June 14, 2001
At Sea, 29° 14’  115° 48.4’

Night Watch in Baja
By Lois Joy           

To come on watch this night, I donned my navy Pacific Bliss fleece-lined jacket and fastened my red fleece cap under my chin, adding extra protection on top of the sweat pants and fleece top I was already wearing.  We are now well beyond the tropics at latitude 29, and one can feel the effects of the cold California Current, especially during the prevalent NW winds.  Those winds have calmed down to 7 knots, however, from the 15 knots we had experienced earlier as we motored west of Isla Navidad and Cedros islands, on our way north from our last anchorage, Turtle Bay. If the weather holds up as forecasted, we plan to make the last 340 miles to San Diego in three days and two nights.

As I climb up to the starboard helm, my eyes strain to see anything in the nothingness of the night. No moon. No stars.  No horizon. Just a black, inky void. I am thankful for presence of our comforting Furuno radar system.  With this moisture-laden air, I expect low visibility.    Using the radar, I can check the distance and direction if I ever spot the lights of an oncoming freighter, shining dimly through the void.

I settle into the gently rocking motion of Pacific Bliss, thankful that her crew-Bix, Gunter and I, has been spared the unmerciful pounding characteristic of the Baja Bash.

There is plenty of time to think out here. My mind wanders to friends and family. I wonder what it will be like to see them again after nine months.  I have missed them dearly. Our grandchildren will be nine months older-a “sea” change.  But how about the adults? Voyage 1 has been a life-altering experience for Gunter and me.  We have changed.  Have they?  How will they and we interact?

What will it be like living in our Mission Bay condo again, with all its modern conveniences?  Will I automatically conserve water when I fill the sink or take a shower?  Will I never again leave on an unnecessary light? Will the bombardment of news-radio, TV, and newspapers, explode and grate onto my cruise-mellowed senses?  I expect that I will click off the TV talking heads much sooner now! 

Will I long to be “out here” again, or will I relish the benefits of civilization?   Will I continue to be one place, longing for the other, when I am back on land?

My thoughts turn to the first morning we’ll spend in our favorite little corner of San Diego, Pacific Plaza. I look forward to sitting on the patio among the flowers at the corner Starbucks there, sipping a cup of the best cappuccino in the world. Next, we’ll talk with our friends in that corner of the world: Sophia and Len, at the jewelry store, and Maria, whose hairdressing services I sorely need! Perhaps then we’ll “provision” for our condo at the local Von’s, going crazy with all the U.S. brand goods. Then it’s lunch at the flower-laden 976 or “Japanese” at Ichiban’s.  One thing is certain: I know that I will appreciate these little proven corners of the world all the more and look at them with new eyes.








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