The songs run through my mind as quickly as the white flapping canvas above slams into place as my daughter Candy turns the boat. My daughter turns the boat. This sounds so preposterous, my daughter sailing! A 25-foot Capri sailboat, no less. I wouldn't believe it if I wasn't sitting right here ducking quickly under the sails to allow their sudden change.
I know now to tuck under as fast as possible when they yell the "tack" word to avoid being slammed by the sails overhead. I swear that she was yelling "ready to ATTACK" attack her mother, that is!
I'll just let them carry on their little lingo and sit back and watch the Sportscenter and shoreline diminish. As the boat gains its freedom, I start to gain mine. The weight of responsibility starts to lift and I hear nothing but the sound of lapping water and Jimmy Buffet serenading me from the Sportscenter's outdoor speakers. I close my eyes and delight in Jimmy's life for just one day.
I'm glad to have elected the private lesson with this happy-go-lucky certified instructor. I'm just as impressed with Mark's nautical and people skills as I am with their rental fleet which includes Hobie and Prindle catamarans, sailboards, and sloops. They also have kayaks, paddle boats, and Wave Runners.
"The point of sailing is that there is no point." He grins and bares that familiar perfect California smile framed by sunkissed hair and skin. So much wisdom from one so young, I thought to myself.
Well, I can certainly assent to what he just said and let Mission Bay's glistening water hypnotize me. Oh, Happy Day, my mind sings to me. It's no wonder so many songs have been inspired by sailing.
And they call me "Mellow Yellow" I hear my thoughts singing these words as I pour out of the boat and on to shore to prowl Mission Bay Sportscenter with my trusty camera in hand. Lurking around the corner to catch some action on film, I spot Zach, who is the manager. Once again, that familiar California smile and tan sporting the infamous Hawaiian shirt that the staff members wear greet me. Oh, and of course, bare feet. What a work uniform! Even Jimmy Buffet would be proud! Zach is humming as he assists customers. With bare feet, breezy shirts, and Jimmy cooing in your ear all day, it's no wonder the entire staff of thirty certified instructors are enjoying so much what they do here.
"Wasting away again in 'Margaritaville'/
Looking for my lost shaker of salt"
Jimmy wails it out as I decline Zach's offer to take us to the Barefoot Bar & Grille via boat for dinner. I tell him that we have already made arrangements for transportation. "Okay, let us know if you change your mind." And off he went with his California smile to help another customer.
"No, problem. I'll be there as soon as we close up shop," he almost sings to me with that once-again smile. He is standing in the midst of many customers and is so carefree that I'm not even sure he will remember.
I rush through dinner and although the food was delicious, I don't want to miss my boat ride home so with bellies full we wait for Zach. The Barefoot Bar & Grille boasts a gorgeous waterfall to provide tropical sounds during dinner, a lagoon, and many wooden bridges and paths. Surrounded by palm trees and the beautiful Mission Bay, the restaurant needs no other décor but what nature has already provided. It is has the most beautiful atmosphere I have ever seen of any restaurant!
"Sitting on the dock of the bay/watching the tide roll away/
I'm just sitting on the dock of the bay/ wasting time. . ."
"Hey, it's them! It's them!" My daughter must have radar vision for I can't tell who's who and what's what.
"How can you tell it's them? Everyone looks alike and every boat looks the same from this distance." I'm starting to get a little irritated with her.
"THE HAWAIIAN SHIRTS!" She yells and jumps up and grabs her bag. Aaaah! the Hawaiian shirts, I thought and jump up and grab my bag.
Rescued by our knights in shining armor, I mean, in shining Hawaiian shirts and California smiles, Jason Boone, owner of Mission Bay Sport Center, and Zach Funston, General Manager, take us to our hotel via motorboat.
With thirty certified instructors who are trained in CPR, First Aid, and Water Resuce to assist you, you may wish to take a refresher course to help you brush up on your skills or get a private lesson. They also offer group events customized to your needs and various camps such as multisports, sailing, surfing, windsurfing, and many other camp themes and activities.
Be sure to check out www.missionbaysportcenter.com for the most current schedule, registration form, rates, and other details.
Feature and photos by Lena Hunt Mabra, Kansas City Correspondent. Read Lena's Jetsetters Magazine feature "Hike Bike Kayak San Diego."