2016 MAY – THERE IS A SEASON….

The La Cruz anchorage at sunset

The La Cruz anchorage at sunset

 

THERE IS A SEASON…!

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:   Ecclesiastes 3:1

 
As another Mexican summer approaches it is time to leave the boat and bolt for gentler climes!  It gets to 105° in Mexico, in the shade on a cool day, and that’s just a little too hot.
This has been the strangest season for me.
 
After taking weeks to troubleshoot the niggardly things that went wrong with the boat over the previous summer, I  finally took FastAlley out to the anchorage in January.  After such a varied set of things that needed replacing, I decided to stay anchored for at least 2 weeks to ensure nothing went wrong and all systems were a go, before moving on South.
 
Since my outboard got ruined last season, I was also trying to buy a 2 or 3 hp outboard for my dinghy – something about 20-30lbs.  My 6hp Nissan was way too heavy for me to handle alone.  And I didn’t want to continue to move south with no way of getting off my boat once at anchor in a remote cove.
 
Without an outboard I also had no way of getting off my boat from the anchorage, which didn’t bother me unduly since there is nothing to do in La Cruz anyway.
 
So I stocked up on borrowed books and settled down at anchor, to read. And hunt for a small outboard.
 
Every 10 days I would cadge a dinghy ride with someone into town, swap my books at the Ghecko Rojo restaurant, and collect another pile of books.  And treat myself to a plate of their garlic chicken wings!   Then back to the boat for another week or 10 days.
 
It seemed no one had a small outboard to sell. Even Mexican websites that advertised them, didn’t actually have the 2 or 3hp motors when I called.
 
But I was happy sitting out in the anchorage testing the boat’s systems to ensure they all worked again.
 
I must say, I was never bored.  Not one minute. Not ever.  There was so much going on out there. Boats coming and going. Pelicans diving for fish next to my boat and crashing noisily into my hull when they misjudged.  Big birds aggressively chasing little birds when the little fella had a fish in its mouth.  Dolphins hunting in the evening. Large swirls of water as the small fish hiding under my boat took to the air and tried to fly in a vain effort to escape being eaten.  Spectacular sunsets every night.  And really really big fish hunting small fry under my hulls and banging loudly into my boat.  You would think if they can see in the dark to catch the little fish, then they can see to judge their distance from my hull. But apparently not – they banged into the hull all night!
 
Heron eyeing the 2 plastic snakes i keep on my deck to scare off birds.  Took this bird awhile to decide they weren't worth eating!

Heron eyeing the 2 plastic snakes i keep on my deck to scare off birds. Took this bird awhile to decide they weren’t worth eating!

 
There were also some interesting storms that got my full attention. And the worst was when the dual powerful Hurricanes Tatiana and Winston boiled into existence within hours of each other in the deep Pacific. Between them they kicked up such monstrous waves that by the time the swells traveled all the way across the Pacific ocean and hit us way up in north Mexico, they were still about 10 feet high.  And they were only 15 seconds apart!!   Being anchored and watching that wall of water coming towards you EVERY 15 SECONDS was quite terrifying.  I sat on deck all day expecting my bridle to snap from the extreme stresses it was under, and ready to jump into action to save my boat.  This went on from breakfast when the first swells arrived, right throughout the day.  And the swells got worse as the day progressed.
 
By nightfall I was exhausted.  I decided that I’m only going to dread one day at a time!
 
There was no one anchored behind me, just shoreline, so I climbed into bed and fell into a dead sleep. I reckoned the worst case was that I landed on the beach.  In small pieces.
 
Someone once said – If you’re going to pray, don’t worry. If you’re going to worry, don’t pray.
Well that didn’t work for me. I did both!  All day!
 
By the next morning the sea swells were the same. And continued throughout the day.  Large walls of water marching inexorably towards you.  By the evening the swells were down to about 6-8 feet but still worrisome.   By the third day the swells were down to 3-4 feet which felt like minor little bumps after the last few days!
 
The worst part was being anchored.  FastAlley is happy to surf big waves and does that like a champion. But being anchored and facing those swells and knowing the safety of your boat depended on an anchoring system – all of which is underwater and out of sight – that was awful. I knew that if my anchoring system failed and I didn’t notice, I would be turned sideways to those huge swells.  And be shoved towards the beach at 15 second intervals!
 
After that episode I upped anchor and moved out to the deep end of the pool.  So much for multihulls are only 2 feet deep so we can anchor in the shallows!  Never again.
 
On the rocks!  Everyone checked their anchor shackles after this disaster?

On the rocks! Everyone checked their anchor shackles after this disaster?

 
During February and March the anchoring systems of 2 beautiful yachts failed.  A big yacht landed on the beach when his anchor failed to keep him in place and large waves pushed him onto the reef/beach. Lloyds of London reluctantly paid out.
The next boat that landed on the reef had the shackle to the anchor itself come undone.   It went onto the reef dragging its anchor chain – minus the anchor.
 
