I hope this post finds you all happy, healthy and enjoying life as best as you can. I think it’s the first day of Autumn, so enjoy!
I’m sitting here in La Paz, thinking about this morning’s weather forecast: rain, heavy at times, for a total of 1-2″ by tomorrow, clearing tomorrow afternoon. I took my long walk this morning, getting it out of the way before the rain hit. It’s now 1630, and there’s not a cloud in the sky. Anywhere. It’s pretty incredible, actually: warm, very light southwest breeze, and the promise of a bright moonrise once evening falls. Just goes to show ya, pay attention to predictions, plan for their forecast, but always leave room for Plan B. For me, today’s Plan B was making the decision for the next number of months. I’m so fortunate to have the ability to try these things, acknowledging completely how many people can’t.
For me, the next few months involves getting Willow ready to cross half of the Pacific to Hawaii. For some of you, I can imagine the eye-rolling why-wouldja-wanna-do-that; some of you could be pretty excited for me; and some of you probably want to have my head examined. Well, that’s been done, at one point extensively and literally, and no one can really explain me, especially me. I’ve sailed from Hawaii back to the continent, and now really want to sail the other way. It’s where I first saw Willow, nee Miladi, and knew she was for me. Additionally, I have been enamored by outrigger canoe paddling after spending years watching Dana Outrigger paddle the harbor where first Samgeo, then Zapatito, and finally Willow rested while I worked. I watched those paddlers, wondering if I could ever do that, and being quite envious. Once I got Willow to Avalon and was working there, a group of nine of us trained for the US Championships, a race from Newport Beach to Avalon. Needless to say, my apetite was whetted for more, and I got that after arriving in Ventura. I saw a poster up in the local Starbucks advertising Hokuloa Outrigger Canoe Club. The particular time I saw that poster found me in a serious funk after mentor and very good friend John Callahan died unexpectedly, with my former recent boyfriend following three weeks later. Joining that club changed my life.
The ‘ohana’ this club showed to me was phenomenal, and none of them knew me or my story from Adam. Even more, we put together a pretty good old ladies’ team, and took trinkets home from just about every race we entered. Whoo-ee, I’m hooked! I fell in love with my team mates, the physicality of the sport, the connection with the ocean, the strength required, the rhythm of the stroke (or stoke?), and the necessity for us all to work together to move this heavy, ocean-going craft across the sea. We all were doing it for fun, but the early Pacific Islanders knew outrigger canoes as we know our automobiles, baseball, and ipods. I want to learn more, want to paddle where they paddled, sail where they paddled, and stay connected with the ocean. The solution? Sail to Hawaii!
I love Mexico! The locals have such a gracious hospitality, giving to you whatever they can for nothing more than a smile. I’ve slaughtered their language to their delight and laughter. I’ve spent time in some of their large coastal cities like La Paz and Mazatlan, and sailed to some really quaint small working towns like Tembabeche, Agua Verde, San Evaristo and Santa Rosalia. Everywhere I’ve gone, the scenery has been stark, amazing, beautiful and awe-inspiring. And I have nothing less to say about their people. I find the time has come to move along and explore new places for me, give my space to a new adventurer.
I’m doing my homework with pilot charts and world routing books, learning the best times to make a trip like this. The tricky part is coinciding the best routing weather to the greatest outrigger races in the islands, and then giving me the opportunity to sail back to the continental US in safe weather. Where in the US, or even Canada I haven’t decided yet, relying on the best times for the appropriate destinations and weather to dictate my movements.
What the heck does all of this mean? I wanna sail to Hawaii, paddle an outrigger race, and then come back knowing safe spots to keep a boat in Hawaii are scarce. The best, absolutely best part? I’m dedicating this passage and subsequent race to the organization known as “Oceans of Hope.” In a nutshell, this non-profit asks participants to gather donations to support The Sarcoma Alliance, which helps people get second opinions for support in dealing with this uncommon killer. I’ll have more details about this, and another webpage, as I move along in the realization of these goals.
Even more, I’m hoping we can get together a group of paddlers from my favorite ohana of Hokuloa to meet me at the race location so I can move another ocean-going craft in Hawaiian waters, this time with my favorite people with me. As I suss all of this out, fellow paddlers, think about it. Family members, think about a nice trip to the islands. And those who can’t join me, consider helping me along by contributing to this cause, Oceans of Hope. Committing to this organization helps me wipe away any doubts I have whenever I untie my docklines. My boat, she’s a good and seaworthy one. My skills, they’re sharp and competent. My doubts, they’re always my worst enemy. Help me along the way, won’t you?