March 29, 2010

Lucha Libre!!

 Like just about any traditional Mexican event we’ve attended we had no idea what to expect when we headed to the Lucha Libre match last night (despite the fact I've seen (and groaned through) Nacho Libre.)
 We knew the sport was popular, we’ve seen the masks for sale everywhere. But when we arrived at the dusty soccer field at sunset (paid $2.50 for tickets) and saw the ring surrounded by overflowing bleachers, rows of filled plastic chairs and crowds of kids, we started to get an inkling about the deep devotion locals feel for it.
 It’s billed as Mexican wrestling, but what it really is, is comic book heroes come to life. It is filled with such high-flying crazy action that you almost expect word bubbles to appear above the fighter’s heads with “Kappooowwww!” or “Zammmmmmm!” accompanying the spectacular moves.
 It’s hard to even call the luchadores fighters. Many of the hitting moves are faked, and the sequences of leaps, spins and flips are perfectly choreographed.
 This doesn’t take the fun out of it though--these guys are skilled (and for us it really added to the fun—not sure I could stomach real wrestling) The entire crowd supports the good guys, cheering on the técnicos while they try to fight a fair and elegant match against the brawling bad guys, the rudos. But for each technically executed leap or spectacular flip by a técnico, the rudos counter with a rule-bending dirty trick.
 The match is spent on the edge of your seat with lots of leaping up to cheer on the winning technicos. It's noisy and chaotic as the crowd chants the name of their heroes and the skilled moves are greeted with rockus music and excited commentary. Then the mood shifts when the rudos’ tricks and nasty moves begin to topple the técnicos. It looks as though evil may prevail over good. The heroes are nearly beaten down by the bad guys, and they end up cowering, injured in the dust, surrounded by concerned children.
 The crowd boos and scolds the rudos and cheers on their heroes, who slowly recover (and then sign a few autographs before returning to the ring). The result is pure theatre: Crazy, audience interaction theatre.
 The good guys always win.

March 26, 2010

A PSA break from my regulary scheduled blog post

Three years ago I was diagnosed with melanoma. We caught it early. Stage one is easy to fix. The problem is when you are diagnosed with melanoma before your 40th birthday the possibility of recurrance is very high. Which means I get my skin checked every six months.

Today was my check-up, and as the Doctor went over my skin I heard her inhale sharply. I knew what was coming next before she said it. I had a mole that looked bad to her. She said if she were me she'd have it removed immediately. She'd skip lunch to do it.

For $1500 pesos ($125) I got to experience the Mexican medical system; compassionate, unhurried, careful treatment. I had a full checkup and a cone biopsy. In ten days I'll know my results.

My request of anyone who reads this blog is if you don't get regular skin checks, please do. If you haven't ever gone, go now.

And if you want to know more about melanoma round one for me, keep reading. This essay was originally published in one of those parenting mags that has since gone belly up:

I think I expected the call. But when it came a cold weakness still clenched my legs. I looked for somewhere to sit, but with the phone pressed to my ear, listening to words that explained the mole I had just had removed was melanoma, I couldn’t sort out how to walk to the chair.
“It looks like we caught it early.”
I tried to concentrate on the Doctor’s words, but a conversation that begins with your name and moves on to cancer, tends to become abstract pretty quickly.
“We” – I believe that includes me.
“Caught” – Do you catch cancer?
“It” – I guess cancer doesn’t have a gender…
“Early” – I wonder if I’m going to be late for picking up my daughter from kindergarten.
“Do you understand?” his voice asked, again.

Until that moment all I knew about melanoma is my friend, Mark had a mole on his arm. His doctor said it was probably nothing and didn’t think he needed it removed. By the time he had it removed, it was something. Then his lymph nodes were removed. Then I began to drive him for radiation treatments. He lost his appetite and lost weight. We talked a lot about how to live well and what he still dreamed about doing.

He quit the job he hated. We spent the summer working together, varnishing the bright work on sailboats. When his stomach rebelled I would bring him pureed food and call it milkshakes.

Then he decided that the radiation was too hard on his body and it was time to start traveling. He headed off for Guatemala, and when he returned brought me a gift from a little village I had once told him about over mango milkshakes. Then, with him happy and well, and me and my husband Evan eager to take to our new daughter home to Canada, we said goodbye. He died a few months later.

