“The winds shifted through the night. I made my way forward to check our rode and noticed a huge school of silver-colored smelt in the umbrella of brightness cast by our masthead light. They morphed into ever-changing helixes to avoid hunting sea lions that looked like dark torpedoes careening through the fish”
AT 4:00 A.M. MARY AND I WERE AWAKENED at home by the wind blowing in through our open sliding glass door. The direction confirmed our weekend weather forecast. Our normal weather pattern features westerly winds, but his morning’s winds were coming from the south, usually
meaning unsettled weather conditions. So far, we’d sailed
Mamacita, our 24-foot sloop, into the channel only during the summer months with warmer and more predictable weather. With the changing weather conditions of
autumn, we both felt antsy about our first autumn channel crossing, and wanted to be careful and get it right.
The wind was blowing straight onshore as we departed, and there
was a light chop on the gray sea. Dolphins took a break from their
morning fishing routine to join us on our way to sea, exploding over
the surface of the water, then weaving back and forth under our bow.
For an hour, some swam alongside us upside down, bored with the
conventional way of swimming. Eventually the pod moved on to
more interesting diversions.