So having photos to prove anchoring systems fail is not very reassuring when a storm comes ripping through.
 
In addition, at least 7 boats dragged during storms or high waves.  I always leave my radio on during a squall so that I can hear what’s up in the anchorage.  One time I went on deck when they announced that a boat with green trim was dragging – and there it was!  Dragging straight down towards me!!  The owner came out and casually lifted his anchor, moved a little away, and dropped anchor again.   Very relaxed he seemed, while I was biting my nails. He was still in my direct line if he dragged again, so I sat and watched him for ages as the storm blew itself out around me.
 
So I was never bored in the anchorage. Never once!!
 
BIBLE STUDIES
 
Eventually I had read my way through about 40 books and I couldn’t face yet another Lee Child or David Baldacci, although I love their writing.
 
What to do?
 
Years ago I bought a complete set of CDs called Unlocking The  Bible by David Pawson.   Every time I moved house and home, as I unpacked and repacked the CDs I would promise myself that I would listen to them.  One day.
 
As I set out on my boat adventure I packed them on my boat and took along my Bible which hadn’t been opened in years.   And I promised myself I would do some serious Bible study on the boat.
 
Of course I didn’t.
 
Last year I was having a blast.  I travelled everywhere around Mexico.  Visited fabulous historic places like Teotihuacan. Museums. Castles. Palaces. And tried every kind of food.
 
This year I was anchored in the anchorage. Going nowhere.  Doing nothing. And no outboard. Eventually I ran out of books to read and I decided to go through the Bible CDs.   First I had to find them – I had packed them in an obscure corner of the boat.  And then hunt down my Bible tucked into another deep corner.
 
20 minutes into Genesis I was hooked!  David Pawson has the most fascinating way of explaining things and I listened avidly. Then I read the related Bible book.  Slipped in the next CD, and read the next book.  It took about 3 weeks for me to listen to all the Old Testament CDs and entirely read through the OT, scribbling David Pawson’s notes all over my Bible as I went along.  I would make myself breakfast and then settle down with my tapes and Bible. I was so engrossed that one time I realized it was past 2:00 in the morning. And I hadn’t eaten in about 14 hours!
 
My heart went out to Jeremiah.  God says he called Jeremiah to be a prophet while he was still in the womb!  That’s some calling.  And when he was still a teenager God told Jeremiah to go and tell Israel that God was unhappy with His people and would punish them. And Jeremiah said – but I’m just a kid?!  And God said – never mind that, I’ve got your back!
 
And over his lifetime poor Jeremiah would obediently do whatever God commanded.  And he got whipped. And put in stocks. And branded. And whipped some more.  And dropped into a cistern to drown a slow and agonizing death.  And then extracted and dumped into jail instead in heavy chains.  And more whippings.
 
And when he would complain to God about his treatment at the hands of Israel, God would say – Don’t worry I got your back!  And Jeremiah would get whipped. And stripped. And mocked. And chased out of town.
 
Clearly God’s version of “I’ve got your back” and my version of the same, differ quite considerably.
 
Although God never allowed anyone to maim or murder Jeremiah, so that was something I suppose.
 
Jeremiah was called the Weeping Prophet – not because he got so beat up – but because he could foresee the consequences to the Jews if they did not repent and turn back to God.  And the consequences were so dire that he wept and wept for Israel.
And I sobbed along with him.
I cried my way through Jeremiah and Lamentations, both of which are attributed to this prophet.  Even just writing about it now, and remembering, I am weepy!
 
Screen shot 2016-05-20 at 11.12.29 AM
 
I think God stuck me out in the anchorage – without an outboard – because He wanted to get my attention.  And as long as I was running around, He couldn’t manage that. So He stopped me in my tracks.  And there I sat. Drifting lazily around in a full circle every day as the tide and wind blew me around. And slowly my manic running around slowed to a crawl where God could say – Hey! You! Yes you!  I’m talking to you!  Now pay attention!
 
And I did.  It took me another 2 weeks to read through the New Testament.  And so I read my way through the entire Bible as FastAlley twirled around her anchor.
 
After that I decided to confess my sins. Now I thought I had lived a pretty blameless life, so I blithely said if you show me my sins, I will confess them.  Well, want some free advice?  If you ask God to reveal something, He certainly will.   Days later I was saying – Another sin??  I’ve been confessing for days now. And that one too?  Oh no! I remember that one.   Yes, I know I did that one too. So sorry.
 
Who knew I would suddenly develop such perfect recall??  I never had this gift during school and university exams!
 
You know that little thing inside your head that tells you not to do  something?  Yeah well it seems I don’t have one of those.
 
I was reminded of things I had done even as a very young person, so I had nearly 5 decades of sins to confess.  It took forever!  So much for my fairly blameless life!!
 
