In Search of the Southwest Passage


Van dropped anchor in El Paso19:15 hours. Two reasons are behind this effort to sail the Southwest Deserts: Most important is gathering together a widely distributed set of our children. The long weekend has been an astounding success with good bonding and family renewal sure to provide confidence as all of us begin new adventures.

It has been a good shakedown cruise for Van and her crew. Van behaved remarkably well but the crew discovered it had a lot to learn about stowage.

The second reason, a very strong one albeit second to gathering the family, is the search for warmth. Mariner’s idea of warmth is Cancun, Mexico. In this respect, the cruise has been a dismal failure. Heavy snow, cold, sunless days overcast such that running lights were required. From Oklahoma to Flagstaff, the high was 34°F. Dropping down into the Phoenix basin did not improve things much with highs running 38° to a best of 50°F and a stiff cold wind to boot.

Arizona and New Mexico host three very large desserts; the flora and fauna is outstanding – the weather did not pass muster. Even as we steered Van into lower latitudes, El Paso offered 41°F with the coldest wind yet. Mariner is aware that San Antonio sits astride two biomes: to the north, one can expect weather very similar to our experience so far. To the south, there is a remarkable change in flora suggesting that it is virtually always warmer and does not experience hard frosts. It is in this more pleasant clime that the crew will dock Van for two days before we cruise to relatives and friends in Wylie, Texas and Havana, Arkansas – then back to home port for even colder weather.

Iowa caucuses grow near. Vote at any cost – but vote wisely. The US culture has come to a standstill that requires significant, visible commitment mostly from voters.

Ancient Mariner


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