September 21, 2013 , Port Louis Marina, Grenada
We've been waking up each and every single morning to the sounds of roosters loudly cock-a-doodling their wake-up songs, reminding us to "get up, get up, get up" you've got a list or two or three, of things to do ! Do, do, do !!
And then I grunt and groan and move delicately with muscle soreness and fatigue, around in bed, and that's when the sounds of the many schools of fish that live under Banyan's hull noisily pucker up their fish lips to suction suck away any sludge, slime and otherwise green globs of plankton off the hull, sounding very much like loud popcorn kernels popping. So much for going back to sleep...
"Babe, it's way too hot..." says Dave as I pucker up my fish lips towards his, and I smile and nod in total agreement. And it's not even 6 a.m. yet ! And it's HOT! The heat has been the hardest thing to acclimatize to since our return.
Once we're up and moving, thanks to a nice hot cup of espresso java, we emerge into the Grenadian morning sunshine, wondering what kinds of things we'll get done today.
The last few days have had us busy, sweating, and yes, sometimes even swearing but the end result being many jobs have been started and completed, all in an attempt to get the boat, "Ready Aye Ready" to sail away. Our time in the marina is precious (and by choice, limited) and should the need arise (aka a hurricane threat) we wanted to be able to get ourselves out of here in a hurry. And so the boat needs to be ready...
A sample task might include walking to the office, pick up a wheelbarrow and pushing it back. Haul the heavy laundry bags out of the boat, hoist them into said wheelbarrow and walk them back to the laundry Office where they get dropped off, and I take a sweaty break in front of the old rickety fan blowing hot air around the laundry room.
"G'morning" they say, with a smile, and I smile as I notice the washers are spinning their loads, dryers tumbling their heat, irons steam creasing the marina uniform sleeves to rimrod perfection, and the clothes lie folded in clean perfection on the small table set in the corner, "Good Morning, how are you today?" I reply.
Dave does the same routine with the propane tank, that gets dropped off one day, and picked up two days later. And another identical trip to pick up the two gargantuan bags of washed and inspected sails.
One morning Dave attacks the dinghy engine. Two months of sitting on the rails had things a little seized up !! Lower End Gear Oil and new Spark Plugs, back onto dinghy she goes, and a test drive later and she's happily purring like a kitten.
We called upon Joe George, who cabby-ied us into town to restock our very bare Banyan cupboards. When we left two months ago there was not one item of food left on board. The result of that trip required two wheelbarrows, but only because we also picked up the inflatable AIRIS kayak's we'd purchased as Banyan's new toys. Call them a combined Christmas Present, Birthday Present and any other present, for the past few years, all-in-one !
We're pretty excited to try them out, but first, it's time to work...
"Hey, your list is longer than mine" I laugh, as Dave busies himself looking for a pen in our chaotic mess that is our current cluttered home.
Before we left, we hired Michael's canvas services. We needed to have our bimini and dodger canvas restitched along the existing seams, much of the piping had come undone and although I've spent much time last year, along the way, sewing the simple seams by hand, my fingers were not strong enough to stick the needle through the four layers plus of piping.
We also asked him to create up some sunscreens for Banyan, along with a tarp to cover her bow in an attempt to keep the hot, hot sun off her decks and boiling up the insides to sauna like temperatures, as well as allowing us to keep the hatches open, and the rain out, should sudden squalls hit.
He's been back and forth a few times delivering said products and what a great job he's done !! He took our ideas and offered up a tangible result that was exactly what we had envisioned, and looks better than what we'd hoped for.
The fine white/cream coloured mesh is attached to the dodger by zippers, they roll up when not in use, and are attached to the rails by a simple ties. The wind easily blows through underneath and airs out our cockpit and bonus, we can simply duck and walk under and out, easily getting on and off Banyan, without having to alter/lift the sunscreen.
The fine mesh also doubles as a privacy screen and gives the illusion that our cockpit has almost become another personal room of sorts.
The jib got installed the other day, but the biggest (and almost last) job on the list was to get the mainsail up. Since we're presently not pointed the right way (into the wind) this job had to be timed perfectly, and the last few days with increasing winds, had us nixing this job each and every time.
"It happens today, babes..." proclaimed Dave and sure enough the weather Gods cooperated. Dave prepped the stack pack and lines, the winds came up over lunch and so we declared it siesta time, but the afternoon lull and 180 degree wind shift provided a perfect opportunity for the second attempt.