“What do you know about melanoma?” my Doctor asked as I sat across from him in his office, staring at information pamphlets in my hands.

I know I can die from it, seemed like an excessive answer. I know I can die even after having parts of my body sliced off and poisons injected into my system. I know I can die – even if I’m really careful.

“I understand that early treatment is very successful,” I told him.

I am fair, with reddish hair, loads of freckles and a handful of moles. As a child I wanted to tan like my sisters did. Instead I burned. I have light scaring across my shoulders, lower back and on the tops of my ears from blisters. When I was a teenager I started sailing and as I reached adulthood I became a fanatical sunscreen user. But now I understood my devotion to sunscreen may have come a little too late.

According to statistics, 1 in 56 Caucasian Americans will develop melanoma in their lifetime, as will approximately 1 in 250 in the Asian and Hispanic populations and 1 in 1000 in the African American population. 7700 Americans will die from melanoma this year.

As I watched quietly, the surgeon drew lines on my leg. “What made you get your skin checked?” he asked, flexing my leg so he could see where my muscle was and adjust the cut lines a little wider.

I explained that I had made a promise to a friend to get checked every year. But six months after my last check-up I noticed that the small round mole above my shin had begun to look like Pac Man. It also itched slightly. But it looked so cute and benign, so much a part of my leg – I felt silly mentioning it to my family Doctor. She told me it pays to be diligent and sent me to the skin clinic. The doctor inspected my leg and said it was probably nothing, but told me you can never be too careful.

The surgeon agreed about the importance of caution and drew the cut lines a little longer, right through a curve of muscle that I felt oddly attached too.
“The scar will fade,” he said. “But you’ll need to come up with a good story.”
“Shark attack,” I suggested.
Neither of us said my leg would be ugly. It was a shallow complaint. But I wondered if my Capris would cover the scar.

After my surgery I sat with my leg elevated and tightly bandaged. The surgeon had explained that the area had low blood flow – bad from the perspective of healing, good from the perspective it slowed cancer growth. I told my husband the Doctor said he was, “optimistic.”

My five-year-old daughter, who brought me some paper and crayons so I could draw while I healed, asked me in a small casual voice if I had the type of cancer that could kill mommies. I drew her a picture of us, way in the future, holding hands in the sun. Then, looking hard at the stick image of me, I wondered out loud if I should have skipped the sun.

I told my friends about my diagnosis in a chatty email that reminded them to get regular skin checks. I also included a link to the warning signs of melanoma. If they knew what melanoma was, they phoned, offering to baby sit or bring casseroles. If they didn’t know what melanoma was, they called with casual reassurance. Both reactions annoyed me. I wasn’t sick enough for sympathy but I was unprepared for optimism. I stopped answering the phone.

I didn’t register any relief when the surgeon read my report to me. I was lucky, he said, the margins were clear but my risk factors were now more elevated. As he slowly examined my entire body, he stopped to look closely at each of my remaining moles. He explained to stay healthy I would always need to be diligent, and then he drew new cut lines on my skin.

Diligence began to feel like violence. I went for more surgeries and stared bewildered by the scars that had appeared on my skin. When friends offered sympathy or support I shrugged them off. In the grand scheme of cancer, I said, I had it easy. I joked that my only worry was I would need to keep modifying my wardrobe to cover the scars. There was never a good moment to admit that my deepest fear was I would eventually need to modify my attachment to having a future. That seemed melodramatic.

Apparently I have to be diligent, I told a friend in my most casual voice when she asked about my scar.
“You must be afraid,” she said.
I shrugged, then the tears came.

Sometimes, I said, I believe I might be very, very afraid.

March 25, 2010

What time is it?

Most cruisers will tell you that they lose track of time. One of the first items to go from the daily wardrobe (shortly after shoes) is the watch.

Sometimes you do need to know what time it is though. Like when you have a dentist appointment.

The problem is I really don’t know what time it is.

La Cruz is in the state of Nayarit and is currently on Mountain Standard Time (daylight savings hasn’t kicked in yet, I don’t think). Puerto Vallarta is in Jalisco and keeps Central Standard Time. But most of the locals in La Cruz and all of the cruisers keep Jalisco time, while the businesses keep Nayarit time. Got it?

So I had an appointment today at 10am—I just didn’t know which 10am. If it was 10am Jalisco time I needed to go at 9am Nayarit time. But if it was 10am Nayarit time I needed to go at 11am Jalisco time. I think.

