Written in Sand…or Snow…

We got the call a few days after we landed back in La Paz. Preparations for our winter cruise south to La Cruz and parts beyond, and north up the Sea of Cortez, were well underway. Plans were in place for friends to fly down and join us for a few weeks, and we were going to meet up with our longtime cruising friends and spend time with them before they point the boat north and head back up to Canada. Our last Mexican holiday together…

And then… the text messages.

Parent ill… come home. Or words to that effect.

It didn’t take much time to realize that the sooner we went home the better, as ‘going home’ isn’t just hopping on a plane and getting there. It’s a bit of a planning nightmare – get ourselves to the San Jose Del Cabo airport… fly to Vancouver… find a place to stay.. ( thank heavens for friends with extra beds)… borrow our son’s car to drive up to our home at 100 Mile ( 6 hour drive in winter conditions )… pick up a car and drive both cars back to Vancouver, drop off spare car and get on a ferry… then another ferry…. and then you are there. Easy peasy. Not. Oh yes…find a place to stay on Denman Island. Again, thank heavens for friends and friendly acquaintances on Denman. Life saver.

We started our journey home on Tuesday morning and finally stepped into the hospital room on Friday night. It was immediately apparent we weren’t going back to Mexico anytime soon.

Fast forward several weeks… things have settled down but not enough for us to backtrack and get ourselves down to the boat. Parents are back in their home, care in place for now… but things can change overnight and we need to be close by. So after spending all our time helping, cleaning, organizing and getting to know the wonderful friends and caregivers available on Denman Island, we have driven back up to our home on Horse Lake to take a step back and see how things progress without us there.

Whoa!! Where did winter enter into the equation? Down to 30 below at home, 27 above at the boat. That’s a lotta degrees difference … we are living in our own polar vortex at the lake, not surprising, it happens to us every year. That’s why I love it. Real weather…

I enjoy the cold and the extremes….other half is muttering about missing the heat. We have several months to get down there and enjoy, even it if it’s not for the big long trip we had originally planned. Life is like that. Curve balls..go with the flow…what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…

We are not the only people in this situation. Around us we have friends and acquaintances, boat owners or r-v’ers, who have suddenly been hit with the sandwich dilemma… aging parents suddenly needing help , or grown children having issues with getting launched. In some cases even sadder circumstances.

All this reinforces our mantra… Carpe Diem. If you have children, or parents, or family, or pets…. anything can happen. We hope we have lots of time left to explore and fulfill our dreams… but shit happens. We are lucky that coming home for us means being up on our lake, whether in the summer, with kayaks and pontoon boats, or deepest winter, a foot of ice on the lake and a foot of snow on the ground.. it’s still paradise.

view from the lake to the house..
deer tracks? Maybe?
And as long as we can, the boat will still be in Mexico… and isn’t going anywhere. Neither is Mexico. Plans can change… life can take a stutter step and trip you up… but eventually we will find our footing and get back on our path.

Anyway we did manage to get a weekend away from the island and drove down to Seattle to attend the Nordhavn party and take in as much of the floating show and the indoor show as we could get to in one day. It was wonderful! We met up with other Nordhavn owners I have connected with on Facebook, spent time with our favourite Lugger guru Bob Senter, actually spent the evening with James and Jennifer Hamilton – I could spend a week with all of them and never get bored…. and had a totally awesome after party on Red Rover with Kevin and Allison Jeffries.

happy hosts on board Red Rover!
hanging out with the latest 70,000 nm and Extreme Latitude pennant recipients… James and Jennifer Hamilton
Lugger Bob tells the best stories!!!

Fast forward… we are back on the boat, flew in last night. Feels tentative and fragile, but we have our fingers crossed that we can pick up where we left off and get some cruising in.

At the same time we returned to Denman to check up on how things were going, I got a message that a dear friend had passed away suddenly. It just brought into sharp focus how quickly things can change.

We assured ourselves that care for the parents was in place and the possibility of even more help is real. Friends are around, willing to help out.. all important right at this moment because the island has been under the cold blanket of winter in a way that they haven’t seen for years.

There is no walking around outside, no driving to the store… but the paths have been shovelled, part of the long driveway has been ploughed so the caregivers can at least make it halfway to the cabin, the handyman comes weekly to stock up on firewood so they just have to open the door and grab a log.

Denman Island Winter… just not normal!
And then we left. It also occurred to me in the middle of all this that my previously professed love of the deep winter up north has been somewhat tempered…when you physically can’t get outside without risking damage to parts of your face or fingers it becomes less romantic and more cabin-feverish. Thank goodness for a sewing machine and some quilting projects!

Any colder and the mini wouldn’t start… no block heater here!
33 below requires some strategic layering! We aren’t in Mexico anymore, Toto!
when the going gets tough the tough get quilting! How I survived being shut in with minus 30 weather outside…
We booked our flight back to Mexico, spent an evening with family and friends on the coast eating sushi and catching up, left early the next morning and arrived at SJ d C airport mid afternoon Tuesday. We ordered margaritas, pulled up a couple of stools, and saluted each other and the future. It wasn’t hot but it was warmer than home.

flying over Espiritu Santo and La Paz… tears of joy!!!!!
bienvenito a Mexico! The best margarita is the first margarita!
And so here we are. Had a great meal last night at the Italian restaurant, hugs and handshakes from the wonderful staff, they always make us feel so special!

Today has been about chores and organizing things. Our Honda engine on the dinghy was taken away in pieces when we were here in January and won’t be returning until next week. This afternoon Lawrence decided to tackle the main oil change… and… electric pump that facilitates the job has stopped working. Will have to locate a manual one so we can get on with the oil changes.

Welcome back to the boat!!!! Always expect the unexpected.

I hear it’s National Margarita Day on Friday, wonder if we can start a few days early?

Thursday evening… oil is changed, thanks to the last manual oil changing pump left in La Paz…this morning we said good bye somewhat sadly and definitely enviously to our neighbour and SisterShip to us N50 Noeta who were planning a crossing to La Cruz…

And were surprised to see them at the dock once more when we returned from shopping.

Boats… gotta love ’em… barely made it up the channel before the alarms started going off. Best laid plans of mice, men, and cruisers. So now they are dock buddies again, and between needing parts and advice and missing the weather window they could be our dock buddies for a while. Which isn’t a bad thing.. after all, Lawerence’s margarita recipe was never meant for just two people!!!!!

margaritas Northern Ranger II … prepping
we meet up with Norman and Clarise on N 46, Salish Aire, SisterShip to Northern Ranger 1.. and I join them for a little cruise into La Paz from Marina Costa Baja…
after working on the boat, pool time with cervesa is always welcome!