Southern Cross to starboard

Cruising is all about moments. There are the really nasty ones, the middle of the night wind shift and consequent move, or the scary almost-wreck-the-dinghy entrance into the anchorage near Dean's Blue Hole in the Bahamas. And there are the other ones, the ones we pull out when we try to describe this life.

As I think of the week we had on Totem, my mind fills with images. Sure, we’ve got a lot of pictures. Pictures of people, of landscapes, of sky and water and sails and ruins. I’ll share a bunch of those at the end of this post.

There are also flashes of our time inked in my head. The camera wasn’t out, or it doesn’t capture the scene, or maybe it was just enough to be in the moment and have it just for me.

Huge waves ahead and behind us as we steadily bashed our way from Linton east to the Guna Yala that first morning on a passage Jamie later told us ranked up there as one of the 10 worst they’ve had in their almost-completed circumnavigation. Totem handled it with aplomb. The crew of Calypso perched in the cockpit, smiled plastered on all of our faces. How many different moments is that?

Seeing the sail of a sailfish appear in front of us, then glide by on the starboard side like a weirdly pointed black plastic bag, on that same passage. Jamie said he’d never seen one.

Catching the glimpse of a pair of dolphins racing towards us then disappearing under the boat.

The Guna village on Isla Machina, with pole-perched solar panels at regular intervals along the narrow pathways that separated the thatch-roofed huts. Side panels of branches tied with twine. One little girl, another little one on her hip who was almost the same size as the one carrying her, peering at us and reappearing at corners. Walking through the huts with cross beams so low even I had to duck a few times. All the hammocks for sleeping, which made my back hurt just seeing them.

Christmas tree worms on the reef, and bright parrotfish pecking at coral.

The dinghy soldiering on under the weight of all 9 of us.

Bee, Mairen, and Siobhan putting away the bedding every morning, whooshing all the air out of the Thermarest* mattresses to turn the main salon back into a living room instead of a dormitory, then reversing the operation at night.

Seeing not one, not two, but three sea turtles on separate sails. Big ones, just hanging on the surface.

Watching the blue-purple sail of a Portuguese Man-O-War jellyfish float by on our last passage, from Portobello to Colon.

Waking up to pinpricks of rain hitting my face, rain that lasted about 5 minutes before scuttling away to reveal a sky bright with an endless carpet of stars.

Sitting in the cockpit in the morning while the coffee grounds settled in my owl mug, looking around at islands and water and sailboats and the sky. It seemed as if I were the only person awake in the world, though I knew that was not the case.

2 dolphins surfacing 10 feet from where I sat in the cockpit at anchor in Portobello.

And waking up at three in the morning and sticking my head out of the hatch, seeing the kite of the Southern Cross to starboard.

Capture your own moments of magic.

See you out there.

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