Monday, 31 October 2011

a whirlwind of kin

My big sis
We slowed down on our trip south, right into the whirlwind of my sister’s family. After four years apart, this was a joyful reunion. And on three separate occasions, we had eager crew varying in ages between 8 and 42 join us on Nyon, and what fun it was! When we first anchored in Dana Point, we were told by the harbour police that we could not leave the boat for the day. While the small anchorage inside the breakwater was wonderfully calm, it wouldn’t allow for us to spend quality time with family on land. We moved the boat outside the breakwater. There, the swell was somewhat uncomfortable, but the winds were light. Landing the dinghy was also a little unsettling, as there were surfers in the area. Surfers that were actually surfing. Near the breakwater, there was little surf, but it took a bit of a mental leap to head to shore the first time. The evening before we were to move the boat a little further south, my sister and nephew came for a sleep-over aboard Nyon. We moved the boat back inside the breakwater for the night, to give our visitors a more restful sleep. 

My nephew, raising the mainsail
The next day, we leisurely set out for Oceanside with them. It was a grey day. The wind was fickle, but it held on for a brief while. The biggest treat was the very large (or multiple) pods of dolphins heading north – we went off course to hang out with them for a while. My sister and nephew’s delight was contagious. As we neared Oceanside, Rick excitedly yelled: “Whales!” We could see two blue whales, mists of water rising from their spouts as they passed by. It was awe-inspiring.  Once we docked at Oceanside, we gave the rest of the family a tour of Nyon. Even my brother-in-law came down to check out the boat. (This is the brother-in-law who told me he had a healthy respect for the pool after I told him I have a great respect for the ocean…) We left Nyon for two nights, knowing she was safely berthed at the Yacht Club. (Thank you David!)

Tree climbing monkeys
A moment with papa
We were welcomed into my sister’s home with open arms. We had a great time catching up with the gang. Brunches are an art with this family. Music spills out of the house, and not just from the stereo…  Accomplished and budding young musicians play a baby grand, a harp, a guitar… Poetry is playfully recited and spontaneous sing-alongs are common; perusing a world map is cool. We all watched an old silent movie together, cheering for the good guy while booing the bad guy with gusto. I can say with certainty it was the oldest and loudest movie I’ve ever watched. This visit was a lovely interlude on land for two ocean voyagers.

She's a natural
The second time we took relatives sailing, we were accompanied by three teenagers. The girls were up before dawn: At 06:00, they showed up wearing many layers and big grins. We left the Oceanside Yacht Club in the dark.  It was to be a 10-hour journey to San Diego. We sailed the whole way! The swell was rather pronounced though… The oldest of the three felt it most painfully, the others also felt a little off for a time, but they all rallied. (At one point, it looked like we were having a slumber party, with three passed-out teens bundled in sleeping bags in the cockpit. (Only one accidentally rolled off the cockpit bench. Oops.) The early appearance of dolphins was a welcome distraction. As we neared San Diego, the wind freshened. The boat heeled. And heeled some more. Just as I began to tell Rick, “Hey, maybe we should let the wind spill off the sails a bit…” (I was worried the girls might become frightened.) They all cheered loudly and enthusiastically, loving every minute of it. That was that. Kyra stopped worrying. After docking, we made dinner together. Ever cooked a meal with three teenagers in a galley the size of a shoebox? Unbelievably, it was rather painless. We had a tasty dinner, and by the time their ride showed up, they were all more than ready to crawl into bed.

Impromptu slumber party
Getting some alone time on deck
The classic sunglasses shot
A favoured toy aboard Nyon
The third occasion was a sunny Saturday day-sail. At anchor, we awaited my sister’s arrival with her three youngest. Rick and I very much enjoy experiencing sailing through young children’s eyes, and this bunch was no exception. They are full of enthusiasm and curiosity. And let’s face it: You’re plenty cool just for having barbecue flavoured chips aboard. A home that floats on water gets you bonus points too. The weather was perfect. It was sunny, there was a nice breeze, and minimal swell. We got close to sea lions lazing on the channel buoys. One of those times was a little too close for auntie K’s taste. Then, there was the tall ship Californian under sail, now that was a nice surprise! The only disappointment was that no dolphins came to play. A tooth was lost, the head was mastered, a spontaneous art session was begun at anchor, and homemade mac and cheese was devoured. Sleepy heads left the boat in the darkness, with uncle Rick rowing them quietly to shore.

Wait, is that a pirate ship?
Big and small kids loved the Californian
Art attack on Nyon
I believe we would have a constant stream of willing crew if we lived in the area, my sister included. She would definitely have competition however… 

We've now officially checked out of the good ol' U.S. of A. We have our fishing licenses. We are about to provision, and tomorrow, we stow the boat. And then... Then we're off to Mexico!


  1. I am always so happy when there is a new posting; this one really was wonderful; so great to see how you all enjoyed your precious time together.It felt almost if I was part of it...calse Love you guys, looking forward to the next one, hugs, Mom

  2. Aw, thanks mom - I knew you'd like it! :) xoKyra



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