November 16, 1997
Oxnard, California, USA
I paddled away from Carpinteria this morning at 10am, leaving my new friends Tina, and Bill, their kids, Joe, Ashley, and Shawn, as well as Bob and Bette, waving good-bye on the beach. Today was another day of near perfect conditions: a light tail wind and small following seas. Unfortunately, I forgot to undo the bungy cord that locks my rudder in place, making it impossible to steer with my foot peddles. The wind was blowing a little off to my right hand side, which kept "weather-vaneing" the boat seaward. Near the end of the day my right arm got uncomfortably tired from compensating, and I got frustrated and began to curse and holler.
After a few minutes of being stupid, I figured I should shut-up and fix the problem, instead of just bitching about it. I stabilized the boat with my paddle float and sponsons, then wiggled on my belly toward the stern until I could reach the rudder, and undo the bungy. It was quite a balancing act. After the task was successfully accomplished, I was very proud of myself and felt much better.
At around 3:30pm, I pulled into Ventura harbor and headed straight for the first open dock I could find. The man who owned the dock was standing there as I pulled up, and gave me permission to leave my boat docked there for the night. In front of my boat, was a small yacht being repaired by two men. We had only exchanged a few words before one of the men says to me, "If you dont mind leaving your boat unattended, youre welcome to stay at my place tonight." "Will you be coming back here in the morning?", I asked. He nodded. "Yeah, first thing..." "Sounds like a plan!", I responded. It is hard to believe life can be so easy. "What have I done to deserve this good fortune!?!", I pondered.
I had an hour to blow before departing for Johns place, so I set off to get my email. First, I went to the Long Board Grill. They were nice folks, but couldnt help me, and suggested I go to the Bait and Tackle shop next door. The B&T shop told me, "We dont let folks use the phone. Try the 76 Convenience store." The lady at the 76 told me she couldn help me, so I went to a mobile home park. I knocked on a door and a lady in her early seventies answered. I gave her my story. She told me that I would have to ask her husband. Her husband came to the door and looked at me like I was selling vacuums. I felt uncomfortable. "I am hoping you might allow me to use your phone line to get my email." I said. "It wont cost you anything; its a toll free number." "Ive heard of folks being asked the same thing, then getting ripped-off." he responded, "Im not willing to take that risk." "Okay", I said, "...I understand. Have a good evening."
The mobile home park was for retired folks, so I figured I might have better luck if I went where there are homes with families. A dude at Long Boards suggested I go to the house of a co-worker who lives nearby. A high school aged girl came to the door, and again, I was refused. I asked her, "Do you know of anyone who might be willing to help me?" "No..." She replied, "I cant think of anyone who would let a stranger into their home". "Okay...Well... thanks anyway." I said, then turned and headed to the hotel across the street.
I walked into a lounge area and approached a young lady sitting at a desk. She told me that shed have to ask her boss - a man standing behind the bar on the other side of the room, watching I Love Lucy on a big screen TV. The two of us walked over to him, and the lady explained my request. He was quick to reply with a "No-can-do!". I then made a comment stating, "I never had trouble getting my email up North. People are totally paranoid around here!" With that said, I immediately saw a change in the mans attitude. I guess he realized I was calling him paranoid. "Why dont you try this jack over here..." he suggested, pointing to the wall behind the bar.
Shortly after arriving back at the dock, John and I, jumped in his van and drove to his home in Oxnard. For supper, Johns wife, Debby, made enchiladas with shrimp on the side. Thats what I was planning on having for supper tonight anyway... NOT!
John and Debby both live for sailing. They have named their dog, Cruiser, and cat, Dingy. In a couple of years, they will shove-off on a sailing journey around the world. Of all the people I could have met this afternoon, Im quite sure these folks would have been the coolest. It just blows me away how this keeps happening. I am eating a bowl of ice cream... in a beautiful house... with a warm cozy bed waiting for me.