I winched, and sweated and winched, Dave guided and lubed and guided,
"Holy Shit, bring her down... " and I released and allowed the sail to descend a few inches, "there's a piece that's broken", said Dave.
A very stressed bent pin on one of the sail slides... I guess the office didn't inspect as perfectly as we had hoped, thank goodness it was noticed now.
We had a spare on board (question was to find it in the mess that is the aft cabin, but I emerged, victorious, after a few moments in the sauna of a room) and it quickly got replaced. The winds were still non-existent so back we went to winching and sweating and lubing and guiding.
Later we sat in our shaded cockpit, with our gazillionth Tervis Tumbler of ice cold water, red faced in overheated exhaustion, as the wind once again shifted and piped up. We got 'er done, ya !!
We've chosen to try and save some dollars by washing our settee cushion covers ourselves, they were looking pretty grey and dirty, and not bright blue and pretty. And so the laborious task of removing the foam from the cover, washing it by hand, hanging out to dry, one at a time, begins... Although I love the empowering feeling of doing something yourself, I highly salute the genius that invented washing machines, and have to admit that THAT is what I miss most about life on land.
"Dave, honey, it's time for a break..." said I (remember, taking breaks and calling it a day is just as important as getting all this work done, as several readers have lovingly reminded us). We've opted to stay clear of the Saturday hashes (for now), and the departure time for Volleyball games always seemed to be in the midst of one or two of our jobs, we have taken time to cool off with some dips in the very hot hot-tub of a pool at the Marina, go for a walk towards the beach,
or just sit in our newly defined cockpit watching the full moon rising, in the almost cool evening breeze,
enjoying a Pina Colada in celebration of a hard day's work done and, as of today, high five each other with the satisfied proclamation that we are now officially, a fully functioning Sailboat, ready to go "Somewhere South of Somewhere", for Season 2, at any time. Ready, Ah, Aye, Ready...
September 18, 2013 , Port Louis Marina, Grenada
"My rings feel very tight" complained Dave a few days ago. Not to go on and on about this overly hot heat, or harp about the sweltering humidity here in the throes of Grenadian Summer, but really, all these elements were combining to do a number on our bodies, including swelling up our fingers.
"Here you go..." I passed the oil up to Dave so he could grease up his fingers, slide the rings off, pass them down to me so I could tuck 'em away, along with mine, for safe storage.
"What was that?" said Mike
"What?" said Rebecca
"Oh Shit" said Dave.
"WTF?" said I?
The complex series of movements that ensued which had Dave simultaneously getting up to chat with Mike and Rebecca who were standing on the dock, while greasing his fingers to try to slide his ring along and off his finger, and along with a bad back which made him step a little crooked and a little sideways which resulted in the very gut-wrenching and quite umistakeable sound of said wedding ring plop-plopping into fifteen feet of dark murky marina water, right below the transom of our boat, with a decidedly sinking feeling. Oh Shit !
We had already booked UnderWater Solutions to come dive/clean Banyan's bottom in a few days, and so a simple message later had us adding another request,
"Uh, Brett, do you have a metal detector you could bring?" was Dave's simple query?
Brett indicated he did and he would, but chances were very slim, he said, as there were feet, "and I mean many, many feet of murky sludge here in the bay, and things sink, things disappear". Oh Shit !
There was nothing that could be done, and Life after an Oh Shit moment needs to move forward, so the next item on The List, since the winds were pretty non-existant at the moment, was to get the jib on and installed.
"Nice lines" said Dave,
"Why thank you, m'luv" said I with a smile and a wink, wink as Dave continued to admire the new, black-flecked jib sheets we'd bought from Jamie at North Sails Yacht Shop back in Halifax, and who had whipped the ends quite nicely.
The freshly washed Jib, duly inspected and restitched in areas, came out of its bag, and before long, we had it laid out on deck,
and once all things stainless were lubed, black tie-wraps on the shackles,
and wind zero... up it went as Dave winched and I guided ...
"Oh Shit" yelled Dave, just as an impressive out of the blue gust of wind hit and almost knocked me into the water, and I tried haplessly to grab the flapping sail, without much success.
"You almost lost your Other Precious..." I laughed at him.
Moments later, all was calm again, and the jib was rolled up, with mere moments to spare before the next gust, along with the rain squall, drenched us both.
