We spent a long afternoon and night travelling from Half Moon Bay to Monterey, a trip of about 90 miles inclusive of the southward portion and segments going offshore and then back. We left HMB dodging dozens of crab traps left in a seemingly random pattern exactly in our path any path we took. I thought crabs weren’t caught deeper than 100’ but at 200’ and many miles offshore we were still dodging traps.

About 8 miles out, the winds filled in at about 18k from the NW with two reefs in the sails, we headed downhill at 7knots. Wind waves were between 1-3 feet and swell seemed to be from the WNW at about seven feet.

We could never quite get comfortable, with the swell near the beam and the wind on the stern quarter we tried long tacks out then back to get the swell to be less on the beam. I usually don’t get sea sick, but on this part of the trip I felt queasy. As day turned to night and fog draped over us with it’s misty paws, the wind increased from 18-27 and as the waves got bigger  the mood on board became more sullen and wet.

The word Equinox derived from two Latin words for equal and night, so at about this time of year, most places on earth experience nights and days of equal time.  But on this journey, night seemed to be taking forever. At about 5AM in the gloom of night my imagination fantasized of the one day in infinity where the sun failed to rise.

It was impossible to stay warm while on watch. Three pairs of thick sox; three layers of pants, jeans, fleece and a water/wind resistant shell.  On top I had a high tech under-layer, a thick sweatshirt and a Gore-Tex wind/water proof shell.  A ski mask and wool hat filled out the odd Haute couture. It was a very long night for the two of us.

morningBut eventually the sun did rise and the wind calmed and even through the fog the sun was a welcome sight.

In Portland there is an organized relay run every year called the hood to coast. Twelve person teams in two vans set out from Timberline Lodge at 6000 feet on Mt Hood to run to the Pacific ocean, about 180 miles. Each person ends up running three five-six mile segments through the approximately 24 hours it takes to complete the journey.   People from all over the country come to Portland to run or compete.  Most come to have fun, some teams compete. There are about 200 teams each year, thats over 2000 people. I’ve done the race three times, and each time I swear that I will never do it again. The vans are cramped, sometimes you learn a lot more about people  then you want. There is little sleep. It’s dangerous running along roads in the wee hours. But every time I’ve been invited, I do it again. Why? Because I forget what it was like. I don’t remember the bad parts, just the fun parts. The exilleration of competing in something big, personal accomplishment, making new friends, and reaquainting with old ones. I’d heard this phenomenon described as frog memory. Frogs eat flies. Flies are dirty, ugly creatures. If frogs had long memories would they ever eat flies a second time?  The trip down the coast was quickly forgotten.

By the time we reached the marina in Monterey, had decided to stay a week, had registered at the Marina office and gone for a short bike ride – the trip down the coast didn’t seem so bad to me (I can’t really speak for Judy). The sun was out, it felt hot. Seals and sea otters were swimming through the marina munching on sea creatures smaller than they.  We were exhausted, but happy.  The showers were long, hot and comfortable.

The boat’s needs to be cleaned, the radar needs some work, the new kayak is just waiting for someone to inflate it and head out into Monterey Bay, the Monterey Bay aquarium is waiting for a visit from us and the long flat paved bike trail from the marina to Carmel is calling our name. Life is good, I’m glad I have the memory of a frog.