A few days ago I spent the night on my boat, waking at six in the morning to the smell of baking bread. There are very few aromas in the world that smell better! All I could do was get up, make a hot cup of tea, smell the baking bread, and enjoy the sunrise.
Speaking of tea. A little over a year ago I spent some time in Victoria, British Columbia. I came away with an appreciation for fresh tea. Not the stale tea bags you see in the grocery store. I’m talking fresh, loose leaf teas found in specialty tea shops. Since then, I have acquired some favorites. Step on my boat and one of the things you are bound to notice is the selection of teas for various occasions. My favorite for everyday use is Keemun, a smooth, rich black tea from China. For something a bit different try Lapsang Souchong, a very smokey black tea reminiscent of a camp fire in a pine forest. How about a nice Chocolate Mint tea. Add a bit of honey and enjoy. Then, there are the green teas with names like Dragon Well and Jasmine Pearls, an interesting tea that is dried with layers of jasmine petals. Add some hot water and the aroma of jasmine fills the room. Whichever is your favorite, enjoy it with a good story.
While on the subject of good stories, a friend recently mentioned he has gotten into reading the novels and short stories of Jack London. At the time, I wasn’t aware that Jack London was quite a sailor, and wrote a number of stories about sailing on San Francisco Bay. I have to admit that I am now hooked. A great story to start with is “Small-Boat Sailing”. As an added benefit, all of Jack London’s works are available online for free. I personally added them to my Kindle library and am working my way through them on lazy days.
So, what does all this have to do with sailing and skipper’s tips. The only time you can smell bread baking in Marina Bay is when the wind is out of the North or North West. There is a bakery about a mile away, and if the wind is just right the smell of warm bread comes wafting through the marina. Wind from the North is the first sign winter is approaching! I personally take that first North wind as the sign to start paying a bit more attention to those Small Craft Advisories San Francisco is famous for. During the summer, a Small Craft Advisory is the sign of a great day of sailing. During the winter, a Small Craft Advisory is accompanied by shifting, gusting winds, and often storms. Always treat a Small Craft Advisory in the winter with respect. When you see one, maybe you should put some breakfast rolls in the oven, grab a hot cup of tea and a good Jack London story and enjoy the day at home instead of on the water.