Whichever it was, I missed my appointment.

March 23, 2010

Moments of Magic

 Our little grocery store gets busy as the day goes on, but here it is just opening

I’ve been waking before sunrise. 
Between our own stress from too many work deadlines (but I’m not complaining, the cruising kitty is refilling) and the sympathetic stress I’m feeling for friends who are deep in preparations for their South Pacific crossings, I’ve got insomnia.
 Morning tortillas are fresh warm pillows of goodness

Jumping into the day isn’t the way to go though, so I walk. Either with Maia, with a few friends, or both--We head off and explore our little corner of Mexico, watching as it begins to greet the day.
 I'm not a fan of chicharones, but considering how many are made each day, someone is...

When Maia was little, she used to complain about our 1.5 km walk to school. So I used to tell her to watch for the moments of magic that happened, just for her. I think my mum told me something similar, because rather than scolding or cajoling me when I didn’t want to walk, she simply pointed out the things I could only see at walking speed; footprints from a bird in the roadside dust, the way that the light fell on a tree, or a puppy playing under a bush…
 We've watched these puppies grow up on our morning walk

The idea for our morning walk was to go fast, and get some much needed exercise. But with each passing day we've added someone (or something) new to the route. Today we had to stop and greet storekeepers and puppies, a burro and some pigs, several chicken and chicks, and a child or two. We’re very slow when we walk now. No faster than a sailboat, really.

 Terco the burro (his name means stubborn) is a highlight of the morning walk

But there are so many moments of magic, just for me.

March 21, 2010

Her Village

When Maia met Matt they quickly found they had something in common: slackline. Maia loves anything circus and while she’s relatively content riding her unicycle around the marina or juggling for a small audience of friends, she misses the camaraderie of training and the challenge of learning new skills. When Matt offered to help her set up a slackline so they could practice together, she jumped at the chance.
 It takes a village--The phrase has popped into my mind a lot over the past year. First it came when we were getting ready to go; friends seemed to constantly picking up the slack with Maia--keeping her fed, amused and content when we were overwhelmed. On the way south we saw it in all the little kindnesses that came her way; friends and strangers taking a moment and offering Maia reasons to smile. These days it comes to mind when she runs off in the morning and I trust that someone on our dock knows where she is.
  Maia helps Mairen
As a cruising kid, Maia needs other boaters to be the special grown-ups in her life. She’s pretty fond of us, her parents, but we get boring. And we’re not always fun. But what I realized yesterday is that the grown-ups in our floating village also rely on the kids. The kids offer adults the excuse to play and laugh.
 Siobhan's turn
Lots of folks stopped by to give it a try 
When Maia met Matt, I thought he was just being nice to a little kid. But as he spent time helping her and the other kids set up the slack rope and learn to balance on the thin webbing, I was reminded of one of the first set of friends that we made while cruising on our last boat. It was a couple called Wayne and Leslie who are my parents’ age. I’d never had grown-up friends before and sort of thought they were humouring us. But as that friendship grew and other, even more unlikely, friendships enriched our lives, I realized friendship didn’t need to be based on age. Other factors are way more important: Like slacklining.
 Maia floated with happiness through the evening after her afternoon of hanging out with Matt. When our old friends from Mexico came for dinner she explained the day, “My friend Matt helped us set up the line. And pretty soon he and I are going to practice poi together too.”

March 19, 2010

How Did You Get Here?

It’s the question that comes up every time you get together with a new cruiser. You’ll meet, talk weather, find out who you know in common, discuss where to go next and then the question, How did you get here? pops up. Maybe it’s a question that comes up for anyone who has travelled far from home: Plane, train, bus, burro? What got you here?

The thing is, the question doesn’t mean what you think. Sure, we all want to know what kind of boat other cruisers have. How long it is? Who designed it? We even care about the work done to get it ready for cruising. The question also doesn’t really mean which route did you take? Or what storms or breakdowns occurred? But we do want to know that too…

How did you get here?: It’s the question that tries to find out where we intersect as a group. How did we leave our lives as average suburban parents, urban professionals, fledging retirees, or whoever we were before, and all find ourselves here? It’s the question where we try to find out who we are as individuals, by defining what a cruiser is.

