[If this is your first visit to the site, you’ll need to start at the beginning…HERE]
There are two kinds of people in this world. There are the ones that know that returning from a trip like this can be exhausting, embarrassing and confusing. They say “thank god you’re alive”, pat you on the back and then they drop it. Some of the ones that most sternly warned us even manage to send words of encouragement as we experienced this strange version of trauma and loss. Then there are the people who say “See! I knew it. They obviously didn’t know what they were doing.” Well, it turns out that the lion’s share of our friends and readers are the former. As most of you know we’ve been back for a while now. I was forced to tell the story retrospectively due to the nature of the terrain and lack of internet…this also gave me the luxury of having some separation and hindsight. I really thought that about half of the comments would be negative and giving us the “coulda-woulda-shoulda” routine. But nope, it turns out that this blog attracts people that know Heath and I probably don’t need to be told that we fucked up, and scolded like an impulsive kid. Of course we know that we bit off more than we could chew. Of course by now we know that our boat was not the right boat for us and that we could have been much more prepared. Pretty obvious at this point! But you know what – if you feel like you need to get something off your chest then let’er rip. Tell us to knock it the fuck off, pack it up, and take it easy. Tell us to do normal things that will bore the pants off 90 percent of people out there. That’s’ fine, as long as you don’t tell us to quit, because Carlo Borreto loves this site and I can’t take that away from him.
We had a Spot GPS device incase of a dire emergency that we called the ‘we’re fucked button’. We had lifejackets and swim fins in case we needed to leave the boat, which is a very important point. We had discussed many times about being totally prepared to leave the boat. We were ok with losing all that ‘stuff’ if the situation dictated we had to. And the fact that we stayed very close to land would be our second layer of our defense. When we left our boat on the last day, we honestly thought we were within range of a long swim. Unfortunately, when you’re navigating so close to shore, you’re going to hit some kelp and that had a bigger effect on our boat than anticipated. But we left the boat with a clear idea of us walking up onto that beach. I’ve swam long distance in the ocean many times and this looked doable. Heath, a guy with no ocean swimming in his history, even said that he would not have hit the button if it was right in front of him when we capsized. Obviously we were wrong, and thank what ever Gods you thank that the lifeguard was there. I used to lifeguard at the beach and I’ve rescued a few people, so I know the feeling from both sides. You can prepare all you want, but sometimes you still get fucked up. Maybe not the case here because we gave the ocean too many chances to take advantage of us, but again, these are the lessons we come home with and learn from.
When we got to that hospital I was pretty devastated…all these months of preparation; all the pictures and video I’d seen in my head for months and wasn’t going to get; all the memories I wasn’t going to get to cram into one short period of my life; all that damn sanding. Yep, let’s take a moment of silence for that beautiful boat we sanded for days [pause for El Ojo Negro]. What in the world was I going to tell everyone who had wished me well and expected me to be gone for over a month? It honestly occurred to us to not do the blog. It was just too embarrassing to come back so damn empty handed. But then Heath said “Well, I wanted an adventure. I didn’t get the one I expected, but I sure as hell got one!” He was right. This was so far from the story I was supposed to tell, but my god was it way more intense and unexpected.
We as people that seek out thrills have been doing stuff like this our entire lives. They span a wide spectrum of stacking up bricks and plywood to jump your first bike in the driveway to rafting the Grand Canyon, but I don’t see them as that different. They both could lead to injury or death. I personally have never been a real skateboarder, but remember that it’s almost a wide spread consensus that skateboarders should wear helmets – Heath has skated handrails his whole life without one. We are NOT going to see the world the same as a lot of people and if this blog was filled with stories about us doing totally safe things it would be boring as shit and no one would care. It is a very fine line to walk when you try and immerse yourself in new experiences but to not sit too close to danger. This time, we sat too close. But after being back home for a week we went from viewing the ocean as a death trap to wanting to get back out there somehow. If my sole intention was to create crazy web content then I think I would have lost interest in these kinds of things a while ago, but that’s not the case. I can’t stop thinking about these trips and now that we’ve experienced failure it seems to have had no effect on neither Heath or I. We may change a few of our methods and how we approach future adventures, but the philosophy of the next voyage will remain. That may sound like I’m tooting my own horn pretty loud, but keep in mind that there are people out there that skate or surf and take huge, life altering slams and get right back up and try again. I on the other hand will dust off the dirt, go home, get a burrito and think about how to pull it off another day.
At the end of our trip we were supposed to sail up to the beach in Todos Santos, an hour north of Cabo, and meet our people for a victory vacation. It didn’t work out precisely the way we wanted, but being in Baja Sur at the point where I was supposed to finish with an unbelievable group of friends, was a nice closer. It was good to be back looking at the Pacific and thinking, “well, at least we tried”.
Someone hand me a Tecate.