Tuesday, January 14, 2014

This cruising life ain't all that easy, you know. 

Not that I'm complaining, 'cause I'm not. But still, there's a lot a things that are way harder than back in my old life on land. Like just getting online with Facebook to see what our friends are up to can be a frustrating experience with third world internet connection problems. Then there's working in the engine room. My favorite thing is dropping that tiny little part into the bilge, then spending 30 minutes looking for it. 

So with Deb still in San Diego and these thoughts on my mind as I was attacking "project week" here in La Cruz, Mexico I took a break to watch the Chargers/Broncos playoff game at the bar above the marina office. That's where I met a man that made me re-think just how "hard" this cruising life is. John Berg sailed his Nordic 40 "Sequel" from Ventura down to San Diego, then joined the Baha Ha-Ha fleet to sail on to Cabo San Lucas. Now, he's here in La Cruz. John found his way to my end of the bar by the TV, introduced himself and asked if anyone was sitting in the chair near me. John is totally blind. 

As we talked about the usual cruising stuff, some aspects of our conversation were like no cruiser chat I'd ever heard. While we "watched" Payton Manning rip up the Chargers defense, little tidbits of what it must be like for John to undertake this cruising life peculated to the surface of our conversation, interrupted by big plays that I'd describe to John.

John uses an Apple iPhone for his navigation because it has a native text-to-speech capability. Wouldn't you like to go through a whole day where the phone had to read every word on the screen to you? John prefers his headsails rigged to the forestay with bronze hanks rather than roller furling because he gets a better sense of what the sail is doing on a douse while he's out on the bow pulling it down. He says he's adapted to most all of the cruising and sailing tasks but the last bit getting into the dock is a problem. John lost his wife four years ago so he's now looking for crew. He said he had his doubts about going forward with cruising but then realized "life is short".

When it was obvious San Diego couldn't win, John got up with his backpack and his cane to head down the dock to Sequel. After asking me to confirm it was a 50 peso note he'd pulled from his pocket for the bar tab, John left me alone to watch the last few minutes of the Chargers season and ponder the difference between cruising for this John and cruising for that John. 

Though I'd have loved to see the Chargers win, my day was rewarded with meeting an exceptional man who has overcome huge obstacles to do what comes really pretty naturally to me, even with all the "hard work". I hope John can find good crew that can describe the scenes available to those of us with the gift of sight, like these breaching whales observed on our passage to La Cruz.

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