As far as I can tell none of us have much in common. Some of us have always sailed, others took it up so they could travel. Some have dreamed of sailing the world since they were wee, others followed a partner into the dream. Some of us are out for a year, some are never going back. Very few of us are wealthy, most of us are trying to simply eke another month (or three) out of our savings. Our ages range from 20 to 80. Many of us get seasick.

What we don’t have in common is greater than what we do have in common.

But we’re here. And somehow, when we’re asked that question there is a knowing nod acknowledging what it really means, and then we hear about storms that were dodged and villages that were beautiful, boats that broke down and friends that helped out. In the stories we find clues to who we are and why we left a perfectly nice life for this one: One we can’t define, but that holds us so tightly we’ve risked everything to have it.

How did you get here? – I’m really not sure, but I’m grateful we all found our way.

Quick answer to a couple of people who sent questions about how we support ourselves:

I'm a freelance writer, writing mostly travel and lifestyle for magazines and websites. You can see some of the things I write on my website (although it's woefully out of date). Two of my newer stories can be found online, one at Men's Journal: Going to Vancouver? and one at MSN: Thieves' Gallery

Evan is a naval architect and is doing remote contract work for his old office.

Between the two income streams we're hoping we can both work part time (or less...), home school Maia, travel the world and not go broke. The past two months we even came out ahead a bit.

March 14, 2010

Dining Out

Street tacos cost nine pesos. About 80 cents each. Ev eats four, I eat three, Maia eats two. Add drinks and dessert (home made flan!!) and supper on the street comes to less than $15. Cheap. But still, it’s a night out, and it’s a celebration when we go.
heading en masse for street tacos
The little stand that draws us, week after week, never has enough chairs. The boys (who out number the girls by about three or four to one) usually cram into the stand’s small interior, while the adults push together the remaining tables and chairs on the street. Ordering is chaos—we can choose between chorizo, adobada and asada tacos and there is always someone new who needs the translation: Carne asada? You can have that anywhere. The Chorizo is good. But adobada is a smoky grilled pork that is marinated in orange juice and flavoured with cinnamon, cumin, garlic and pasilla peppers…
 Maia, Sam and Mairen (Maia and Sam discovered they are in the same Vancouver-based homeschooling class)
 The food comes to the table as haphazardly as we did, “Who ordered three adobada and two chorizo??” The bugs bite our ankles. The condiments: grilled onions, radishes, four types of salsa, are passed from hand to hand. The kids run wild. We remind them about cars. One of them cries. Someone leaves to buy beer. The girls lose their table to a local family.
 It’s not the cheapness that draws us. It’s the sustenance. It’s being at a big table with a group of fellow wanderers. The conversation shifts from homeschooling, to mast corrosion, to adobada, “How long do you think it needs to marinate?” 
Everyone has dessert.

March 13, 2010

345,600 minutes

 We’ve been at this cruising thing for eight months now. For the past 34 weeks it’s been me, Maia and Evan; sailing, exploring, and hanging out together. 240 days of just the three of us. 5,760 hours where time spent apart has been the exception, not the rule.

When you are together. All. The. Time. It’s the little things that start to grate: the little messes that seem to materialize where ever Maia is sitting; Evan’s half-finished projects that give our boat a semi-derelict feel; the fact the two of them try and talk to me while I’m working; and the way they seem to hover when I’d rather be alone…

The problem, when you’ve just spent 345,600 minutes together, is there is no unique perspective to give things a fresh energy. Maia and I can anticipate the joke Evan will tell before he tells it (although we still give a half-hearted laugh to keep his confidence up). Maia and Evan know what I’ll order in a restaurant before I do (seafood, always). Maia tends to surprise us still (especially when she waxes poetic about something like the beauty of a burro in, “the soft morning light”), but even she’s becoming staid and predictable.

I need that surprise in my relationships. I need to know that I can’t anticipate how Evan will react to a sunset (nonchalantly) or a potentially naked person, maybe a woman, way over there in the distance (with binoculars).

Which is why, last night, I hung out with the women in the marina’s sky bar, while Evan and the guys went to a fashion show.

A bikini fashion show.

In their defence they thought they were going to a bikini contest. But it turned out to be a private fashion show, complete with fancy snacks and an open bar. So they crashed the party and made due.

For 7500 seconds we were each on our own, telling our own stories (and not completing each other’s sentences). It made us all so happy we’re trying it again today. Maia is on one boat playing with the kids. Evan is at another, working on our sail. I’m home alone, getting work done and chatting with folks when they stop by.

