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A Day of Boat Chores, Time on the Disabled List, and Making Friends via the Blog
03-Apr-2009, Jolly Harbour, Antigua

CURRENT LOCATION: Anchored in Mosquito Cove, just outside the entrance to Jolly Harbour, Antigua
17 04.505' N, 061 53.541' W

I am not a sports fan, never have been. Throughout my life this singular lack of interest in a relatively popular form of media/entertainment has left me on the sideline of more conversations than I can even remember. I never know who played in the 'big game' last night, how the season was going for so-and-so, nor can I offer an opinion on which team I am rooting for in the next upcoming extravaganza. As I moved from place to place, people always assumed that I carried my geographical sports affiliations and allegiances with me. "Oh, you are from X, you must be a Y fan." For X and Y insert: South Bend = Notre Dame; Indianapolis = Colts (or Hoosier basketball); St. Louis = Cardinals; Boston = Red Sox; and southern Durham, North Carolina forces all its residents to choose between the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels. I simply didn't care and, consequently, found myself to be socially marginalized.

I think that is one of the reasons I loved Whortonsville so much. We would drive three hours away from the college basketball mecca which is central North Carolina each weekend to the coast, where people preferred to spend time on their boats instead of plant themselves in front of the big screen for Sunday's latest clash of the titans. It was there I learned to talk sailing. At first I didn't have much to contribute, but I was very, very interested. I sat and soaked-in every word. As time went on, and our experiences, knowledge, and vocabulary grew, I found that I could speak Sailing quite fluently. It was a joy, and I finally felt as though I fit in.

Despite my lack of familiarity with all sporting-related popular trivia, I have (from my ringside seat to many, many conversations about sports) picked up on just a little of the vernacular. If I am not mistaken, this week I found myself on the disabled list (or is it the injured-reserve list)? Strange thing is, I don't even know how it happened.

Midweek found the water in the anchorage to be exceptionally calm. Ocean swell was quite low and out of the east, so no waves were making it into our little cove on the western side of the island. We decided to take advantage of this calm to make a serious stab at crossing off some items on our 'to-do' list. We emptied out both cockpit lockers to gain access to the entire engine and drive train and proceeded to do checks and maintenance. We changed the zincs in the heat exchanger and the refrigeration system, checked the drip rate on the stuffing box, checked the transmission fluid level, tightened the collar on the steering column, and inspected all hose clamps, belts, and electrical connections. We even topped off the diesel tank and changed the engine oil. A healthy chunk of our preparatory chores were scratched off the list in just a few hours.

After all items were carefully stowed back in the cockpit lockers, I went ashore to take a shower. There is nothing like a long, hot shower to remove the residue of dirt, oil, and diesel fuel accumulated during a productive morning's work. I returned to the boat and spent the afternoon at a much more relaxed pace of effort. Meanwhile, Sheryl went to shore to take a shower and spend some time on the internet. It was not until after her return several hours later that I began to notice the pain.

It started as a sensation that I had simply stepped wrong on one of the many non-horizontal surfaces around our boat and pulled a muscle in my foot. Climbing in and out of cockpit lockers and up and down the companionway without steps afforded many opportunities for such a misstep. But throughout the evening hours the pain continued to increase. Soon I couldn't put any weight on my left foot and was hobbling to and fro inside our tiny home. By bedtime, even touching the ball of my foot caused a shooting pain across the top of the foot. Sheryl dug into our medical book and together we researched the possible causes for the pain. Strains, sprains, or bone fractures were among the potential culprits. Hoping for the former two against the possibility of the latter, we applied a compression wrap and I tried to keep the foot elevated as much as possible. Our medical book indicated that, "Decreasing pain, tenderness, and swelling, together with increasing stability upon weight bearing, are reassuring signs that the injury is probably a strain or sprain and not a fracture." Only time would tell if X-rays would be required.

Fortunately, a day made a huge difference. We began to see the all-important signs of "increasing stability upon weight bearing," and the concerns which had settled over me like a cloud began to dissipate. It is not so much for my own well being that I was concerned, instead it was the fact that we both need to be 100% for the journey which is ahead of us. I simply cannot afford to be incapacitated in any manner. So, although I am feeling much better and the shooting pains have subsided entirely, I continue treating my left foot in an especially gingerly manner. Even though I am somewhat clumsy and, therefore, prone to injury, I do have the tendency to heal relatively fast. I am counting on that in this regard. And there will be no faking it. My low tolerance for pain and absolute incapacity for acting assures my captain (Sheryl) that she will be at all times aware of my status. At present, we are relatively certain that all will be well and I will be back to 100% before long.

In other news, this week we had the wonderful opportunity to make some new friends. Bill has been reading our blog ever since he found it through a link on another sailor's on-line log: s/v Magnolia. This is the way our website is often discovered, through the websites of other cruisers we meet along the way. Since his family vacation plans happened to coincide with our current location, he invited us over for dinner at their condo. A short dinghy ride into Jolly Harbour early this week gave us the opportunity to meet Bill and his wife, Molly, and daughters, Brooke and Anna.

IMAGE NOT FOUND

We enjoyed a lovely dinner and conversations both sailing-related and non-nautical. Later in the week, we had the opportunity to have Bill out to the boat for a brief visit and tour of our floating home. As a parting gift before hopping on a plane back to Colorado, he left me with a fresh fillet of wahoo and a couple of cold beers (to sooth my aching foot). It is amazing the doors which are opened by our presence on the internet. We have been fortunate to meet many wonderful people who otherwise would have remained strangers had it not been for our blog.





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