An Open Break-Up Letter To San Diego

(October 22 – 29, 2017)  Oh, San Diego. I didn’t think it would come to this. I thought we might be right for each other, but it’s just not working out. We’re too different. You’re a city trying to be a fancy, car-centric suburb or city (you seem confused on that point), and I’m a suburban dropout trying to be a car-free, cheap-ass, hippy-dippy cruiser. We’re not right for each other. Sure, we had fun together, but there’s more to cruising than just having fun. When it comes time to go back to real life – groceries, laundry, even bathing – you fall short. But okay, I’ll indulge one last reminiscence.

Now that I think about it, our relationship started off rocky when we had to motor for nearly two hours just to anchor. The water at our anchorage was fairly murky, but we quickly forgot about that initial meeting. We were seeing someone else at the time – Legoland – and that short but intense rendezvous made us forget all about you for a time.

Then, a while later, we met again. I’d forgotten you, so to me it felt like the first time, all the negativity of that initial encounter completely forgotten. It was hot, and the girls were exhausted from our last fling, so we didn’t even notice you at first. We stayed on the boat and just played and relaxed for a time.

And then we met you at the mall, remember? We had to get our computers fixed, so we took a Lyft to the Apple Store in Fashion Valley Mall. My keyboard on my laptop was all gunked up, and the keyboard on my iPad didn’t work at all. I used to like malls, but now they almost feel uncomfortable. But, you promised to fix my computers and make everything okay again. You made me feel secure in what had become, for me, an unfamiliar place. I wanted to get to know you better by taking the trolley, but unfortunately a Lyft for the four of us was less expensive, so we left you and went back to the boat.

Morgan wearing her sunhat after dark at the beach party, whilst tie-dying.

The next day, we were like ships passing in the night. We were busy with other cruising families, and that evening we went to that beach party – do you remember? It was right there on the bay side of the beach in Coronado, after sunset, in the dark. The kids played on the toys, and Morgan and Aksel snuck off for some alone time to sit and chat in the twilight. If they were just a few years old, I would have had to keep a MUCH closer eye on them! We had so much fun, and Violet from Sassafras brought a tie-dye kit, and the kids all made shirts with her and Jack’s (from Tuwamish) help. It was warm, but not hot, and comfortable. Again, you drew me in with a sense of comfort.

That’s when things between us started to get hot and heavy. Really hot and heavy. So hot that the air was literally heavy with the heat. So hot that most of the city closed the schools early.

I think that was our “honeymoon” phase. There was a community pool right there in Coronado by the dinghy dock – one of the few in the entire bay – and we’d heard we could buy a day pass to go swimming there. But when we arrived, you welcomed us with open arms for free. Your excuse? It was so hot, and the kids were out of school, so you were hosting “beat the heat” days for free at the air-conditioned community center and outdoor pool. What a clever way to lure us in. And it worked. We loved your pool – the zero-depth entry, with a deep end around the corner – it kept both the younger and older kids quite content. For two days, we played, and splashed, and had snacks, and simply enjoyed our life with you.

The next day, you seemed more shrouded, more guarded, than usual. We tried to ask what was wrong, but your veil was so thick we couldn’t see into it. After a few hours, your fog lifted, and you seemed like yourself again. We were excited to know more about you, as we’d been stationary for a week at that point, so we picked up anchor and headed over to the anchorage in La Playa, at Shelter Island. It was then that everything started to fall apart.

Thick fog the morning we moved from Coronado to La Playa.
Ellie with the Easter Island-esque figures at Bali Hai.
Rafted with SV Westy in La Playa.

At first, you showed us a great time. We rafted up with Westy, and the girls had a blast playing with Aksel. Jason and Ashton came aboard to view what would be their home for the next 10 days during the Baja Ha-Ha. That night, we went to Bali Hai and had an amazing, fun, and delicious dinner. You even showed us a great Baja Ha-Ha kickoff party at the West Marine. (Although you showed your juvenile side when only the lewd costumes won the costume contests – even in the kids’ division, a parade of cuties were beat out by the eight-year-old dressed up as a flasher-in-training. Ug, the things I looked past for you.)

The kids in costume for the Baja Ha-Ha kickoff party. From left: Pirate Ashton, Mal (Maleficent’s Daughter) Morgan, Belle Ellie, and from SV Westy, Ninja Aksel
Mal/Morgan being silly at the Baja kickoff party.

But when it came to day-to-day things, you’d been distant from the beginning. Back in the first anchorage in Coronado, dinghy docks were hard to come by. How do you expect us to fully enjoy all you have to offer if we can’t even get to shore? Dinghy docks were no better at Shelter Island, but luckily the gas dock was letting people tie up there, so we could at least see you during their open hours. But they were only open 7AM to 6PM, and we weren’t able to make a life together during that limited amount of time.

What’s more, the Baja Ha-Ha was nearing, and we only had three days until we left. We tried to settle into a more normal routine with you – you know, the less glamorous side of life, and being together. We had to do laundry, and get groceries, and buy boat parts. You made it so hard. When it came to laundry, you didn’t want to participate at all. Boat parts, sure, you helped out a little with that, but due to distance, you made grocery shopping such a miserable and expensive chore. At that point, it was clear that, despite your glamour, we simply couldn’t be together. I can see now that, all along, you thought of me as a homeless nuisance that you just put up with, and not someone that could enrich you or help you grow.

So, I’m taking my love elsewhere. Somewhere it will be appreciated. I’ve met someone, you know. His name is Mexico. We’re just getting to know each other, but so far, he treats me like a queen. Sure, he and I started off glamorously just like you and I did – the wining and dining and all that – but he’s also eager to help me out with and participate in my day-to-day life. We’re getting along really well together. It’s the relationship I had hoped for you and me.

I know it’s hard to think about now, but don’t worry – you’ll find someone right for you. Some land-dweller with a car, and an in-home washer and dryer. I don’t think less of you for it – we’re just different. I’ll always think of our time together fondly, and I wish you the best.

With Fondness,


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