Sometimes you need to remind yourself that it’s ok to fail. One of the reasons I was so wound up on that first day was because I was consumed with the idea of making it to Cabo in time to meet our welcoming party, and I wasn’t willing to give up one day to weather. Somewhere in that first hour Heath laid it out “Look, if we don’t make it there in time, then screw it. We’ll just get as far as we can in 40 days and figure out the rest later.” Even though I was no less interested in getting to our final destination, it gave me a chance to just chill out, breathe, and think about what was in front of me.
After trying to grind out some distance with the oars and failing, Heath really thought getting the sail out was what we needed and I told him that if he could row the boat to calm water that I’d give it a shot. Since Heath has never sailed once, and I’ve sailed a little when I was a kid with my dad, I was in charge of that aspect of the boat. We settled into some calmer water back in the cove, the sail came down, and the boat glided beautifully through the water. It felt amazing. There is something about that fact that wind flowing past a sail can instantly pull it forward that blows my mind, it’s really graceful. We took a couple of laps in the safety of the cove for me to get my bearings and then we headed back out into the channel to give it another shot.
Again, the channel was a little less friendly, but at least this time we were making some headway. The only problem though when you aren’t familiar with sailing is that you sail very inefficiently. You feel the boat moving, you can see the water moving past you, but what you don’t realize until you look towards the jetties off to your side is that you are essentially moving at the same pace as walking. Not really willing to give up, but slowly realizing this is probably not going to happen today, we pressed on little by little. We’d gain some ground when we sailed in one direction, but when we turned back into the wind we’d lose some of our distance. Overall I’d say we sailed about 200 yards in an hour, all this while squinting out to see the end of the channel that still seemed so far away.
“Alright, it’s one day we lose. Let’s head back, call John to come grab us, get our shit sorted out, and come back and try again tomorrow in the morning with more time.”
I love the picture Heath took below because I look exactly how I felt, defeated.
So there you go, the first failure out of the way, right away. When we came to shore the light was going lower already and it became crystal clear that we did the right thing. There was no way we would have made it 13 miles with the daylight we had left. After getting our boat locked up on the beach we headed home with John for a hot meal and some rest. So that’s when John clued me in on a detail of the channel that seemed pretty damn important. He told me that the boat channel is shallow, so when the tide is coming in it flows like a river, and you’re basically sailing against the current. Wow, that made me feel a whole lot better, then I read this on the internet:
“The entrance to Mission Bay can be difficult to navigate under certain conditions. Large swells in any season and from virtually any direction can break completely across the entrance channel. With a rough sea outside, a heavy surge exists inside the bay, especially in Quivira Basin. Mission Bay contains an enormous amount of water which is funneled in and out of the narrow entrance channel with tidal changes. During periods of unusually large tidal flow, an extremely strong current may be present in the channel; mariners are urged to use caution when transiting the entrance.”
Well, that only deserves one response…HERE
8 thoughts on “Hitting The Wall”
This story gets better and better.
Press on mates, you’ve got a league of internet followers cheering you on.
I just finished reading the last few posts outloud to Josh. It’s like story time for adults. Can’t wait to see what happens. Next!
I’ve been surfing and skating these past days in Ocean Beach right next to there and about to set out on a bicycle trip from San Diego to Portland with inspiration from you fellas. Thanks for all the radical inspiration and good reads Jeff and Heath! Good Luck mates
Farmer, the prevailing wind is from north to south, and most of the bike lanes will be on the southbound side. Definitely do the ride starting in Portland and ending in San Diego. Riding north is seriously no fun. Just take your bike on amtrak up to Portland and you’ll be set. Also, there are a ton of people doing this same ride so you’ll meet people along the way. I did it a few years back and saw only 2 people going north.
Been following your adventures since I met Heath at top of La Veta Pass in Colorado on your cycling trip. Good call guys regarding that Mission Bay excursion. Excited to hear how this adventure turns out! …… “Fuck it, Dude. Let’s go bowling!”
Stoked to follow you guys. I sailed from Cabo to Newport last year on a 50 footer, and even then the coast felt remote. A few tiny towns here and there, but overall pretty desolate. Hope ya speak poquito Español! 😉 Fair winds!
Thank you Bob for the advice on traveling southbound. I chose to go North because Ill be living in Portland. Im 21 days on the trip and have covered 1100 miles, attended a rock n roll fest in the redwoods, met many good folks and its been a really nice path going North. Maybe you should try it sometime! Cheers Mates!