Boats and Burgers

Arriving at 1am on Friday in Lima was no deterrent from having a full weekend. After a nice sleep to 9am, Girogio’s father gave me a ride into the shop to see the boats he was building. Two 58-foot catamarans which have taken on a nearly finished shape sat side by side. One did not yet have the roof of the main cabin and aft deck mounted yet, but I got to see that get put in place. Giorgio and a crew of about 20 men, all of whom were pulled from their specific project on either of the boats came together to lift, move, flip and place the last lid on the boat.

Floating the Continental Divide

It was late afternoon when we motored from Shelter Bay Marina to the staging area in Bahia de Limon to await our pilot and extra line-handler. The past two days was a much needed rest after having just sailed over 1,700 miles from the Bahamas, around the western point of Cuba and due south across the Caribbean Sea. It wasn’t a lazy, sit by the pool with a frufy drink kind of rest. Rather it was a change from the ten days of being at sea where a constant watch is kept to ensure there is still wind in the sails, the course is maintained, the crew is rested and fed and collisions of any sort (with other vessels, drift wood, large containers or even land) are avoided.

Narragansett Fog

USCGWe sailed overnight, a full day and overnight again, not quite totally without incident. We found what looked like a nice abandoned pier around 90th Street to tie on to and wait out the ferocious ebb tide before trying to motor our way through Hells Gate. This is essentially where the North River (the Hudson), the East River and Long Island Sound all come together. It’s a narrow passage where a lot of water flows at speeds up to five knots with the tide.

Shawn and I were below on his 27-foot Bristol sail boat just chatting it up when we heard what sounded like a bilge pump engaging automatically. We didn’t have an automatic bilge pump. After cocking our heads at each other trying to sort it out, we popped our heads out of the companionway only to see we were being boarded by the Coast Guard.

It turns out we’re not allowed to tie up on this unmarked pier and we ended up with a citation – a boat parking ticket – before our trip began. The really interesting part was the NYPD floated up shortly afterwards (while Shawn was up the mast in the rigging clearing a line) and couldn’t believe we got a citation. The cops gave us some floating key chains and their condolences.

Rafting the Grand

How ironic that the pinnacle of whitewater rafting experiences is found over a mile deep into the earth.

As the Colorado River flows through the Grand Canyon, numerous side canyons and rock falls have deposited piles and piles of rocks and boulders to create some of the most notorious whitewater in the northern hemisphere. Because the constraining canyon walls rise thousands of feet above the river, it has no way to go around these impedances. It has no option but to go over these obstacles in a churning, violent, frothy flow. And once we’re in the canyon, we have no option but to navigate our way through these unyielding currents in our little rafts. As one of the earliest river runners of the Colorado in 1869 described it, the water snagged a boat and “whirled it around quick enough to take the kinks out of a ram’s horn.”