Saturday, March 10, 2012

Leaving Guaymas

Along the arteries of Guaymas flows a stream of white busses. The winding and changing of their gears is a sound that floats out over the water to our anchored sailboat. Staccato punctuation of barking dogs comes in stereo from many points around the bay.

The evening’s light breeze corrugates reflected lines of light into a trail of dashes. They reach for us from all sides. A full moon rises yellow over the late workers at the shipyard whose amber welding sparks fly from the silhouettes of fishing boats. Nearby the masts of sailboats on the hard at Marina Seca pierce the sky. Ours was among that forest for almost 3 years.

We enjoy dinner in the cockpit and talk under the stars. How many last trips to town have we made this week? Last hamburgers at Popeye’s? How many flights have I made from Loreto in the last 3 years? Guaymas feels like another home. The 5-peso bus ride is no longer a novelty. I almost know my way around the crooked streets of town.

We recall friends we’ve made with the long-timers in the boat yard and Mac the beer brewer. Earlier in the evening I went for a surf ski paddle and passed in front of Mac’s place where he and Richard were out enjoying the fruits of Mac’s labor. I paddled close to say goodbye let them know Henrick was taking his leave of marina friends with a final happy hour. Richard set off to join in.

During the night the wind comes up and a bumper we had hanging over the side to keep the dinghy from banging the boat is missing. I paddle downwind at first light and recover it from the beach, tying it to the back deck of the ski and trying to keep it balanced.

Misty floats proud on the slimy Guaymas waters as I return. Henrick has overhauled just about everything on her since coming here. Bowsprit, railing, aft platform, kayak racks, hull paint, and deck paint. That’s just what you can see from the outside. There are the invisible projects. Rust eradication and painting every metal surface, from the bilge (my introduction to boat work), to the ceiling of the cabin, to the insides of the cockpit lockers. In the cabin, he remodeled the chart table with built-in cooler, and the seating/table/bed. He added storage in the forepeak, the stern, and several places in between.

I return the bumper and paddle on for a final loop of the bay and its cactus-studded islands. The sun rises and ignites surrounding red peaks with its flame. Brown pelicans turn their bills down to look as they glide over my head. Three snowy egrets flap past and a pair of chatty oystercatchers bickers over something on their way to an island.

Misty shines in the morning light with her new wine-red paint. She’s a practical boat, full keel, double-ended, seaworthy. Her railings are 1 1/4” diameter galvanized steel. Something solid to hold onto. She looks less like a luxury yacht than a worthy travel companion with whom you can weather the storms. She doesn’t quite look Mad Max yet, but come by on laundry day after a few thousand more nautical miles, and she might.

A few more details: sails on, loose stuff stowed, waypoints programmed, and we’re on our way out of Guaymas, on to the rest of the world and whatever adventures lie ahead.