Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The first break is the deepest

I've broken a bone.  The first one for me, and this one hurts real bad.  Probably all of them hurt bad.  I broke my number 9 rib, which if you count on a friend from the top down, you'll get to it.  It is a few up from the floating ribs and I'm not quite sure the size, but I think I've eaten enough pig ribs to get a feel for the dimensions.  But probably smaller than a pigs.  Sounds tasty, right?  So here I am in Big Sky Ski Resort, in Montana, and we've been skiing for a few days, and we decided to go up to the top of the highest peak.  It was a long ride up with the Gondola, and when we arrived at the top we could see it was quite steep all around.  The south slope is the most gentle, but still a black diamond run.  I've done several black diamond runs and wasn't worried about the steepness, but as we began our descent, I noticed a lot of rocks.  It wasn't that the snow was deep and a few rocks stuck up, it was the snow was really thin, and rocks were underneath and everywhere.  The snowboard crunched and scraped from the rocks every few feet and I went over to a patch of untouched powder to get into deeper snow.  It wasn't deeper, in fact.  It was just the same, but not packed down, so I would sink into it and then hit the rocks.  I tried to go slowly and then turn and go slow again, but on one of the turns, I sped up a little (you have to speed up in the turns, because you point the board downhill for that short time) and then I fell.  I've fallen many times, and usually I slide a little bit, but this time, hidden in the powder, a rock was lurking.  It felt like a pillar kind of rock and I hit it with my side.  It hurt a lot, but when you feel the muscles tensing up and the pain diminish you know that it is worse than you think.  I tumbled a little, then came to a stop and lay back in the snow.  When i moved, I could feel a crunch.  Not a good kind of crunch, like the crunch of a bag of unexpected chips that you forgot you had in your pocket and discovered when you were hungry.  Not that kind of crunch at all.  So I figured I broke a rib, or two.  Lindsay was far down the hill, signaling for me to come on down and asking if I was all right and I eventually called her and said no.  She called the Ski Patrol, who arrived on scene and did all the Wilderness First Responder checks (things that I learned how to do last year) and put me in a sled and slid me down the hill.  That part was not fun.  It was a bumpy ride.  They also put me on oxygen, since I had trouble breathing and it was something like 11,000 ft.  Kind fellows.  Then they got me to the ambulance and to the hospital where they did an ultrasound to check for bleeding (and my spleen) and then an X ray to look at the bones.  I can't show you the actual X ray for me, because they didn't give it to me, but here is one I found online.  You can see the rib has a slight jump to it, and that is what you see with mine.  Not much else.
I'll be taking it easy for a while until it heals, hopefully in 4-6 weeks.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


 Its been a nice january so far.  El Nino conditions supposedly mean that there will be lots of swell coming to Mexico, but up until this month those promises were not coming through.  But January, that wonderful month of gift giving, seems to be providing with waves.  As a result, and in no way an apology to a certian Seattlite complainer, I have been delayed in my blogging.  Too much good waves and no time to write.
So, what have the Altairians been up to this month?  You might not ever have asked that question to yourself, but in my conceit I will show and tell you all about it.  First of all, the weather has finally begun to be more like the "normal" winter conditions, with a thermal wind every day and great sailing conditions.  The water is getting cooler now, so I am ususally cold when I am in the water, unless I am swimming hard (and surfing hard) the whole time.  Sitting around gets chilly.  A wetsuit is too warm though.  We've made some friends with other boats, and one such invited us to go for a walk from Sayulita (a touristy town to the north) to another town further up the coast.  We had a nice time walking on the beach,

 On the way we found a ton of little beautiful jellyfish-like thing, the Portugese Man of War .  They look so cute we thought we should give one a little kiss...  No we didn't.  They are really painful and toxic stingy, so we watched out where we walked.  I made a little video of one that is moving its sail around.  I guess the helmsman realized he was aground and tried to turn the boat, but needed to change sail during the process...

After a bit further walking we came upon the river that flows down through San Pancho, and explored the life around it.  There was a Green Kingfisher perched in the trees, watching for fishes...

 And some firework flowers, or whatever they are.  Also, but not pictured, there was a small flock of Whistling Ducks.  Not the Fulvus Whistling Ducks, but the Black Winged kind.  Still, I am closer than ever to finding my first Fulvus Whistling Duck.  I eagerly await the day.  I didn't get a good picture so that is why you don't get to see them.
 After the hike, a few days later, I was challenged to a sailing race!  The beautiful Shamaness and I took off on a 4 hour sailing race around some islands and back to the anchorage where we started.  I like that they are willing to do impromptu racing like this.  Shamaness is a much heavier boat, but also longer, than Altair, and consequently, in light air I would have the advantage, but in lots of wind she can go faster.  There was plenty of wind on this day, so I was nervous.  Also, there was a good amount of waves, and a heavier boat can take the waves better than poor little Altair.
Initially, I had a spinnaker up and we were running nearly the same speed, with Shamaness ahead by 100 yards.  The wind shifted and I had to change sails (which took me a few minutes by my self) so I fell further behind.  Then at the corner around the island I put the spinnaker up again and gained to near even, and then in changing sails for the upwind run lost about 400 yards.  For the long upwind leg I chose to go a bit lower to the wind and it paid off, and I won the race by 30 seconds.  It was marvelous.
And last night I had a campfire on the beach, to watch the sun go down and roast a little bit of sausage.  There is a lot to do down here that is nice and peaceful, including surfing.