I’m almost getting excited about seeing them to hear how their days went.
Just not yet.

March 10, 2010

Make and Mend--forever

As much as a sail exploding at sea, or a dagger board cracking, falling off and sinking into the depths would make a great story, the idea is to avoid catastrophes and come up with good tales to tell that don’t involving crap breaking.

With that in mind, we’re taking advantage of marina life to do more than just grow a private undersea garden (although we now harbour a lovely little school of sergeant majors): we’ve decided to devote a day to fixing stuff.
Yup, that is fuzzy weed all over our bottom
The marine community is pretty awesome at self-help, and every Friday in La Cruz there are ‘Puddle Jump’ seminars covering stuff like sail repair, rig maintenance and provisioning for ocean crossings. At the recent sail repair seminar, which was put on by the-oh-so-wise Jamie from Totem, we learned that our mainsail was in need of attention. And considering that Jamie recently told someone else this very same thing, and they didn’t follow-up, and their sail exploded at sea, well, we’re listening.
The plastic shackles that clip the sail to the slugs were on their last legs
Evan began by replacing damaged slugs and hand sewing them all on, and then he found a small tear that also needed sewing. Then we discovered that we need to replace our fraying leach line and tackle our too-short and miserably deformed battens. One day of work quickly turned to three to four days of work but this should give us several extra years in the life of our sail, which, while not as exciting as a story about us lashing the tattered ribbons of our main to the boom at 3am, is not a bad investment.
Not a slug we want to rely on in a blow
So we decided seems how we’re working and not playing for a few days, we should deal with the noise that our dagger boards make. Living with dagger boards is not unlike living in a drum. We may have a nice brag-worthy 90 degree tacking angle, but what good is that when you’re so sleep deprived from the thumping you don’t notice? So after loads of research, we decided to go with the indoor/outdoor-carpet-lining-the-case method. But, when Ev and I pulled out the first dagger board, so we could glue in the carpet, I noticed some damage, which led to the discovery of some rot, which led to a whole new project. And several more days of work.
grinding out the rot led to the discovery of more rot
Which brings us to the first law of boat repair: it’s never as simple as it should be. There is some sort of weird boat physics that causes each project to spawn two more, and they of course spawn two more of their own, and so on, and so on. So while you may decide to spend one day doing a few small chores, what actually happens is that day turns into week, which turns into a boat in shambles, which causes me to go slightly insane, which makes Evan pack up all the unfinished projects really fast, because REALLY insane always follows close on the heels of slightly insane.

The moral may be to just let stuff break—and then tell good stories.

March 7, 2010

Mexorc in La Cruz-with explosions

I'm pretty sure the racing was probably great. The wind was blowing, the boats went out each day and the crews came back cheering. But what we, as cruisers, noticed most about the racing wasn't the guys in sailing gear, but the guys with guns.

 It's kind of a Mexican thing. We noticed it last time on a beach further south, well armed marines patrolling folks in bathing suits. When we asked, we were told it was to make us feel safe. We would have felt safer if we didn't run into so many of the guys with guns hanging out at the Deposito (beer store)...
 Their presence went up a notch the two times the President visited (Maia got to wave at him, and her buddies from Totem got a ‘thumbs up’ when they saw him yesterday). When El Prez is about, the guys with guns are everywhere: typically two per dock (which made sneaking around the locked gate on a friend's dock seem more challenging than normal), two on each street corner and roving bands of Federales filling in the gaps.

This is why when the fireworks started we stayed inside. We had already heard a few disconcerting explosions through the week. So it just seemed prudent.

 But then the sky lit up. Really lit up. And it took a moment to realize that the fireworks were going off on the breakwater, really, really close by.

Viva la Mexico!

March 4, 2010

Daring Girls

 The girls just came roaring back to the boat looking for supplies to get autographs with—the reason? 17-year-old Tania Elías Calles, had just sailed into the harbour in her laser from Cabo San Lucas, completing the 300 nautical mile sail in a boat that’s only 14ft long. Tania is trying to raise funds so she can sail for Mexico during the 2012 London Olympics and her crossing of the Sea of Cortez set a Guinness World Record.

As a sailor, I’m pretty thrilled that Maia and her friends have access to a role model who’s fulfilling her dreams in such a focused way. Tania is not only trying to raise money for her own sailing goals but she’s also supporting Foundation Gana MX, which addresses childhood obesity in Mexico.

