I paused for a moment to take it all in.
Six days earlier, Liberte had been high and dry.
After paying all those dues in boat bucks and labor (one boat buck = $1,000), I relished my first evening on the hook.
Now in the dark I waved at Peter’s boat as I passed; nobody stirring at this hour.
Onward, then, trimming the main to the new wind as I cleared the point, looking back at the lights of shore, just once, then ahead into trackless waters, pretending I was bold Joshua Slocum off to hurdle the globe.
A beam wind now, and I could unfurl the jib and shake out the main.
Just days ago, these sails were in bags, lines bundled, Liberte lonely and landbound.
Now was as good a time as ever for dread.
What would my mentor Gartly do?
So I did.
How beautifully she purred along! I knew better than to touch a thing.
The wind was remarkably steady, the right choice made to sail today on the tail end of a norther, between too much wind yesterday and none tomorrow.
The sun paced me lazily behind clouds.
The north wind was a steady companion, and Liberte ticked off 1 nautical mile after another.
And then, there it was, the intended harbor, and I performed the rituals of arrival.
The sunset was transcendental.
At Isla Danzante, near Loreto, I was tickled to find my favorite anchorage open: a one-boat corner of Honeymoon Cove.
I saw huge schools of baitfish flashing in the clear water, with roosterfish hitting them from below while pelicans dived from above.
As I chugged toward nearby Marina Puerto Escondido the next morning, I saw that I had come full circle.
This harbor was the first place I’d ever stepped foot on a cruising boat.
As a young man, I’d coaxed a battered Toyota pickup down Highway 101, stacked it high at San Diego’s chandleries, and hauled my contraband south to meet Gartly’s Cal 34, Marlin, at this very seawall.
“Back to the scene of the crime,” I said out loud to nobody.
I realized it had been a while since I’d talked to anyone but birds and dolphins.
After several seasons of East Coast cruising, David Kilmer and Liberte are back in Pacific Mexico.
- The Guardian : Whale watching in Mexico - in pictures