Monday, December 11, 2006

Hook Down in the Pearl of the Pacific

Like the the spawn of Godzilla, there is no getting rid of Hopalong and its hardy crew of two(your humble correspondent and his magnificent wife). We arrived about noon on Sunday in Mazatlan following three nights at sea. We nearly killed each other on 2.75 occasions. But we have learned once again lessons of the sea.

First, take a day sail – following an extended layoff from the sea -- before you set out on a three-day passage, no matter how many sea miles you have under your personal flotation device. A boat that hasn't been sailed for months needs to be rechecked better than we did. So does the crew. Then you don't have to wrestle with lines and knots while hanging from from a precarious perch that might pitch you into the plunging seas many miles from shore.

After a long layoff, be prepared for equipment to fail. A leak popped up from our rudder post when we were about 100 miles out. Crawling under the cockpit sole with two 1/2-inch wrenches to attack the steering quadrant took care of that.

Then there are the problems that you can't fix, such as the ones with the Alpha autopilot, which became crankier than the crew and yawed unmercifully. Sleep was nearly impossible as the boat rolled in response. That was unfixable because Alpha refuses to disclose the secrets of its autopilot, which cannot be opened without actually breaking something (as in cracking open a part) on the $3,000 device.

Now for good news: We successfully performed the most important task of a sailor -- listening to Mother Nature. She tells you when to sail and when not to. Our passage took us three days. Another sailboat of the same size left the same port we did, but seven days earlier and just arrived here a few hours before us. The difference is that the other boat was so beaten up by nasty waves in the Sea of Cortez that they had to put into shelter on two different occasions and wait until the sea had settled down.

What does this have to with the California stem cell agency, the subject of this blog? Really nothing. But we can tell the folks at CIRM that timing and patience are important ingredients in success. Luck too. Stay tuned for hot stuff on stem cell affairs – as soon as I catch up on all the events that occurred while we were at sea.

(Mazatlan is known as the Pearl of the Pacific with the highest lighthouse, as I recall, on the west coast of North America. Great banana coconut cream pie (spelled pay in Spanish) at Pedro y Lola's in Old Mazatlan, as well.) Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

  1. I will see the first news about stem cells on your blog!