interrupt! This morning I went snorkeling with Andrew, off Utopia, and he showed me a stone fish. Ugly things and scarily hard to see. If you stand on one the poison can kill you, or at best, be excruciatingly painful. Just reinforces my opinion that I should be on top of the sea, not under it (except with dive tanks!). I wish I had an underwater camera though. The sea life is amazing. I saw a crazy looking puffer fish today and some incredible starfish. There’s also loads of Cortez Round Stingrays, unique to this area. And the kinna are ginormous – up to 10 inches across. For those Kiwis reading this who know how the snapper go crazy for kinna at home, they don’t here! I tried. Very disappointing!

We skinny dipped last night, after returning from an evening on Utopia. There is so much bioluminescence in the water and we just had to experience that. Your whole body lights up. It really is spectacular.

22.08.20: An awesome day today. Bernie and I decided to go fishing since the visibility has improved a bit, though the water is still green. Apparently the bioluminescence has gone for now. It’ll be back no doubt.

Anyway, we (Bernie really) hunted until we had enough fish for us and the Vanninis on Love & Luck, who are anchored next to us. They’re a family of 6, so it must take some feeding! I did take the gun at one point but the fish I had in my sights was such a good one I didn’t want to mess up and miss! So I let Bernie take it! Also my fish recognition skills need to improve. I don’t want to take things that aren’t good eating or are on the endangered list. We have a great local website with heaps of pertinent information.

There’s a mother gull, similar to our Dominican gulls, with two young, who watch the filleting avidly, and scrap over the leftovers!

There’s lots of pelicans here, also boobys and frigate birds. Not much on land but the sea certainly supports an abundant variety of wildlife.

One good thing about the hurricane having gone past, it’s a bit cooler. Only 32 degrees today and last night I even had to put my sheet over me, as it dipped to 27°! Have I mentioned that in these hot climates all my menopause symptoms disappear? It’s great. No more hot flushes. So weird. And my body hair stops growing, or slows right down, which means I shave about once a month! It is quite bizarre but I’ll take the wins!

Bernie speared a small relative to tuna right under the boat this evening so I’ll turn it into a spicy coconut recipe I like for tomorrow’s dinner. It needs a gamey fish to go with that sauce. We’re out of fresh produce and I traded the fish we caught for an onion earlier, with Julie (Love & Luck) so at least I have something to put in a sauce! We’ll go across to Santa Rosalia on Monday for groceries. We’ve only spent 250 pesos in a month, so can’t complain.

26.08.20

We’ve had an eventful few days, and productive. Bernie had finished the book and sent off the translation so we could get on with other things. We had to go into Santa Rosalia for groceries and it was a crazy hot day on Monday. We left San Marcos early but it was getting on for midday when we arrived. Andrew and Tristan were there so we had lunch with them before heading to the supermarket. Bernie was really feeling the heat but we eventually got it done and collapsed in wet puddles back on Momo. I found a salsa with Danny’s name on it!

Tuesday was better as we went ashore early to explore a bit. I wasn’t that inspired by Santa Rosalia; it’s pretty dirty and smelly, especially the marina area. The town itself has some interesting buildings and a lot of history. There’s even a church designed by Msr. Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame! I bought all the masks I could in the pharmacy and new sun screen. Then we had lunch before grabbing a few more groceries and returning to Momo.

We headed out, expecting to motor back to San Marcos island but the engine died. Andrew and Mark, off Utopia and Love & Luck, rescued us. I’d write a lot more about this but am feeling a bit stressed right now, so maybe later. Boating, while great, is not always roses and rum.

27.08.20: Bernie’s diagnosis that it was the impellor was spot on and he spent yesterday pretzeled on the saloon floor fixing the engine. It’s fine now and running better than ever! No surprise when you see how bad it was.

I talked to Matt for ages yesterday too. It was so good to have a decent catch up. I miss him so much. It’s looking less and less likely I can go to France. Borders are closing as Covid-19 increases again across Europe. Matt and Meg have just attended the Awake concert in Croatia. Ben and Michael Gorman joined them, so it was nice for him to have time with his friends.

They think they’re going to get the virus as there were people there who’ve tested positive. So they’ve decided to stay in Croatia another week and make sure they’re not taking it with them. I want to go to see my boy. 😢🙏

We went snorkeling this afternoon, in a couple of different spots. Got 3 fish so Bernie is making cerviche and I’m making guacamole for our friends off Utopia and Love & Luck. We’re heading to San Carlos tomorrow pm with a view to sailing overnight and arriving mid morning.

Friends and Hunters

It’s the 16th, I believe! The days get lost in each other. I spent yesterday afternoon on Arena, with Steph, getting to know her. Such a honey. She’s a nurse also, her specialty being neurology, another theatre nurse!

While I was there the kids off all the yachts had congregated to make flowers for a memorial tribute to the 14 year old boy killed by another boat speeding through an anchorage while he was swimming. God, there’s some idiots out there. The 5 knot law around anchorages is there for a damned good reason.

Steph and I then followed them all out into the bay in the dinghies, and took photos and videos while they placed the flowers on the ocean and watched the tide spirit them away. It was a sweet and beautiful thing to do. Good young people. 💖

It gave Bernie a chance to get a lot of work done. I think he’s nearly finished the current project. After dinner, we sat on deck in the cooler night air, and were treated to a marvelous display from a large pod of dolphins. Wonderful.

Today, after morning coffee and meditation, we decided a fishing effort was required! Getting low! So we snorkeled near the point opposite the light house and Bernie got 6 fish. My awesome hunter! The spear gun really is efficient, I must say. I’m very impressed with it. He did get another fish but it got off the spear and before he could retrieve it, two moray eels got it! I wouldn’t argue with them either! As well as a stunning array of fish life, Bernie saw a turtle and I saw some skates. We both saw the sea lions!

Steph and Jamie are coming for dinner, to share our bounty of the ocean. The other epic hunter in the group is Tristan.