Finally Saying Goodbye
It’s been several months since we’ve left home and waved goodbye to our family and friends. The days are flying by, faster than they ever have before… The last few months before leaving were a mad dash to get Agape ready for cruising. We were burnt out and exhausted after a 45 day refit in the boat yard, working 10-12 hour days, then we still had to provision the boat and make time to say goodbye to our family and friends. I don’t think we’ve ever been so physically, mentally and emotionally spent.
I had been trying to prepare myself for the emotional aspect of leaving, but the last two months at home there was little space in our lives to process all that was happening. When the day came, and our family and friends waved us off, my heart was so overwhelmed with emotions. Six years of dreaming, planning, working and saving had finally culminated to this one moment and it all seemed so surreal. We were standing on our boat, looking up at the ones we love most and were waving goodbye, for who knows how long…
Leaving to go cruising was all we had wanted the last six years. We had dreamed of that moment for so long, to finally push off the dock and head south to warmer waters, but I didn’t realize saying goodbye was going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. We were looking forward to slowing down and enjoying each others company, to playing in the ocean and making new memories, but it was sad to think that we be doing life without our friends and family by our sides.
Looking back one last time at everyone waving goodbye, and thinking of all those who came to our going away party, filled our hearts with so much joy and we knew we were supported and loved, and as scary as it was leaving everything behind, we knew we always had the best part of our lives to come back to.
That first night we sailed out to Santa Cruz Island under a magnificent super moon. It was a pretty rough sail and we were bashing into a head wind the whole way out with waves breaking over the bow. I was pretty seasick and Josh had to cook up a simple dinner. Luckily we got to the lee side of the island and were able to anchor in Smugglers Cove under the bright light of the moon. In the morning the wind and seas had calmed down and we continued our sail south to Marina Del Rey, where I’d work two more days before we could officially start our voyage to MEXICO! It was a beautiful morning and we had a great spinnaker run past the islands, followed by a school of dolphins for almost an hour.
Two of our best friends, Ryan and Melissa Swan, came to wave us off the dock in LA and we headed out for my first overnighter. It was a pretty uneventful evening and I felt confident on my watches, as the sun rose and we pulled into the San Diego harbor we were greeted by one of our oldest friends, Joey Hernandez. We enjoyed a few days catching up with family and friends, stocked up on fresh food and even had our first big scare of the trip while we were anchored in Glorietta Bay, a beautiful and protected anchorage within the San Diego harbor.
After years of anchoring at the Channel Islands with unprotected, rolly anchorages we were amazed at how still we were anchored in the bay, it felt like we were back at the dock. The anchorage is marked by large yellow buoys and was full with boats visiting for the weekend. We let out our normal 5 to 1 scope, but later pulled it into 3 to 1 to avoid getting too close to the marker boys or other boats anchored around us. It was fine until the third night when a storm rolled through. We could hear the wind picking up and the rain pouring down as we went to bed, then I woke to a loud banging noise that I’ve never heard before. I made Josh get up to check on what it was, thinking we had swung around and were hitting the marker buoy. Josh reluctantly got up to check, not wanting to go out in the rain in the middle of the night. He quickly returned and in a surprisingly calmly voice, told me to put some clothes and come out because we were dragging anchor. I leapt out of bed and ran up the companion way steps to see Josh gunning the engine as we were just a few feet from hitting a large aluminum sailboat.
Luckily we had kept the key in the ignition! We literally could have jumped off our wind vane to the deck of the other boat! The engine being thrown into gear so close to the other boat woke their captain and he came up to ask if everything was ok as we motored away, again Josh responded calmly, “Just dragged anchor a bit!”.
I then got behind the wheel to keep us pointed into the wind while Josh raised the anchor. Problem number one, I can’t see at night, especially without my glasses. Once he got the anchor up, I had to have him take the wheel so I could go down below to grab my glasses. Problem number two… wearing glasses in the pouring rain, at night, with 35 knots of wind, I couldn’t see anything anyways!!
As I steered us into position to drop the anchor again we saw two other boats fly across the anchorage, dragging as well. We tried yelling and hailing the other boats on the radio. Luckily were able to set the hook on the first try, and put out ample amounts of scope. The other boats got safely re-anchored as well.
In the morning we recounted how lucky we were that we hadn’t hit anything and we said we’d never again take for granted a calm anchorage. From now on, no matter what we always put out a minimum of 5 to 1 scope. It was a good lesson to learn, it was scary and not how I would have wanted to learn it, but I’m thankful it was at the beginning of our trip and that it didn’t come at a costly expense.
We are currently in Manzanillo Mexico and have been cruising full time for just over four months now. We plan to post a lot over the next two weeks as we try to catch the blog up to real time. Thanks for following along!