October 10, 2010

Giving Thanks

I woke to a cool Thanksgiving morning. The blanket that found its way on to our bed last week and the onset of the northerly winds make it clear that summer is over. With the lightest hurricane season in recorded history almost over (and the water temps becoming too cool to sustain any that may still form) I realized there's nothing still holding us in the northern sea.

Of course there are the anchorages we never made it too, and the people we never really got to know, but there will always be those things. More than any other departure so far, this is the easiest. The summer did what we needed it too. We rested up after the years of getting the boat ready, we tackled some of the niggling chores (still loads to do though) and most of all we found our rhythm of cruising as a family.

Last year for Thanksgiving we had just arrived in San Francisco. Our dear friends Mark and Val came to spend the chilly weekend with us, but we couldn't take them sailing. The boat was battered (the mast was waiting to be re-rigged) I was unsure about whether I even wanted to go cruising and Evan was just trying to make it all work.

All of that seems like a lifetime ago now.
Maia has changed the most this year. I thought about this while she helped prepare the boat for getting underway this morning and then went below to cook breakfast while Evan and I pulled up the anchor and headed out. All children grow up. And maybe it's simply the kids I'm spending time with, but cruising kids seem to grow into themselves quite gracefully out here.

We're sailing toward our last Baja-side anchorage. We've been dodging pods of whales almost constantly for the past four hours. The last was a mixed pod of about 30 adult and juvenile sperm whales. I've been trying to make Maia understand the wonder of this. But in the past year of her life she's seen more whales than we can count. There have been orcas, humpbacks, greys, fins, pilots, sperm and minkes-often only a boat length or two from our boat.

The last sperm whale we passed exhaled rank whale breath all over our boat before diving.
Maia failed to see the magic in the moment. But maybe, just maybe, having to tack and change course over and over, just to work our way through an ocean thick with whales will be one of the stores that carries her to adulthood and beyond.

We're sailing slowly, in light wind, under a cloudless sky. We have a special Thanksgiving dinner planned for our anchorage and a final bottle of wine chilling in the fridge. Maia has decorated cookies and is busy making a centrepiece for the table. Evan has given himself a day off from boat chores. We each, in our own way, are celebrating today:
A departure
A voyage
A year of wonder and beauty
The strengthening of our family
The widening of our circle of friends
All we have done
All we are yet to do
The beautifully oppressive smell of decaying fish

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Tina said...

Good luck on your next leg of your journey. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family .Tina and the boys!

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Sounds like a lovely holiday was had by the whole family. What a wondrous year you have had-here's to many more....

Diane, Evan, Maia and Charlie the cat said...

Thanks for the lovely notes--much appreciated!