Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Stormy Spring Break

Black storm clouds threaten the La Cruz anchorage

Espiritu had her first bath in weeks recently when 
a major storm blew through from the north. 

But before the actual rain, wind and lightning arrived, we got really big swells.

Check out this photo below: it's taken from the deck of Espiritu. The mast you see in the photo is our closest neighbor in the anchorage. The swells are so large that the boat itself appears to be completely engulfed by the water. After lifting us up 5-10 feet high, the swell promptly dropped us and barreled towards shore. Yikes. Scary but kinda fun. 

A crazy-huge swell appears to engulf and swamp our nearest boat in the anchorage

It was a cold storm, too. Everybody dug out their cold weather gear, tucked away for weeks.

La Cruz Chihuahua wears his "McCloud" style wool lined jacket

I know, kids, not only have you never seen the classic 70's TV show "McCloud," you've never even heard of it, or its star Dennis Weaver. It was a cool show. He was a wild west cop who rode his horse around New York City fighting crime in his fur-lined jacket and cowboy hat.  I know, it sounds preposterous, but back then it seemed pretty cool and believable. 

But I was 13, so what did I know?

A laughing gull heads ashore to hunker down for the storm

Dark clouds gather over the anchorage

A storm cell deluges nearby Bucerias

What this ominous photo doesn't show is the lightning and thunder (yikes) 

We had a sleepless night of lighting, rain and 20-30 knot winds, with everyone on anchor watch. I still don't really know how we survived 6 months in the Central American rainy season. This was the stormy, scary scenario pretty much every day and night in Costa Rica and Panama. It became routine, I guess -- like an employee working under a cruel, abusive boss becomes routine. You adapt and learn to live with it, but the stress wears on you.

The morning after

Anyway, the storm blew through, the balmy tropical weather returned, and we hopped the bus into Puerto Vallarta to buy some watermaker supplies.

After we jumped off the bus in PV, suddenly dozens of dozens of girls wearing nothing but bikinis sauntered past us on the street.

Well, it wasn't ALL girls, but the girl/guy ratio was easily 20/1. Not only were 
they wearing only bikinis, they didn't even have shoes on!

Where did they come from? Where were they going?
They walked up to a resort hotel and plopped down outside the front entrance.

I asked them what the story was, and I found out they had just 
arrived from Penn State for Spring Break. 

I can't be sure, but I think these girls just stepped right onto the plane in Pennsylvania wearing only bikinis. Really, it's all you need for spring break, right? They don't even need purses, because if they play their cards right, they should not need to actually buy any of their own drinks.  And flying without any luggage or carry-ons, well, come on, it's kind of a brilliant idea. I might try it the next time I fly to a tropical locale.

This girl on the right was the ONLY one (out of dozens) in a cover-up. I'm not certain, but I think she was promptly shunned forever for this act of aggression, and excommunicated from her sorority.

But the question remained: where were the guys? 

Dozens of Penn State beauties fly to Puerto Vallarta for spring break wearing nothing but bikinis, and practically NO male students come along? What's going on in Pennsylvania? Are all of the young men in Iraq and Afghanistan? Seriously. I'm actually a little worried...

This guy, though? NOT worried. I heard him mutter 
"Fish in a barrel..." as he passed. Yes, surely he had himself 
the most pleasant of all Spring Breaks!

The next day, I returned to the orphanage in Bucerias 
for an afternoon shift with the adorable kids.

Me and a few of the girls (as opposed to my Penn State friends, these little ladies were actually wearing CLOTHES) at the orphanage singing and goofing around

It was the cook, Anna Maria's birthday, so we sang 
her a rousing "Feliz Cumpleanos" 

Left to right: Natalia, age 6, Charlene, age 5, and feisty little Priscilla, age 2

The cook Anna Maria has her own family whom she returns to every night, but really she is the closes thing to a mother that these kids have.

They bought her a little present, and the best gift of all -- heartfelt hugs


All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. 

We are tied to the ocean.

 And when we go back to the sea -- whether it is to sail or to watch it -- we are going back from whence we came.

-- John F. Kennedy

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