The water is always bluer on the other side of the pond
“My world is blue” says the old song, and as I sit in the Tuamotus on my sailboat, I think of the many shades of blue that have colored my world in the two years I have been cruising.
We left Seattle on June 1, 1999 and sailed first around Vancouver Island. Our “shakedown” cruise went wonderfully, and all our boat systems performed well. We even finished installing some of them on the way around the island. But finishing projects is not what I remember most. What I remember is the people and the places, and the two are inseparable. I remember Bob, and Diane and Ron in Sydney, dreaming of doing what we were just starting to do. We encouraged them and received back not only the gift of friendship, but Tupperware containers, offered as we pulled away toward the cold, dark blue waters of the North. Those containers now hold snack food for the on-watch, and I can’t get out a granola bar without thinking of Vida de Oro.
In Desolation Sound we met Alan and Trish. We spent 3 days cruising with them; under a midnight sky we played Sorry! on their boat. Back in Seattle we added Sorry! to our game cupboard, and we think of Alan and Trish each time we get it out.
As summer turned to fall, Guy and I made our first offshore passage together; deep blue water and baby blue skies color my San Francisco memories as we celebrated another milestone in the cruise.
San Diego is bright blue spring skies. It is Mike and Michelle, our sister ship on the same dock, who took us to their cozy little yacht club for dinner. It is the sapphire blue of the “blue bomb” in which Chris drove us all over San Diego for parts for projects, just because he wanted to. It’s the royal blue stripe on Tawodi, where we ate pizza with Stephen and watched movies in the boatyard at night when we were tired from working.
La Paz, where the wind blows and the currents swirl, is a paradox. It’s the murky blue of a boat aground on an uncharted shoal. It’s the muddy blue confusion of a language and culture we couldn’t understand yet. It’s the clear, chlorine blue of the swimming pool where we frolicked with Greg, Maria, Trae, and Stephen, celebrating being together again. The clarity of the pool matches the clarity of the relationships and we floated, serene, under the blue Mexican sky.
Farther north in the Sea of Cortez the water and relationships deepen to turquoise blue. I dive in, escaping the heat for hours in the underworld of electric blue fish, surfacing to the smoke blue of evening skies and the haze of uncertainty in relationships. As the sun sets and the autumn sky turns slate we rest, firm in our commitments to life, to cruising, and to each other.
Mazatlan. Mazatlan is the royal blue stripe of Tawodi, again. It’s the navy blue adrenaline of sailing the J44 Wild Type fast up the waterfront and through the harbor, because we can. It’s denim blue, wrapping around me like my worn shirt on cool winter nights, and like the arms of friends as we explored together geographical and emotional landscapes we had never visited.
The Pacific Ocean is 24 days of cobalt blue, stretching endlessly on. Sometimes, when the angle was right, I would see streaks of sapphire, denim, smoke, or navy, then the light would shift carrying memories away on white capped cobalt waves. In the translucent waters of the South Pacific I float above the reef where neon blue fish swim in patches of coral. It strikes me that from the surface the reef, like the relationships I dwell on, is a hazard to navigation to be carefully avoided.
Yet if I submerge myself both the relationships and the reef transform themselves into a beautiful living being more colorful than I can ever imagine. In the aqua waters of the South Pacific I float above the reef of life that is mine to explore. Though I dabble in the shallows now, I know that somewhere near this reef my life will turn, once again, a deeper shade of blue. I catch my breath, and dive.