03 September 2013 | The Backstory
August 31, 2013
"Don't fight!" Alison said. "Cruising is fraught with the possibility of error. Things will spill, break, fly across the cabin, fall overboard, sink, get drenched by a wave, spoil, burn and fade. It's nobody's fault. It actually may be somebody's fault, but it doesn't matter. In time, you'll both make the same number of idiotic mistakes,so it all zeros out."
She and Allan were visiting again, only this time it was to deliver some gifts and parting words of wisdom. You see, Alison and Allan have done this before and they understand exactly what we are going through.
I got Alison's call yesterday afternoon when she wanted to know if we were at the boat. She was flying out the next morning for Shanghai and since we were counting the days before leaving, she and Allan wanted to stop by the boat and say goodbye. Were we at the boat? In fact, we were not. We were running errands but agreed to meet them an hour later on Cadenza. As usual, they arrived by dinghy. Alison says this is one of the ways she gets her boat fix now that they have sold "Fly Aweigh." Fly Aweigh was their Catalina Morgan 440 they purchased to go cruising. It was 2009 and the economy was crashing. Both Alison and Allan are airline pilots. She flies for United and he for UPS. It was a perfect time to take a hiatus and so with their airlines' blessing, they took a leave of absence. They bought a boat, outfitted her and sailed her south to Mexico and ultimately, crossed the Pacific, ending up in Australia where they sold her, bought a van and proceeded to do a road trip throughout Australia and then, a year and a half after they left Ventura Harbor, flew home and resumed what most would call a "normal" life. So, if anyone would be savvy to the stress we were under it was them. And they came to calm our spirits and say farewell. But there we were. Not even 24 hours later, fighting. Right there in the cockpit of our boat on the end tie for the entire harbor to witness. Well, maybe I shouldn't say fighting. I was yelling and Jay was exhausted and frustrated and a bit angry with me. We had been working very hard over the last few weeks; installing solar and checking the engine and electronics. We sanded and painted and varnished. We repaired and repainted our dinghy. We rerigged the davits. We organized and provisioned and labeled. We have taken things off the boat only to make room to bring new things onto the boat. We have carted things back and forth and back and forth, up the dock, down the dock, in the car and out of the car trying to figure out what we need to take and what we donât. With our home in Martha's Vineyard, a storage unit in both Buellton and Oxnard, California, and our boat (potentially) in Mexico, (not to mention Jay's ongoing professorial gig at WVU) it's a constant struggle - this logistics thing.
So, yes, the fuses blew as Jay was annoyed with me that I had made yet another mistake. (Oh yes, I have a list of mistakes - like the time we took an overnight passage to Catalina Island. I forgot to batten down the miscellaneous items in the bathroom. It was a beautiful full moon but we had quite a rough, rolly sea. I went below to find lotions and such toppling about so, not wanting to put the light on, I put my arms out and gathered everything and swept them into the sink. Later, when we arrived in Two Harbors, we discovered that I had inadvertently turned on the faucet with a brush of my arm. I had single-handedly emptied out one of our two water tanks of its hundred gallon capacity! Good thing we weren't crossing an ocean. Or there was the time I burned out the water heater by leaving it on with no water in it. These are just two of the many follies I have made in preparation of cruising.) But the truth is, today's mistake wasn't so terrible; it was just an added problem to an already complicated day. I was trying to help. Really. I was cleaning up the cockpit because in the throes of preparation it seems there are more and more obstacles and stuff lying about the boat waiting to be tucked in and battened down for our voyage. Meanwhile it is quite a mess and I was putting things back in order. On the list of things to do was to get gas to fill various tanks on board, one of which was the generator. While trying to get the generator back into its nice new canvas cover, I inadvertently spilled gasoline all over our teak decks in the cockpit. I watched helplessly as it soaked in while Jay lamented over the fact that the odor would never come out and we would be stuck with one more yucky smell on our boat. Well, it did come out - with Jay's instruction and the help of an absorbent oil pad. And we apologized and laughed about it later over dinner. But it does go to show that although we are "living the dream," we are still dealing with reality.