All these Oh Shit moments as of late had us craving some serious sweets and being in Port Louis Marina had us only a wee walk away from The Merry Baker. Before long I had us some freshly baked olive ciabatta bread, still warm to the touch, smelling quite like heaven, along with some Chelsea Buns which is their version of decadent and delicious cinnamon buns. Oh. My. Goodness, a mouthful of these sweets and you really don't care about any Oh Shit Moments.
Munching on said treats, Brett messaged to say that he would be arriving at 14:30, which immediately nixed our planned afternoon excursion with the volleyball team. That's quite alright, as our backs were giving us some grief and not cooperating as of late, and playing volleyball might not have been a wise move.
Brett Fairhead and Devon Joseph, from the local Underwater Solutions company showed up right on time, chatted with Dave for a moment,
and then Brett said, "We shall dive for the ring first, but don't get your hopes up..."
Twenty minutes later the bubbles of the surfacing divers appeared and,
"Oh Shit!!!", proclaimed Dave, "you found it"!!
Brett and Devon spent a good portion of the next hour underwater, scraping Banyan's hull clean of sludge and ooze and barnacles that had affixed themselves during her stay here. However, we were pleased to hear that "it wasn't too bad, ya". A few barnacles and and an oyster farm on the propeller shaft. The prop hub zinc, that Dave had pre-treated with nail polish around the thin parts, was installed, the old one looking pretty dead...
A two-thumbs up from Brett, regarding Banyan's Underwater status. No hauling out needed, the anti-fouling paint we had so laboriously applied last year, was doing its thing, the rudder post and cutlass bearing were showing no signs of wear, so no haul out required this year!
The result ? Banyan gives Brett and Devon from Underwater Solutions a serious Two Thumbs Up for their work, professional attitude, knowledge, and of course, for finding Dave's Precious. We chit-chatted on the docks for a while, exchanging cruising stories. Quite interesting (and a little disgusting) to learn about the sewage and dead things that flow into the Bay here...
Brett also happens to be The Merry Baker's son? Awesomeness all the way 'round.
A nice get together with Mike and Rebecca and friends on One Love chit-chatting into the darkness of evening. They did a fantastic show of prepping and preparing, and we did a fantastic job of taste-testing (I'm sure they will agree?) their signature home-made vanilla ice cream. We won't give away the secret ingredient, but let's just say it's on the healthy side !
Dave and I unanimously declared it "The. Best. Ever."
Oh, and just as an FYI... the DIY project of soaking rings in a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, to remove a week's worth of black growth that had started to brew in the ridges of the band, really works ! No Shit.
September 17, 2013 , Port Louis Marina, Grenada
"Well dear..." says Dave, sipping his morning coffee, "today looks like a perfect day"
"A perfect day..." queried I, "how's that?"
From where I sit, every day looks like a pretty perfect day, especially when the morning starts off with me holding a hot cup of espresso java (even minus the cream).
"Well, there's not too much wind at the moment".
"And doesn't look like rain..."
"And the water in the marina is pretty calm..."
"So, how do you feel about heading up the mast?"
"Gee, love that coffee... I thought we were going for a walk?" I asked, trying to change the subject.
And so, coffee drank and a good breakfast of scrambled eggs and Canadian Back Bacon later (after all, you have to have one last meal, just in case, right?), Dave begins what turned out to be a very long process of getting me all rigged up so I can go up the mast.
Out comes the dark green Boatswain's chair. First he hooked me up with two separate lines, double checking the clamps and knots,
"Just in case one of them let's go".
"IN CASE one of them lets go?" I repeated?
Dave dances around me for a while, mumbling and hemming and hawing, until all was perfectly to his satisfaction, and then he double checks them again.
Then he took out the tools. Yippe... He knows how much I love to play with tools.
A few moments later I was armed with a couple of screwdrivers,
"Just in case you get up there and need to tighten something..."
He then tied them to each other, and to the chair, just in case they were to fall out of the pocket, or out of my hands, and end up being gravity propelled, pointy end down, towards Dave's head? Seems like two of us could get very hurt doing this type of thing. Should this post come with a warning of "do not try this at home?"
In the other pocket went a few black tie wraps (black are best for UV protection) and pair of pliers/cutters.
"Oh, honey, go get my camera please... " and when he came back, I snapped a shot, and placed the strap over my shoulder.