As a mother though, the idea of my own daughter setting off on a 48-hr-sail across water that can be, well, nasty, kind of scares the heck out of me. I remember how invincible I felt at 17. I also recall how that feeling of supreme smartness and immortality caused me to make some really bad decisions in the pursuit of stuff that seemed like a good idea at the time.

I feel the same way about Abby Sunderland and Jessica Watson both are 16-year-old girls striving to be the youngest women to sail around the world. There is part of me that cheers for them—they both seem to be level headed, capable girls. And Maia and I both *love* one of Jessica's reasons for sailing around the world:

For almost 6 years my family lived on our motor boat traveling and based at different marinas on the east coast of Australia. When you live on the water, it's sort of like an unwritten law that when another boat is pulling in, you stop to give a hand and take their lines.”

“But being a 'little girl' meant that more often than not, my offer of help would be completely ignored, while the line was passed to the fully grown man next to me.”

“I found this incredibly frustrating as I knew that I was just as capable of handling the lines as anyone else. I hated being judged by my appearance and other people's expectations of what a 'little girl' was capable of.” 

“I hope that part of what I'm doing out here is proving that we shouldn't judge by appearance and our own expectations. I want the world to know exactly what 'little girls' and young people are actually capable of!”
But 16 *is* really young and the world is really big. I also wonder how far we can push these records down. Clearly one country decided 14 was too young, and the Dutch courts barred 14-year-old Laura Dekker from her plan to compete for the ‘youngest’ title.

I guess I wonder where personal goals and societal pressure collide. We’re so focused on higher, faster, further, younger--that the quest for a title might get in the way of good judgment.

That said, in a world where so many things get in the way of a happy and healthy adolescence, I’ll probably keep cheering for girls who are doing their best and reaching for their dreams. And if Maia decides to reach further than I’m comfortable with, my guess is I’ll bite back my fears and help her get there.

March 2, 2010

Kid Ship

Every now and again I get a glimpse of our cruising life through Maia’s eyes. When it’s not going well she’s more vocal; the whole thing sucks. But right now, right here, it’s just about perfect. She’s free to roam (or scooter) the docks—where she’s met every dog, cat and kid around. The beaches are near, the people are friendly. There are loads of ever-changing kids to play with. And she can have sleepovers every night.

I’ve tried to articulate with other cruising parents just what makes this lifestyle so wonderful for kids. I think what it comes down to is when you’re out here the world becomes kid-sized. The simple things that the adults enjoy—a life that's about repairing boats, finding food, doing laundry, exploring and hanging out—translates into a world where kids are free to be kids.
having a wheelbarrow of candy arrive while you're playing on the beach is as good as it gets

There’s no pressure to get to school on time, there’s no push to be like someone else, and there is no end of new things to experience. But unlike other types of travel, with cruising there is always the comfort and routine of home to fall back on.
It’s not always perfect, but right now, in this moment, it is.

March 1, 2010

Boat Part or Bludgeon?

An hour or so out of San Diego the actuator arm of our auto pilot stopped working. After cursing it a bit, we put a spare on and sailed on toward Ensenada. Autopilots are one of the more important pieces of equipment onboard— and as romantic as hand steering seems—no one does it. Monohulls use windvanes for long distance sailing but multihulls (which can’t use windvanes) are stuck with finicky pieces of electronics, built by crap-ass companies, which have a tendency to get uppity about everything from being near salt water to the running of a single side band radio.

Despite the temperamentalness of the things—we love ours.
All four of them. 
Just because we love them doesn’t mean we trust them...

Our newest (and favourite) autopilot is the one that broke (unlike children it’s perfectly okay to favour one piece of electronics over another). So when my parents visited we sent the actuator home (it had salt water corrosion) with them for warranty repair.

They, being the type who pack light, stuck the arm in their carry-on luggage and went on their merry way.
Until they hit security.
The actuator may look like a boat part to us, but to the TSA it is a bludgeon. And the old folks, who look like typical tourists to my eyes, were clearly terrorists.
Terrorists with bludgeons are not treated well by the TSA. So after being thoroughly searched, having their luggage shredded (they had to tape it back together), and barely making their flight, they thought it was important that we mention to people that boat parts really belong in checked luggage.

Who knows what the TSA would make of watermaker filters or VHF radios…