Sailing into the Cold and Silent Dark of the Night

Photographer husband + dog who loves adventure  = the best way to spend the evening before a sail out of the river and north into the open waters of the bay.

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Our 18 year old cat OC and our 8 month old pup Sylvie settled in comfortably while we prepared to leave the dock. Away from my pillow, OC’s favorite spot is always in my seat in the saloon. Sylvie’s favorite spot is in the cockpit next Captain Charles, also known as the alpha in her dog pack. I’m known as treats and snuggles in that dog pack.

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No need anymore for a cord cover on our shore power cable since we only have one cable these days. While Charles was battling the dock spiders inside the cover I was occupied with  putting away provisions, attending to some last minute cleaning projects and preparing the aft sections of the boat for departure.

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Prior to this sail we’d been at the dock for a few weeks longer than we wanted to go in between sails so we were both glad to push off into the sunshine of a crisp fall afternoon.

While Charles steers in and out of slips I always attend to the lines and fenders. Who knew that I’d be so good at casting off the lines when we leave?  I’ve also mastered the acrobatics of jumping from a moving boat onto a dock to singlehandedly secure the lines when we arrive. I’ve done this alone far more often than we’ve had the luxury of line handlers waiting for us on the dock at our arrival.

This time while pulling out, one of the fenders fell into the water. Although they float it would be no small feat to just reach over and grab it. Moving quickly, and with a blessedly slow moving boat, I was able to retrieve the boat hook from the other side of the boat and guide the fender along the side to where Charles could safely reach down and pull it up from the water. With last season’s rough weather fender casualty, we have no spares aboard and losing one on this trip would have been a calamity.

Fender drama averted, I stowed the dock lines and fenders and joined the captain in the cockpit to show off my new-ish sailing hat as we sailed through the afternoon and into the evening. But don’t let the cowgirl style hat fool you. I’m as urban as a city gal can be but there’s something magically seafaring that happens when the lines are stowed, when we’re safely underway and when the non-sailing sailing hat comes out.

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This evening a lush full moon rose over the river and Charles was glad for the bright moonlight, perfect for sailing into the cold and silent dark of the night. One of us prefers to sail overnight and one of us (read: me) prefers to be snug in the master cabin under the blankets.

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We fall into easy habits on overnight sails. I prepare Charles a full thermos plus a mug of hot strong coffee and sometimes a hot snack. Occasionally Charles’s coffee is accompanied by a glass of wine for me. One mug for you, one glass for me. Then I tuck in early, Charles promises to wake me (but he never has), and I set my alarm for the hours before the crack of dawn. Sometimes my wake up call is the alarm. Other times it’s the anchor chain and I find Charles climbing into bed to catch a few winks while I get up to feed our animal passengers and put on the morning’s coffee.

“So that the monotonous fall of the waves on the beach, which for the most part beat a measured and soothing tattoo to her thoughts seemed consolingly to repeat over and over again.” -Woolfe

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11 thoughts on “Sailing into the Cold and Silent Dark of the Night

  1. Nice pictures. Is there a way to tie those fenders to the boat, and therefore be worry free? Or would that leave too much clutter on deck? And dock spiders, huh? I guess insects will go everywhere.

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    1. When we leave the dock we take them off and stow them so they’re not in the way. I dropped one when I was untying it and if we hadn’t been just pulling out at the time, it would probably have been lost.
      And spiders, yuck! I think they live on wooden docks because every sailor I talk to has issues with them. They even sell big spider web removers on long poles so you can get the spiders and webs easily.
      By the way, spiders can swim if you get them with the web catcher and dunk it into the water. And they always seem to know the way back to the boat!

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      1. This evening we pulled up to a dock at 6pm, well after dark. After dinner and drinks, my husband and the dog have gone to bed so this is my quiet time to check out what the other bloggers are doing.

        Although we are are spending this evening docked at an uninhabited island in the middle of a wide river, I do still like to keep up with the outside world on here.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. EEEkkkk on the spider part of your adventures, but wow on the courage and life you lead on a catamaran! What powerful memories you will have, never to have a dull dinner conversation again! 🙂

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