All rigged up, and dripping sweat in the hazy morning sunshine, I smiled and waved to the passer-by's who smile back at me as they figure "better her than me". Dave heads aft and steps into the cockpit, starting the laborious task of winching me up, higher and higher, and I have to admit, I'm kind of pretty darn excited about being elevated to dizzying new heights. He has that effect on me...
He winches me up. One turn, grunt, second turn, grunt... Stop. Turn, turn, grunt. Stop.
"What..." he peeks out from under the dodger...
"You forgot to kiss me good-luck...!"
I could just HEAR him sigh. But I did see him squint all lovingly like at me, glare of the morning sun in his eyes, and get back to the challenge of hoisting me higher and higher. Grunt, winch, turn, stop.
Maybe I shouldn't have had those amazingly greasy gravy filled scruinchy cheese poutines back in Quebec City??
Turn, grunt, lift, semi-turn, grunt. Dave is starting to sweat. Maybe HE shouldn't have had that second helping of Donair's at Tony's Donair back in Halifax??
I crane my head backwards and my eyes scan the sky around me, wispy white clouds floating aimlessly by, and the very tall, silver mast looms overhead as a point of reference. It somehow looks like a never-eneding way and Up and Up I go, one winch turn at a time, totally enjoying the view.
Dave pokes his head out of the shaded cockpit, and yells,
"How YOU doing??"
"GOOD, keep going"...
Pretty Port Louis Marina. In St George's, Grenada.
Maybe it was the height that made me lose my mind and before I could think it through quite properly, I allowed myself to unclamp my knees from their tight hold of the mast, I let my arms let go of their hold and fall to the side, and then up in the air, and I let myself swing swing to and fro, gently and all that... squeeeal... you really couldn't wipe the grin off my face at this point in time.
"Woo-hoo !!" I yell,
"What... ?" Says Dave, "WHAT ?"
However, I had a job to do and focus I must. My first task was to reposition the radar reflector off the first set of spreaders, hook another tie-wrap on each end oh, and let's take some pictures. Perhaps I'll have a drink too, but damn, I forgot the water bottle on deck !
Break over, it was time to take me up higher, and so I yell at the Capt'N to keep going... what was he doing in the cockpit, having a break ??
Up we go, one winch turn at a time, up, up (grunt) and up... we reached the second set of spreaders.
"Looks good, Capt'N..."
Should've brought the stainless cleaner and wire brush to scrape off some rust...
At the very top of the mast, the windex tried to point in the direction of the non-existant wind. All the wiring looked good. And the camera blinked red as the batteries ran out of power.
And so I sat, for a split second in time, just inches away from the top of the mast, changing the batteries. Smiling. Breathing in the zen of the moment and capturing that memory forever.
Batteries changed and rigging check complete, I signalled to Dave to bring me down. One bumpy inch at a time. Bump, bump, down, bump, down.
And so it was, as Dave had predicted, a fantastically great day, even though we never did go for that walk.
September 15, 2013 , Port Louis Marina, Grenada
"Welcome to Grenada" smiled the very toothless Grenadian man, as we trudged out of the airport, "you need a cab, mon?" We had already made arrangements and quickly smiled back "Thanks, but no thanks, we have a ride" and sure enough, there was Joe George and his trusty white van, waiting for us.
The next morning as we were sitting in the cockpit, enveloped by the humid, hazy sunshine, happily sipping our freshly made espresso coffee, we were greeted with more smiles as a few locals passed by our boat, "Welcome back to Grenada, Capt'N, welcome"... and we greeted them back with smiles and a "Good Morning".
Without missing a soca beat, they continued "you need your boat washed, Capt'N? Hull scrubbed? Boat waxed? I can do that, mon, I come back tomorrow?". And we smiled, as we thanked them, and said "Thank you, no, we got it, man !"
Putting our boat back together was going to require a list or two, but I think the biggest challenge was just to remember how to manoeuvre around each other, without bumping into each other, in our presently very cluttered 40 feet of space.
We started with the very obvious task of unpacking the luggage, and like opening a can of worms, the "stuff" we brought back, just spilled out as the zippers came unzipped. Ziplock baggies were unlocked, bubble wrap off, and our things were quickly placed into piles.
I am happy to report that the vacuum bags we'd purchased sure did a great job. What was once a very bulky comforter, blanket and some extra towels,
quickly got the air sucked out of them as they magically shrunk into a rock-hard piece of plastic to be stowed under our mattress.
