In which the crew arrives at Friday Harbor and finds it crowded yet friendly... In which Larry takes pictures of a car without the owner's permission...
Friday Harbor San Juan Island 1998 Aug 02 Sunday
We were fast approaching Friday Harbor. Lea once again tried to reach the Harbormaster on the radio, to no avail. So she called up on the celphone. The person on the celphone said that she couldn't reserve a slip--they were now all filled up. At this point, Piaw took over the negotiations. The harbormaster said that we could tie up to the inside of the breakwater. Well, not exactly. The breakwater was already full up with boats. So we would have to "raft." Oh, cool. It sounded like I'd be rowing the dinghy to shore. Surely that's what "raft" meant. I liked the dinghy. Off the phone, Piaw explained--no, no, no. When you "raft" a boat, that means that you tie your boat to another boat. We would have to sail up to a boat full of strangers, toss them some ropes, and tie our boat to theirs. Each time we wanted to walk to the dock, we'd have to walk on their boat. I was tired and frazzled. My nerves were jangled from my tiller mishaps. And now I was going to be intruding on strangers? Great. Just great.
Coming into the harbor was interesting, and we came up against a beautiful boat called the Jolly Dragon, and asked if we could raft up. The owner stared at us, and said, there's space right behind me, why don't you just tie up there? Oh, we were told that it was full, so we thought this was illegal--don't worry, those guys just left a minute ago. So I turned the boat around and he helped to tie us up.
Piaw doesn't know the whole story about what it took to get the boat up to the breakwater and tied up. It's not a story I'm particularly proud of.
Piaw was working on the parking job. I was looking at the breakwater dully. I was pretty wiped out. I was so glad this Canuck from the Jolly Dragon was helping. Someone tossed him the boat's front line. I was holding on to the back line, ready to hop onto the breakwater and tie up. It was then that I noticed that we were coming in towards the break water too sharply. "Port?" I quavered. We were going to scrape the edge of the boat against the corner of the breakwater. Fortunately, the corner of the breakwater was covered with an old car tire. But still. I put one foot down on the car tire and tried to shove us away. The boat eased into the tire. The tire flexed under this pressure. I thought my foot was pretty far from the edge of the tire--but as the tire bent, I felt the side of the boat kiss the back of my heel. I tugged on my foot. It was trapped. The pressure was growing. I was going to lose my foot. It is at times like this when you discover whether your innermost cussing runs towards the blasphemous or the biological. "Fuck, fuck, fuck," I whimpered, tugging uselessly at my leg. Then the pressure was easing, my foot came free. The tire was doing its job; the boat was bouncing away. I jumped to the dock and tied up my line, promising myself that I'd never do anything that stupid again.
After we were secure, I went down to tie-up our spring-line and thank the skipper of the Jolly Dragon, and he helped us again, by demonstrating his expertise with spring-lines.
Dinner was burritos with black-beans, chilies, and some other stuff that I forgot. I was so hungry that I just inhaled the food without tasting it. It sure was good, though.
One nice thing about cramped boats is that the kitchen is in easy talking distance of the dining room. So when I got up for seconds on burritos, I was close by the others. Lea addressed me: "Oh, galley-hand. Might I trouble you for another scoop of beans?" I replied, "I'll do that if you stop calling me galley-hand." Galley-hand sounded like a position only two rungs up the social ladder from dock boy.
After dinner, I was washing dishes in the kitchen. There's really only room for one person in the kitchen proper, so when people wanted tea, I made it. Even though I wasn't having any tea. What a guy. So everyone made sure to thank me extra nicely. Lea said, "Thanks. Boy." As in "Boy, this sure is swell." Enthusiastic gal, that Lea. "Sure thing, but don't call me 'boy'," I answered; at the same time Scarlet gleefully asked, "You called him boy?" I was glad that Scarlet was watching my back, making sure no-one was disrespecting me.
At the main marina office, where the restrooms were, there were also showers. They were coin-operated, costing 5 quarters. When you put your money in, an LED counter let you know how much time you had left. I cleaned up, and peeked at the counter. I'd used up only 1/5 of my shower. I come from California, a state eternally short of water. I remembered a tour I'd taken of the Seattle locks, remembered "extra" fresh water being dumped into Puget Sound. Here I was in the NorthWest, a land with water. Here was my great opportunity to waste some water... I couldn't do it. I shut off the water. I felt like a dork.
Piaw and I slept in the main cabin, also known as the "salon". It was at this time that I was reminded that Piaw snores. Each time I was reminded, I eventually got back to sleep.
1998 Aug 03 Monday
All the world was my enemy. I was awake at 6:30 in the morning. Sunlight was streaming into the cabin. Salon. Whatever. I got up, rustled around in my luggage to find a sock to put over my eyes so that I could keep out the light and get to sleep. But by the time I'd done that, I was awake. I looked over at Piaw. He was still asleep. How dare he still be asleep? I considered digging my permanent marker out of my luggage, writing something rude on his forehead. I decided that I wasn't thinking straight. I decided to go for a walk. I snuck off the boat, and started walking along the marina.
My friends and family members read my sailing travelogs--my patient friends and family members, anyhow--and remark that they can't figure out what I like about sailing. It appears to be one disaster after another. I tell them that sailing is mostly fun, but that I can't make good stories out of the fun parts. For example, I cheered up immensely walking along the marina. The sun, which had so recently robbed me of slumber, now seemed pleasant. There were smiling people to smile at, pretty boats to look at. Fascinating, eh? No? Very well, then. The next crisis occurred on land, as I wandered around the town of Friday Harbor.
I'd set two simple goals:
I looked at restaurants that were charging a lot for breakfast, then found a place on a sidestreet (perhaps the town's only sidestreet) called the Blue Dolphin Cafe that wasn't charging so much but didn't look so charming, either. Maybe it would be better just to have pancakes on the boat. I turned back in defeat. And that's when I saw it.
My friend/co-worker Morgan had a Sport Utility Vehicle, and yet he had it in a heartfelt and sincere manner, unlike every other piece of yuppie scum with a Sport Utility Vehicle. Morgan took his vehicle off-road, used it for, you know, sports. He was into it. He fixed it up, he repaired it, he kept up a web page for other people who are into these Land Cruisers. He took pictures of Land Cruisers he saw on his commute.
I will have everyone who reads this know that not only does Morgan take his SUV off-road, he can also ride me into the dirt when we go on bike rides together. The guy has thighs the size of my waist.
I was looking at perhaps the coolest Land Cruiser of all time. Here, take a look at it. Obviously a hard-working vehicle with a history, a beautiful Frankenstein. I had to get a picture of this thing. It was parked outside a breakfast place. The owner might finish up and drive off any minute. I ran back to the boat for my camera, my sandals slapping against my heels. Striding briskly along the marina, I saw Lea. She asked me what was up. I babbled about Morgan, Land Cruisers, need a camera. She smiled, rolled her eyes, waved me on.
Back to the boat. Grabbed my camera. Back into town. The car was still there. Click. Click. Big guy walking towards me, carrying a beverage can. Click. He was putting the beverage can in the car, on the seat. Big guy. Had put the can in the car I was taking pictures of. Big. This must be his car. He looked mad. He was walking towards me. Uh-oh. I was going to get beat up. Oh no. I grinned, stammered out: "Oh, sorry. Is this your car? I was..." He looked right into my eye, and said, "Yes," in a curt, clipped tone. And then he stared fiercely down at his shoes and kept walking along the sidewalk, walking away. My knees felt week. I looked around. He was gone. I put my camera into a pocket and staggered back to the marina. I realized that I felt very awake.
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