Every great adventure must end so another can begin, that is how we nourish our short lives. As with every ending there are stories and memories to share with others throughout our lives. We influence, inspire, and encourage one another to find their own adventure with our stories. This is the ending of Cyrano’s story and I want to thank every one of my readers for following me and in return for your patience, your time, and I hope I have given you the excitement and courage to go out and find your adventure.
It has been several months since my last post, there is no excuse. I have been putting this off, not knowing quite how to form this post. Some adventures are easier to let go of than others…this one will be hard to leave behind.
Upon entering the bay in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico my mom was having extreme pain in her feet, her hips, and especially in her left shoulder. The pain started after leaving Cabo San Lucas, granted the trip was rough and we had initially though she may have hurt herself, but her pain was extensive and lasting. Eventually a dingy ride into town was quite unbearable and therefore she could not leave the boat if we were anchored. Her chronic pain, hardly controlled by pain medicines, was concerning the rest of us, what if we had an emergency? This was always our first question and it could usually be answered quickly, like it should be, but this time there was no answer.
Not so much denial, I would say, but rather hope. We hoped mom would get better, that her pain would resolve itself with the help of pain medication. It was this thinking that allowed us to leave La Cruz after three months of vacationing there. At the time the better choice would have been to stay and see a doctor, but now I look back and say I would not have had it turn out any other way.
We did see a doctor in Zihuatanejo, he had some newer medicine designed specifically for arthritis-like symptoms. Such a nice man was this doctor, he sent us on our way with two more syringes full of this medicine plus some back up medicine in case the syringes stopped working. He had supposed mom was struggling with the effects of MS and unfortunately MS had the habit of adapting and surpassing the prescribed medicines. The medicine in the syringes made mom feel like she was nineteen again! She danced, she sang, she was apart of the crew again and I was so grateful.
The joy was short lived for the Miracle Medicine, as we called it, lasted a week and no more. We resorted to the backup pills which also failed after four days of testing. The Miracle Medicines prescribed by the Zihuatanejo doctor worked brilliantly, but like he had predicted the foreign illness had worsened and with great consequences.
Dad and I would meet on the aft deck and discuss our solutions the ‘What Ifs?’. The stress was one thing to reckon with, this was my family and what happened if there was an emergency that called for all of us to abandon ship. This was not a likely scenario, but nonetheless, how would we manage that….? We couldn’t and that knowledge weighed heavily on dad’s shoulders.
Mom’s Miracle Medicine lasted us at least a month, we had tried plan A, plan B, and plan C. It had carried us down to the edge of the Tehuantepec, just a few miles away from Salina Cruz and even then we were so close to Central America that we had all turned a blind eye and prompted ourselves to go further. We could make it, we would make it, we would see Central America! We were all responsible for this foolish thinking.
Despite the fact that mom could walk no more than twenty feet we decided to leave Chahue Marina in Hualtuco and cross the Tehuantepec. A three hundred mile stretch that was unpredictable, hot, and dangerous, this was what we had been preparing ourselves for. Thankfully it did not live up to its reputation, but we did experience some strange phenomenons. The trip was easy, dare I say and we reached Chiapas Marina safely, but mom was still in pain. We were just twenty miles from the Guatemala Border, but our situation worsened with the intense heat, large mosquitoes, and relentless humidity. This was the last straw, we had been arguing over it for weeks, but again no one wanted to admit our time had come. We needed to turn around, we needed to stop, we needed help.
We did stop, we did turn around, we did abandon the dream of crossing the Guatemala Border. In four days we turned ourselves around and crossed the Tehuantepec in the same week, but we were cutting it short and because of this we were met with seas so fierce dad and I were on watch constantly. Mom was sleeping, I could sleep if I wanted to, but I wanted to be on watch with dad. Last time we crossed the Tehuantepec we encounter uncharted rocks, shoals, and even stationed lighthouses. We were gravely wrong if we had thought we might get out of these seas without so much as a scratch. It was in the middle of the night, of course and we had hit a monster wave quite abruptly, causing many things to crash, some of which landed on mom’s face. Following this rude awakening mom was woken to piles of files, a violin, and a small guitar all falling on top of her and her face. When dad called me into the bedroom to assist with first aid I was greeted with an apple-sized black, bloody eye. There was no damage to the eye itself, it was just was a typical black eye, but it was adding insult to injury, literally.
Due to the fact that we had a doctor in our family, our boat was stocked nicely with emergency medicines such as hydrocodone. This was a situation that called for a dose of hydrocodone. Mom’s eye was ugly, it pained me to look at her in such a state, but she was happy as a peach, oblivious to the fifteen foot waves beating us on the nose. During the day time we were all required to sit inside the pilot house with our life jackets on, no one could leave there without permission, it was the roughest seas we have ever seen. I dare say a few years may have been shaved off after this journey.
We reached Chahue Marina in the day light, we were thankful for that, but we were beaten, exhausted and frankly we were shaken. We slept for an entire day afterwards. Dock dwellers that we had met on our previous visit came forward and greeted us happily. They, like everyone else, wanted to know what had happened, if we had met bad weather, or if there was a problem with the boat. It took me several days to swallow the bitter pill of….what? Was this failure? Hardly, but somehow we hadn’t met our goals and how were we going to tell our family? How was I going to write this on my blog? How were we going to manage the end of our journey, we were thousands and thousands of miles from the country we use to call home. Was this our next home, Mexico? Perhaps temporarily, but I doubted its permanence, it wouldn’t be possible with our four birds. I did what I had to do for the next few weeks; Wondering about the future was pointless, for I hadn’t a clue what was would be happening next week.