A quick cursory inspection proved there were thankfully no issues with anything we'd left behind in the boat. No evidence of bugs. A few small rust spots on the stainless faucets and knobs found in the heads, that, quickly came off with the stainless cleaner. No mold. We wiped things down again, and Dave sighed happily as the engine purred to life.
First order of business was to re-install the bimini and dodger that Michael had re-stitched during our absence and had thoughtfully brought back right away so as to provide shade for our work in progress.
A lunchtime reunion with friends Doug and Wendy over wings and chicken roti at the Yacht Club was great fun. They offered up the use of their dinghy (as ours was still on the bow of Banyan), so we could hop across the way to Foodland to get some provisions for the next few days.
Before we could even disembark from the borrowed dinghy, we needed to remember how to drive it with confidence, how to come alongside the rickety wharf, and as we were trying to do all that, a young local was already by our side, "Welcome, welcome. I have some fruit, you buy some fruit, mon"? and we looked at each other, Dave still in the dinghy, and I've got one foot in the boat and one foot on the dock. Let me clamber out gracefully I thought to myself, before I figure out what he's selling and for how much. "Here try some, try some, mon, it's freshly picked..."
If only I could remember what it was called, but it was similar to a lychee fruit... a little fuzzier on the tongue though.
Moments later, dinghy was locked, and we were ready to cross the busy street, when the dishevelled lady who had been standing there, started to jabber at us. "You goin' to the stor', I need coking ol. I need me some cokin' ol, you buy me som'?"
We got inside the store and giggled as we walked through the aisles, ya, we're back in Grenada. Dave went one way, and I t'other, and as we arrived at the cash, I noticed he had picked up the cooking oil for the lady. And as our provisions are being rung through, the jabberin lady mysteriously appears behind us at the cash register, with a purchase of some bananas, a packet of something or other and a can of tuna.
We paid for our stuff, and started walking away, and she rushes up behind us. "You have my cokin' ol'?" and we continued across the busy street, in the heat, with cars honking as they rounded the corner. Nothing like being chased for some cokin' ol'...
"Scuse me, you have cokin' ol', you buy for me?". I placed my bags on the ground and as I went through the bags, I found the cooking oil, along with, surprise surprise, a can of tuna, that I know neither one of us had purchased, as tuna has been banned from our boat due to excessive indulgence on our voyages south last year.
I handed the bottle of "cokin ol" to Dave, who handed it to her. Then she continues on "You have my tuna". This was not a question, but a statement. "No, I don't think so" I remarked, trying my darndest to play innocent.
"You don't understand, you have my can of tuna, the cash lady took my tuna, it's in yo' bag".
I'm thinking t'weren't the cash lady that threw in the can of tuna halfway through our order, t'were this lady herself trying to pull a fast one on us. Wasn't the cokin' ol enough?
"Yes, there's a can of tuna in this bag", I said.
"You don't understand, that's my can of tuna, the cashy lady put it in there".
"Yes you're right, it's your can of tuna, we didn't buy one".
She's starting to get agitated, "that's my can of tuna".
"Yes, it is. But we paid for it"
"You don't understand, it's my can".
This was going to go on forever, and it was hot. I looked at Dave, who looked at back at me.
"How much was the tuna?" and before she could think, she said "it was four dollars".
"Alright then, give me four dollars and I'll give you your can of tuna". She continued a little quieter this time "you don't understand, the cash lady put it in there".
And this time I had had enough, "No, you don't understand. We bought you your cokin' ol'. We paid for the tuna. You give me four dollars, and I'll give you the can of tuna".
She walked away, knowing her scheme was over. We dinghied back, put the provisions in the cold fridge, just before the skies opened up and the showers hit with full force.
We are happy to be back onboard, allowing the very gentle lull of the water sway us to sleep at night. There's still lots to be done however a few items got crossed of our lists. We have lots to be thankful for, including break-time that included two of our very favourite things...
Welcome to Grenada !
September 14, 2013 , Port Louis Marina, Grenada
We left home to come home.
Life for the past few months was lived in what was, for a very long time, home. We spent our time visiting with friends and family, which is another kind of home. We travelled through different provinces to what was once home before, and realized that memories are a different kind of home. And now we've come back to our Banyan, a current and very different choice of home.
We are, at the moment feeling a little lost between worlds, true gypsies I suppose as we feel we don't quite belong anywhere. And so we're left wondering just what is home?
