After seeing us to our slip in San Diego, my Dad rented a car, helped me grocery shop one last time, and took his leave from Helios to return to the Bay Area.
During our farewell sushi dinner, after being pressed to discuss his thoughts and feelings, Dad shared the highlights of his trip: the sustained winds and excitement of our sail from Monterey to San Simeon; the adventures to be had amid our assortment of navigational electronics (radar, GPS, AIS, sextant); and the good times we shared over many happy hour sunsets, dinners on the hook, and feasts in the finest restaurants we could find.
Aside from these good times, Dominic and I appreciated the decades of experience sailing and anchoring along the California coast Dad brought with him, and how easily he fit into the Helios cruising routine. He was, in turn, our chef, our crew, our boat tender, our dishwasher, our supply shlepper, our (reluctant) hiking companion, and our vexillogical expert. He made our night watches gloriously short during longer sails, not to mention having taught us both to love sailing in the first place.
Having lived my adult life 20 miles from where I was raised, I haven't really been away from home for longer than eight weeks or so at a time. While enjoying our last cups of coffee together, I couldn't help but feel his departure plucking at some very tender heartstrings. I'm sure he saw tears coming. "If you're going to have an adventure," he said, "the first step must be to take leave".