Chapter Two: A`no Nuevo

Cruising in a boat is so much slower than cruising in a car. A`no Nuevo is actually only about thirty five miles from Santa Cruz, and as the crow flies it may be even shorter. Either way, it took us hours to get up there, but I wasn’t complaining. I love the ocean, everything about it, and I don’t get sea sick, thankfully.
A`no Nuevo is an very small Island just off the coast of California, and it has some small building on it; an “observatory”, which is for spying/observing the Walruses and Sea Lions who dwell just off the Island and on the beaches there, and some small shacks for the scientists and UCSC students who study their habits and mating rituals.
Highway One runs parallel to the coast, running all the way North to Canada, and all the way South to Mexico, a stunning drive, and world-renowned. I have driven that road countless times, and I have never tired of traveling it, nor its’ ever-changing seasons and moods. The mountains come straight down to the sea there, and are speckled with Cyprus trees, and Oaks weeping with long Rapunzel -like tendrils of lichen. There are also the occasional stands of Redwood trees, especially at the entrance to Big Basin National Park. You can look up onto the box canyons and see enormous boulders pushing out from the hills, grey and craggy like Pirate teeth.
We pulled into the slight bay at A`no Nuevo, and decided to sleep there that night, as it was getting dark and the wind was coming up. Greg dropped anchor, and he started to put some sandwiches together for “dinner”. Moby was curled up on my bunk, but his ears sprang up at the talk of food. I fed him while Doc made the sandwiches. He had pulled the boat in face first towards the shore, but with the strong wind, we kept ending up in the “trough”, turned sideways, and the waves would break against the side of the boat. It was nerve-wracking, as the boat felt like it would flip over at each splash of wave. The wind was so loud, and the Sea Lions barking all night didn’t make for a very restful night. It was just too new to me. I have never slept well as it was, an insomniac from a young age, and all this different-ness was a bit much for me. But I survived the night, and the next morning was clear and gorgeous. We set out again, and after a simple breakfast, headed north to Pillar Point.
One thing I’d like to mention here is that on a boat, especially one as small as the Radon, there was no toilet. No shower. The method for this, was one went up to the bow of the boat, and literally hung their ass over the side. You took your paper, and you went. The same method went for Moby; he went to the front of the boat, did his business, and then I took a bucket and washed the deck down. But I could tell he hated it as much as I did, he always looked so embarrassed when he came back! With Doc, we were never far from shore, so showers were no problem at whatever harbors we anchored in. That was if we went in, as sometimes we stayed out for a couple of days. That was when I found out how cold ocean water could truly be.
The way you take a “shower” when you are out at sea is to lower a bucket into the water, haul it back up, pour it over your head, lather up quickly, and repeat this process until your are somewhat clean. Many fishermen stink like hell because they choose to not undergo such torture. But spend a day cleaning fish, your jeans covered in a thick, viscous layer of blood, scales and slime, and then tell me I won’t be pouring buckets of icy water over my head. I refuse to go to bed that way. It isn’t that I was really “clean” though, because ocean water is not only salty, it has a hint of oily-ness to it, from oils leaked from boats, and I’m sure other things as well. I didn’t care; I needed to feel soap on my body, and to get the blood from my skin.
At the Pillar Point Harbor we were able to shower, and then we had a decent meal at the local restaurant, the Ketch Joanne. Moby came along with us, ecstatic to be on land again, and pissing on everything in sight, intoxicated with “other dog” smells. We walked around a bit, looking at other boats, and Doc saw some folks he knew, so we popped onto their boats and chatted a bit. Most of the fishermen I met were pretty decent folks, easy-going, and generous with their wine and beer. It was a trip to hang out with them and hear their fish stories, and about other fishermen and their doings.
A harbor at night is a magical thing when you “live” there. The sounds of rings hitting the mastheads as they sway a bit in the current, the smell of the sea, the twinkle of stars, the lack of automotive sounds, the seagulls crying and trilling, bliss. Fishermen tend to be very early to bed, as you must rise by two or three in the morning if you are running out to sea, especially the Faralons, The Faralons are very small islands, actually more like immense boulders, rising about twenty miles out to sea, almost straight out from San Francisco. There is nothing on them, and they are virtually impossible to get onto. But the fishing there is fantastic. Doc’s boat would never have made it there.
We were to get to bed early, as the next day we had to stock the boat to go fishing. And I was to get my first lesson on how to drive the boat, as that would be the majority of my work, keeping the boat on track and “steady” while Doc fished. It wasn’t hard to drive the boat, but necessary as Doc had no auto pilot in his little rig. And that first couple of trips out, I learned a lot, and I watched Doc as he strung lines to hooks and lead them out while I steered the boat. But everything I was learning was not the way to do it properly, as I would come to find out. But one of the defining moments in my decision to leave the boat and fish with someone else was made not too long after the Great White made an appearance, and changed my entire outlook on life…
Next time; Chapter Three, The Great White

© Copyright 2006 Jennifer George. All rights reserved.



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