Our journey "home" started early in the morning, and we were a tad anxious when we saw the airline attendant affix the bright orange sticker indicating "heavy load" on our suitcases, and we eyed each other warily, yet did a silent dance of joy when she informed us, that after all that serious shopping and stuffing and wrapping of stuff with bubble wrap and ziploc bags, our luggage weighed in at just point zero three and point zero two pounds (respectively) UNDER the required weight restrictions of the flight scale. Bonus!
After a few weather delays both flights departed successfully and we finally arrived, along with our very heavy luggage, in the very dark of night with insanely familiar scents (this is Spice Island after all) and sounds (remember the honking cabs and roosters crowing?), with its palpable humid lush green heat that is St George's, Grenada.
You can just imagine two tired and sweaty travellers (Dave was wearing jeans and socks, after all), arriving at Port Louis Marina, and walking the last few steps on the maze of dark docks of night to get to F (faraway) dock, heaving our heavy luggage bags onto a forlorn Banyan as she sat in her berth, steady and safe, waiting to welcome us home.
We opened the glass companionway that is the door to our home, without a whisper of wind to be felt anywhere, and into the depths of darkness and heat that was our sauna of a home we crawled, found a bag of chips (BBQ !!) that had to do for a midnight snack, along with a bright yellow surprise of "welcome home" banner from friends, and once we connected to the Collective, discovered that we obviously missed our very own welcome back party, complete with jell-o shots (thanks to Mike and Rebecca and fell into bed, exhausted, as we tried to uncramp our bodies and legs from the very small airline seats that we'd spent much of the day in.
Ahh, we sighed, as we fell into bed. We're going to miss our home away from home. We're going to seriously miss our family and friends that we call home. And yet, we're glad to be home.
July 22, 2013 , Dartmouth, N.S.
I never dreamed there was a possibility such as this, or of an Adventure such as this. Now I can't imagine a life other than this.
Dave and I left Halifax almost a year ago this week, and sailed and motored and motor-sailed ALL the way to Grenada. Which is kind of truly and really, pretty mind-boggling !!
Our year has been filled with Adventures, A bit of Boredom, Lots of Change, Dynamic Duo in the face of Diversity, Fun-Filled Friendships....
And after almost 365 days of life on Banyan, travelling on the ocean's vast lane highways, and with over 4600 nautical miles now under our belt, what do we have to say, other than Yee-Ha, Wow, and OMG?
Just what has happened to us as during this time? Well, re-reading our blogs, we know what has happened. But what, if anything, has happened to us as a result of all this? Have we changed, and how?
I hemmed and hawed and with pencil to paper and eraser in hand when Dave politely asks,
"What ARE you doing?"
"Why trying to list the side effects of cruising" I happily responded, to which he replied in all seriousness,
"There are side effects?"
Well, we've become water saving, space hoarding minimalists, forget to wear our shoes when we go to land, bathing in the biggest bath-tub ever is normal, still can't catch fish for supper, have an unnatural fear of lurking barracuda that follow Banyan and constantly scare us while snorkelling, sun kissed long haired gypsy-hippy'd fools? All for the cause of wanting to Live our Dream?
We used to live in a three level house and sometimes felt that that wasn't big enough, large enough with room enough to hold all of me, my life, all that was important to me, my husband, my clothes and oh, lets not forget my shoes. "In that order?" asked Dave noting that he'd been tossed in there somewhere between my clothes and my shoes. Ah, the womanly price of glamour, right? And no, cruising is nothing like Glamping.
With time we went from two households to one, then none and eventually we put all that was left of our stuff INto and ONto 40 feet of boat, and waved bye-bye as we sailed away from home, IN our home (and only half of the shoes we owned, plus one).
"What's the side effect in that?" Dave asked as he's waiting for me to find that replacement thing-a-ma-jiggie we know we packed and brought with us.
"Well, I know it's in here somewhere..." I said, "just give me a second to find it. I mean we live in 40 feet... how long could it take?" and he laughs as I twist my body into a serious pretzel look-alike in order to dig down and deep and most likely upside down to find the IT we' re looking for. So it's official, we're now acrobats!
And speaking of IT, since we couldn't find IT, we now have to go to the store and hope to buy IT. If we need an item or something breaks we can't just jump in the car and go to the store that we are used to being open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and find IT in the seventh aisle of similarly related items where you can feel the stress mount as you want to ensure you get the best product at the best price, bring it back only to find out there's a part or screw or two missing.
