Clink, slap, clink, slap, clink, clink, clink, slap, slap, slap, slap, clink. It's like a far-off kinder garden class indulging in a free percussion period. But this cacophony of rope slapping hollow metal and the dull squeak of the slacking and tensing of tethers between wooden boat and wooden slip, is as welcome as the radiant sun.
I am sailing on a boat with no name and this fact bothers me more than it should. As we motor out of the marina, the open sea looks ominous despite a confident sun. Suddenly we have company. Three sea kayaks sidle up along side us before dropping back to trail closely in our wake. It seems that they are taking advantage of some kind of nautical physics that's lost on me, but that provides ease of passage for the kayaks - like wheeling your bicycle over the sand in someone else's tracks.
When time to cut the motor presents itself, the kayakers peel off and I watch them continue on determinedly in that focused, athletic way so alien to me. We are sailing. As we exit the Marina between the artificial, rocky headlands the pungent, acidic and foul odor of the faces of hundreds of thousands of sea birds explodes in the air. I wonder if all those Marina del Rey, high-rise developments suffer stray wafts of this offensive odor when the wind gets up? I wonder too if - as is the way of the wallet - residents of these developments will have the birds moved along? Probably.
We pass a fellow standing upright on a surfboard of sorts that resembles a kind of serving platter. He's not surfing though, he's paddling, with a paddle. What is he doing? Really? Where's he going? Or is this an exercise in fun? He's close to the bird-infested rocky crops and I wonder if he will be mistaken for a hunk of stone and find himself lathered in bird doo doo or better still, if a sea lion will mistake him for a hot sea lioness, I'd just spotted one nearby doing seal yoga - 'The Upward Belly.'
Not too far along, I hear the unmistakable, absurd barking of a spin instructor. For the love of God! I have to be plagued by the personal trainer set not only on Abbot Kinney Blvd, but now out at sea?! I was mistaken. It was a high-school, girls' rowing team in training. The giggles, the reprimands, the camaraderie ... memories of girls' school come flooding back.
The Marina is a hive of activity as we hit the open waters. Boats are bobbing and then thrashing about as the wind picks up. Looking back east toward the shore, Venice looks so uncharacteristically quiet. It's such a clear afternoon, not a smudge on the skyline and I swear I can see the actual color of the leaves on the trees in the far-off mountains. The houses on the boardwalk flash blindingly, reflecting important, encrypted messages for us sea-folk. Venice is trying to tell us something in the hundreds of color-coded beach towels arranged cryptically on the sand. If only I were smart enough to understand.
We are under a mile off the beach, when using the Venice Pier as a ruler to guesstimate. I wonder how long it would take me to swim to shore if we sank? A lot longer than the two dolphins I saw doing their synchronized swimming thing in tandem, poking fun at my lack of personal fins as they passed me by. It's time to turn around and the Captain puts me in charge of steering. I'm promptly fired as we come about nearly without a crew member. Oops. I love sailing, but I never said I could do it very well.
When life's a beach in Venice, it really is a beach. Now get up! Come out of your cave. Put the computer away. Look at this weather! It's time to play!
Copyright © 2010 V
Angelenos in the Sun
Copyright © 2010 V
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