FASTING
 
Over the years I have rarely attended church unless nagged, never opened my Bible except in church, and otherwise avoided anything that hinted of godliness.
 
Then in 2013 my daughter in law said she was going to do a 40 day fast for her husband (to promote God’s blessings), and would I stand with her – just for the first day.
I HAVE NEVER FASTED but I felt so bad that Heather was going to fast for 40 days for my own son, that I figured I could manage one day without food.   After one day Heather called and said Thank You and I felt so mean for only fasting for one lousy day that I hastily offered to do 2 days.  At the end of the second day Heather called to say thank you and I said I would try just one more day.
 
I was living on FastAlley in a marina at the time, and on the evening of the 3rd day a tug went past and my boat jerked and bobbed around – and my stomach revolted. I RAN for outside. I only made it to the kitchen trash can where I threw up a bucket full of fruit juice and water.   After that I had 2 boiled eggs and a slice of toast to settle my stomach on the water.
 
By the end of the first week I thought I may as well buy a whole lot of bottles of V8 fruit and vegetable juices so that I wasn’t depriving my old body of nutrients.  I drank juices all day at the office and had 2 boiled eggs and toast at 6:00pm.  Basically I fasted for 23.75 hours a day. For the full 40 days.
 
I didn’t tell anyone at the office that I was fasting.  And everyone assumed that I was on some detox program, or a liquid diet, so I left it at that.
 
However, right in the middle of my fast was Halloween, and they were decorating the office cubicles with evil nosed witches, black cats, creepy webs and crawly spiders, and wickedly grinning jack-o-lanterns!   My cubicle was the first one you came to as you entered our suite of offices so I fully expected my cube to be adorned with all that awful stuff, especially as it was the focal point as you entered.
 
The next day when I came into the office I was amused to see that the entire office had Halloween things draped all over the windows, hanging from the ceiling, glued to the walls, and curling all over the cubicles – and my cubicle had NOTHING!!  Not a thing, neither inside my cube nor outside it.  Not a thing was draped above my head, or on my walls, or hanging across my cube. My little square was pristine!!!
I was highly amused.  I could imagine an angel standing guard over my cubicle all night as they decorated, standing there with a flaming sword saying – No! Not on this cubicle!
 
That was in 2013.
 
In 2014 I started going, on every second Sunday, to Prophet Ruckins’ meetings in Irvine.
 
In 2015 I was in Mexico on my boat trotting from place to place and traveling all over.  And I managed just one church service in Mazatlan.
 
So my slow faltering start towards Jesus, ground to a halt.
 
Thus to get my attention yet again, God was forced to stick me out in the anchorage – without an outboard.
 
Meanwhile he did reconcile me with my youngest son that I haven’t spoken to for years.  That was a wonderful, generous, enormous unexpected blessing!
 
So it’s been a weird time for me.  Lots of little things holding me in one place. Far from people. Far from land. Far from distractions.  For weeks and weeks!
 
Meanwhile I finished reading my way through the New Testament for the second time.
 
I’m now reading the NT for the 3rd time and I’m carefully checking every reference given.  If Christ says “as it was written” and then quotes something in the OT, then I go to the referenced OT wording and make a note. Then the next time I read the OT I will see all my notes there of who quoted this verse, and why. Sometimes I admit I don’t understand the reference, and I have no one to ask.  I wish my Prayer Warrior Mother was still alive.  She would know!  So it’s slow going and I’m only up to Luke.  There’s a lot to absorb.
 
And I will read Jeremiah again whenever I think life is tough.
 
Meanwhile I have run out of useful piles of money and need to get a job. So sadly it is back to reality, and a contract back home to top up the cruising kitty.
 
And return with an outboard from America!!
 
And maybe next season I will make it all the way to the Panamanian San Blas islands.
 
 
SOME GENERAL PICS…
 
Laundry day on the boat.  This little manual washer works wonders.  I was constantly amazed at the dirty water that washed out

Laundry day on the boat. This little manual washer works wonders. I was constantly amazed at the dirty water that washed out

I got seriously addicted to eating raw sugar cane!

I got seriously addicted to eating raw sugar cane!

My favorite stop for a BBQ chicken and roasted baby onions!  The Mexican onion is very sweet; its like candy!

My favorite stop for a BBQ chicken and roasted baby onions! The Mexican onion is very sweet; its like candy!

A local warned me not to walk under the coconut trees in case a nut fell on my head and killed me.  He assured me it happened it all the time.  I Googled it - it has happened about 7 times in the last 300 years.

A local warned me not to walk under the coconut trees in case a nut fell on my head and killed me. He assured me it happened it all the time. I Googled it – it has happened about 7 times in the last 300 years.

Huge full moon on a black night - my photo doesnt do it justice

Huge full moon on a black night – my photo doesnt do it justice

 

So many beautiful sunsets.

So many beautiful sunsets.

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