Now-a-days, we clamber into dinghy, and if we're lucky we remember to put on our shoes and close the hatches (always close the hatches !!), then try and find the store, sweating the uphill walk in blaring sun and heat, only to find out it's Siesta time. So we grab a beer at the nearest bar, lime with the locals as we wait, and then head back and although the sign says open at 3:00, it's 4:00 and the door is still closed. So you go back and have another beer. That's island time. Then you go home and try again tomorrow.
Living life on Island Time. What a concept. In our land-lubbing life we were driven to get ten things done, at once no less, to make room for ten more that needed doing and all the while multitasking at twenty other things, and somehow missing the point to it all.
"Today was a good day" I say.
"Why?" says he.
"We got our laundry done?!"
"Does that imply that we're getting kind of lazy?"
Getting provisions, doing laundry, shopping for IT, all have become major events where one task can easily (if all goes well) take all day, and usually requires celebratory drinks at the end of it all. Oh my, I feel we may be getting close to becoming alcoholics?
And ah, sipping sundowners, what a novel idea. The whole world should stop and sip on sundowners with fellow friends and neighbours as a way to end the day. Most times it involves meeting people from all anchors of life, forging friendships while watching sunsets, sharing adventures and opinions and munching on appetizers.... only to leapfrog away as soon as the weather changes and the winds blow everyone to new and different destinations. But somehow knowing deep down that the next time you meet it will be some other place and time and it will be just as much fun as if you've never parted ways.
But it's also about NOT being there for birthday cake or Sunday dinners with family and friends "back home" that somehow even if you had a stable WiFi connection as your boat swings in the blowing winds, Skype wouldn't help to give you the hug you so desperately want and need.
We used to be motivated by schedules, a watch and deadlines. Now we walk and talk and breathe the weather and the wind shifts rule our lives. Analyzing five different weather reports at once might help us determine what time of day or night we need to leave, how far we might get, and the compass rose provides direction on how land can best shelter us for the night. Sailing can be romantic and breath-taking as we spot the whales or play at the bow with the dolphins, but scary as we watch for weather and water spouts and sudden squalls and hope never to experience a man overboard.
Coming back to land-lubbing life this past week, we've felt overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the Abundance that surrounds all of us, do you see it?
It's made us feel a little bit lost and somewhat in limbo. This life of (some) unfriendly stress-filled frowns, sterile pre-packaged life-in-a-box while waiting endlessly in lines. Do you really NEED more so you can DO more so you can HAVE more so you can BE more?
Would you believe that we miss waking with the roosters and walking the streets with the goats and cows. We miss opening a carton of fresh-from-the field eggs that are mis-matched in size and colour and buying fresh fruits and veggies involves receiving them with the Earth they grew in. We love the busses that honk as they round a corner and cram "just one more person" beyond 18 in an 8 person van and stop whenever and wherever.
This week we find ourselves turning off the water in the shower while we soap and shampoo in our habit of conserving. We're remembering to wear our shoes, but already feel the call to buy one or two more pairs, until we look at each other and say "Really? We'll be barefoot again before long".
We find ourselves sitting close and side by side, elbows touching, in this three floor house as we watch half an hour of T.V. on the 50 inch flat screen and look at each other bug eyed and say "What? Was? That?" as the mind-numbing show draws to a close and the negative news is on repeat. And what's with Reality TV?
But oh the hugs from friends and family which are nearby and constant and that's a side effect that's beyond measure, oh-so-priceless and VERY REAL.
The Zen of Life guides the Self to Living in the Moment. For the moment we're living life on a boat, exploring our World and enjoying the wonderful people along the way. The many amazing moments we have lived have carried us very far and we've certainly changed because of it.
We appreciate more, and require less. We've slowed down more and rush less. We play more, laugh more, smile more... we OWN less but truly HAVE more.
Living the cruising life is about a shift, a change in one's perspective, an acceptance of what is. There are side effects and they will be different for everyone. It's not harder, nor is it easier, than landlubbing life. We love our journey most days and some moments we don't. But always we've grown, and been challenged, and awed from it and by it.
And at the end of the day, as we watch the sun set, and sip our sundowners, we look at each other and gratefully acknowledge that "Life. Is. Grand". We've seen things that made us go Yee-Ha, WOW and OMG... and that is what we were aiming for.
Sun and Sand and Salt in all. Yee-ha, WOW and OMG !! Happy One Year cruising Anniversary to Banyan.
Looking forward to Serious Side-Effects from Season 2.
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