Elephant Butte Lake, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008
International Etchells USA 438, "Caliente" visible in the distance.
Friday, December 19, 2008 had good winds at Elephant Butte Lake, but "Zorro" was unable to sail; an acquaintance of his had been shot and killed across the border from El Paso in Juarez. Tragically, Juarez has experienced extraordinary violence and an out-of-control homicide rate in recent months.
On Saturday, though, Zorro was able to go to Elephant Butte Lake, so we drove down to join him, to squeeze in a bit of sailing before going back to Albuquerque to join Gerald and pick up a couple of his friends to go north to our cabin near Heron Lake in northern New Mexico.
"Ribbons", the new owner of a thirty-foot-long Etchells racing sloop, also appeared, initially planning just to look over his boat. But, since I was available to crew and to try to answer a few of his questions about the boat, we were able to sail out a little after Zorro and Carol Anne ("Batgal") had left the harbor on Zorro's Etchells, "Constellation".
Although we only could sail for a few hours, the sailing was pretty good, with breezes from four to seven knots letting us work up and down the main race area and set the chute for downwind runs and reaches. Ribbons and I were kept busy figuring out some of the more oddball rigging arrangements from the past owner and making notes of things that needed replacing, adjusting, or figuring out, but we still had a great sail.
Unfortunately, when we returned to Albuquerque, we found out that Gerald's friends had postponed joining us at our cabin and instead had made other plans, in spite of Gerald having driven 400 miles and camped out in a back yard to retrieve one of them for the express and sole purpose of visiting us. Later, they wound up changing plans and not joining Gerald and us at all, which we didn't find out until Gerald had driven 165 miles one-way from our cabin to pick them up. So, we wasted opportunities for more sailing with Zorro and Ribbon, disrupted our holiday plans, wasted household preparations for guests (including buying a 20.7-lb. turkey), and wasted some 750 miles of driving, and two or three days' worth of our time, because of inconsiderate would-be guests who made no apology and took no consideration for our efforts.
Rock Canyon Marina near the end of the day on Saturday, December 20, 2008. Pontoon boat in motion is being used as a marina work boat to carry material between the marina and nearby Rock Canyon boat ramp at Elephant Butte Lake State Park in southern New Mexico.
New Mexico is a land of fascinating contrasts, both natural and cultural. On Saturday we were sailing in near-shirtsleeve weather in southern New Mexico; just a day or few days later we were watching heavy snow accumulate in the mountains of northern New Mexico.