After spending the day ashore Erika, Loren, Elliot and I dingied out towards the slowly setting sun and Steadfast, our sailboat, laying at anchor between the Santa Cruz wharf and the Beach Boardwalk. Within 10 minutes we arrived along the port-side of our home on the water. And like a posey of cowboys pulling up to a hitching post in front of a saloon, we climbed up and over the stern rail, threw a couple half-hitches around the rail to secure our ride and headed below for a nightcap before bed. But before I took my first step down the companionway I turned southwest, towards the open ocean and decided it would be blasphemy to deny the serene calling of a cool breeze on a calm sea. Luckily Erika was on the same "boat!" We stowed the few groceries we picked up in town, got the little guys tucked in their bunks (7:30 is bedtime for a couple very active boys) and headed back on deck. In no time Erika was at the helm and I was weighing the anchor. Within a few minutes Steadfast was sailing slowly southwest with an 8-10 knot breeze on the starboard bow. I didn't have a destination, just an expectation...to enjoy an evening on the bay at a moments notice. As Steadfast passed the mile bouy on her starboard side Elliot popped his head out of the companionway. Unlike his brother he hadn't immediately fallen fast asleep. Erika asked him to grab a blanket from below, put on his life-jacket and lay down in the cockpit. Elliot would enjoy the evening sail with mom and dad. The situation beckoned us across the width of the Bay (20 nautical miles). But I quickly threw the idea overboard. Our presence in Santa Cruz the next morning was imperitive. We would slip over the horizon another day. I ingested another panoramic view about an hour into our whimsical journey and reckoned we were about five nautical miles from our anchorage. It was time to head back. But before we would tic off those same miles homeward A thought occured to me...I've been wanting to grap a few long shots of Steadfast underway. With the Santa Cruz Mountains off our stern and a light marine layer a few miles off our bow as a back drop, I helped Erika into our dingy. Casting her off in a 10 foot inflatable boat, all alone, five miles offshore with just a pair of oars and watching the blue-grey ocean grow around her as I sailed away made my imagination wander. Little did I know the "evil husband prank" was far from the worst scenario lurking right under our hulls. (story cont. next post)
A UCSC graduate in Marine Biology, Keith holds a 100 ton USCG Capt. License and is an ASA certified sailing instructor.