As for what actually happened, that’s quite a journey in itself. Mom moved off the boat when we finally dosed her with enough medicine to numb the pain. With the help of Misty Michael, a Canadian Couple in their sixties, we found a hotel that was cheap, friendly, and hospitable. I would be staying and caring for my mother. When moving day came she took only a bag of clothes and I followed by her side, holding her hand. My father stayed behind to care for the birds on the boat while my mother and I lived in a Posada, which is Spanish for Inn and Restaurant.
A wide, white, concrete building with air conditioning, nice people, a favorable restaurant, and soft beds is what we needed after two years at sea. Every morning and every night was hot, but in the hopes to relieve mom of her stress we ran the air conditioning at a low twenty-two degrees Celsius. A cooler core temperature may help her aches and pains and it was a good place to relax. Maybe this is what we needed, a break.
For a long time mom couldn’t leave the hotel, but even still I would encourage her to walk down the hallway and back and this was about all she could manage. In the mornings I would walk down the stairs at eight-thirty sharp and ask for a hot drip coffee to go. I knew very little Spanish, but I was forced to learn quickly. At the hotel no one spoke English, but they were willing to be patient and help me learn. They were extremely open people and welcomed me in the morning, ask how my mom was, and would try their hardest to carry on a conversation, but it was difficult.
We were in the hotel room for about a month, frankly. It was a long stay, I admit, but at the time we were transitioning from a life we had committed ourselves to into a life that could change drastically with each day. Though my dad would visit mom and I it had become apparent that our birds needed to be relieved of their own hot situation. By visiting us in the hotel dad would leave the birds unattended and at one point dad did bring Neville, mom’s white bellied caique, into the hotel as a surprise for her. Four parrots were worth a lot and though Hualtuco was a safe place we just didn’t feel comfortable risking our bird’s lives by leaving them on Cyrano alone. Dad and I talked relentlessly about how we were going to dig ourselves out of this unexpected rut, but needless to say there were few presentable options.
Moving day came once again when we finally decided to rent a small house. A nice Canadian lady profited from renting out her house to tourists in Hualtuco and we just so happened to need a house. It was small, it was white, it was concrete, and it had a courtyard with a surrounding fence; this was our new home. We rented her house through her agent, Mimi who was a delightful young lady that spoke brilliant English. The day we moved from our hotel room was the day when the first rains hit and boy did they hit. You may think Oregon is a rainy place, but let me say that buckets of rain in twenty minutes can shake Oregon out of its reputation. When it rained in Hualtuco it really rained and it rained for a long time. The best part about the rain was that it washed the streets, cleared the air, and best of all the rain was warm and carried the heat away with each grape-sized drop. The hotel owners were nice enough to offer up their car so we can transport our birds and our belonging to our new house and we were extremely thankful. We drove through the pouring rain like unexperienced teenagers, taxis blared their furious wrath on us as they sped by and bicyclists also waved a few glares as we accidentally sprayed them with water. We made it to our house and piled inside, we were soaked and we hadn’t been outside for more than five minutes. Today I asked mom about this experience and she still claims to not remember most of what happened that day, she was still in a lot of pain even after resting in the hotel room. We had unloaded everything from the hotel room into the house, but we still needed to get the birds from the boat. Luckily the rain didn’t last very long and we were able to carry the birds from the boat to the car without too much stress. Mostly the birds were excited to be doing something new, granted they were probably a little scared, but they were happy to be placed somewhere cooler, somewhere unfamiliar, and somewhere safer.
We lived in this house for six months from May to early October. In late May and early April we encouraged mom to walk once a day as long as she wanted. Once she was able to comfortably walk into town and back we allowed her to enter the warm, blue Ocean waters. This was something we had all been looking forward to and Hualtuco was known for it’s nine gorgeously blue bays. It took a while, but she was able to swim again and eventually she was able to snorkel. During those six months we found medical care for mom through numerous doctor and later she was diagnosed in August with Rheumatoid Arthritis. With the right medicine Rheumatoid Arthritis can be managed, but it takes a constant effort from both the family and the doctor.
I did write a few posts during these six months, most confirming that we weren’t on Cyrano, but none actually admitting to the end of journey. In early October we had enough of Hualtuco and the extreme heat, we needed a change and mom needed better medical help. She was in a stable position and therefore we booked the first flight into Portland, Oregon. Our birds stayed with a local veterinarian in Mexico whom we trusted dearly, we had no clue how long we would be separated from them. It was very difficult leaving everything behind, our birds and our boat primarily, but keep in mind that the boat was our home with all of our belongings. Safe in the marina the boat would wait until dad flew down in November with a crew. The plan is to retrieve the birds from our veterinarian and to sail them and our boat back to The States with his crew of two. He has been gone a month, but as of yesterday he is less than a hundred miles from the border of the United States.
That is how Cyrano’s story will end, she will return to the United States carrying my dad, our four parrots, and all of our belongings. It’s been a long two years, but this unimaginable journey has brought all of us a well of stories to share around Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. I want to thank all of my readers for following me so diligently, I greatly appreciate all of you. In return I hope you can go forth and find your own journeys either big or small, scary or thrilling for it is never too late to go out and have the adventure of a lifetime.