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.