Life Afloat #1: Sex, Sailing & Swimming


blurry view of SF at night from the water

“Oh! Oh! Oh! OOOH!” It was 3AM, Saturday morning, and the sounds of obnoxiously loud sex were floating over the marina water. The hatches of the sailboat were all open. The night was windless, cool and beautiful, and apart from the sex, peacefully quiet. I was glad at least someone was taking advantage of it.

I tried to go back to sleep, but “OH OH OH OH!”, the repetitive high pitched screams were sometimes high, sometimes moaning, but always incessant!  4AM. “OH! OH!” 4:30AM “OH! OWAWK!”  ? 5AM “OH!” 6:30AM “OH! OWAWK! OH! OH! OH!” ?  I had to imagine the girl would be hoarse by now and HO.LY.CRAP. this dude has stamina! Three and a half hours!? On an amazingly good day, I’m much more used to three and a half minutes!

Many possible scenarios were entertained. Maybe he took too much viagra. Maybe there were multiple guys? Maybe there were multiple guys and girls? Alone in the berth of the sailboat, the only thing that was clear was the fact that I was doing something wrong.

Saturday dawned magnificent. I did manage to sleep from 6-7 or so before being awoken by the sun streaming in the forward hatch. Thoughts of obnoxious sex passed and I plodded off to the marina showers. They’re crappy gym showers with no amenities save long lasting hot water and great water pressure. After spending all day in a constant 55-65 degrees in an uninsulated fiberglass shell, these showers are usually one of the highlights of my days.

I spent the rest of the morning researching my many questions about the boat. Why does my battery charger hum? Why do I have a loud hum in my speakers when connected to shore power? What’s an isolation transformer?  What in god’s name is wrong with the toilet? What are sacrificial zincs and why do I need them checked? What should I name her?

Finally, at 11AM, my friend stopped by and we sailed out into sunny and anomalously still San Francisco bay. I realized that I’m much better at single-handing the boat, as well as navigating the treacherously shallow waters that lead into and out of the marina. The butterflies I get when pulling the boat out of the dock have also slowly subsided.

calm waters at the golden gate

calm waters at the golden gate

We motor-sailed out to Angel Island, then killed the motor, and set the sails and autopilot to just mosey on along at 1 or 2 mph while we ate cheese, crackers, and wine in front of the Golden Gate bridge. The sun was brutally hot without the wind, so I suggested that we jump in the bay (read: the pacific ocean). This suggestion was met with mild enthusiasm, provided, of course, that I went first.

Strangely, I did not feel ridiculous standing on the boat’s swim ladder in only my skivvies. This feeling of ridiculousness kept itself at bay until a microsecond after I had jumped in and realized that HOLY SHIT THE PACIFIC OCEAN IS COLD! On hindsight, I knew this already. I seem to never really know something, though, until I get punched in the balls with the truth, feeling the complete, unadulterated knowledge coursing through my body. See, that’s knowledge.

Another new academic achievement included realizing that a boat moving away from you at only 1mph while you are flailing in 100 feet of freezing cold water is akin to your life line abandoning you at light speed. I shrieked (a manly shriek, of course) and swam in panic-riddled strokes back to the safety of the ladder.

The best part about this ill-conceived swim was stretching out on the sunny deck, air drying in the light breeze, all while bobbing along next to the Golden Gate bridge.

sunset over the marina

sunset over the marina

Saturday night was another windless quiet night, and I slept well. That is, until at 3AM, I awoke yet again to ‘OH! OH! OH!’ Non stop banging love!? Again, this went on until 6:30 in the morning!! I couldn’t believe it. I finally popped my head out of the hatch yet again, trying to pinpoint the source. It seems like I had done that 10 times the previous night, becoming what is referred to as a Hatch Gopher. Finally, this time, out of the corner of my eye I caught movement and a loud ‘OH! OH! OWAWK!’  Turns out it was a fucking bird!! (pun intended)  Again, in hindsight, I probably knew this already. OWAWK is not normally a sound made in passion. But hey, in my defense, in a three and a half hour, epic round of non-stop passion, anything’s possible at that point.