Cool things seen and toilets ...
06 February 2012
Still looking back, I remember vividly; an inky green inlet pulsing with tiny cloud quarter sized jellyfish, and another kind of jellyfish clear except for gold ribbing that pulsed bubbles of neon red green and blue along its sides. Bare branched and twisted bonsai trees, misty mornings, rocks, boulders and isles sprouting miniature landscapes and tiny ecosystems remain etched in my memory. We kayaked by rocks that look like beached whale planters. And sailed by bare rocks barely above water with birds, one rocky isle having a party of three kinds of comarants, a few gulls and squatted among them one turkey vulture. Images of rocky cliffs wearing a forest of wild hair, vertical rock walls sprouting fern stubble and everywhere on lushly clad green slopes white crazy stitches of falling water linger in my mind's eye. We've seen double rainbows often and once a perfect sun ring. Today we are south of the 46th parallel in Patagonia proper. This part of Chile is a visual tre at for people who love landscapes, especially rugged natural looking ones. Whenever we hike, I keep thinking Andy Goldsworthy would have a heyday creating art here. This place has many moods; poetic misty mountain days when I half expect a Chinese poet sage to step out and begin painting and reciting poems, bright bold decisive days that skip sparkles across waves and define clearly the white capped giants living here, groups of islands that swim in turquoise waters wearing Hawaiian shirts and hosting penguin parties or sometimes days when the green forested sameness lulls one into a stupor. I am as moody as this land. This is an excerpt from my journal several days ago, "The barometric pressure is falling. I feel unsettled. There is an unsettled feeling. A low high-pitched whine in the lines and shrouds from the wind is annoying. It's the day of flies. Jeff's blue hood was covered by them. Flies. Hundreds. What do they eat? I mean if we were not here? I've seen one squirrel, two sea otters, lots of sea lions, dolphins, whales, but no other warm blooded animals in five months. These flies like it hot and sunny, opposite of our mos quitos back home. A mean feel, irritable and grouchy". And so it is, sometimes. This sailing life is life. Sometimes it is great and sometimes it is not. The thing is, packed along with my suitcases was me, myself and all the filters through which I experience the world. Now I'm having a conversation with this place, and sometimes I can't get myself out of the way to see it with new eyes. This is frustrating. I'd like to be able to share with you the magic, the incredible beauty, the stunning scenes that we move through here, only today I can't get past the frustrations of sharing a small space with two other people. Loud music with lyrics and battery charging beeps fill the cabin. The sky blankets us suffocating, heavy and white. Out of Hekla's windows I see white. It's rained for six days straight. And there was a huge mudslide left in the bowl this morning. I might as well share the bodily aspects of our sailing life with you. Sensitive squeamish folks might want to skip this paragraph. I never realized how much I took flushing in the United States for granted. Boat toilets are not a push one button affair, and they are often full of surprises starting with lifting the lid. Depending on the success of the previous flush, you might find something left over. Or depending on your boat mates, you might find skid marks or worse as I've already shared. The first step after raising the lid, is to use the little foot pump below the sink to put some sea water into the bowl. Do this first because once you sit down and start your business, no amount of twisting, turning and stretching your leg out is going to reach that little lever. I know. If you forget to fill the bowl first, try to go only number one, number two is going to hit bottom and stick every time. Second use the bare minimum toilet paper necessary, as Jeff says, "twelve tiny sheets will go down nicely", more than that and it could get ugly. Using the tp, one must remember that these are BOAT toilets, therefore they are shallower than standard issue USA toilets. Watch the clearance. Okay third stand up and close the lid. Please make sure you close the lid. And fourth, start pumping and praying. Pump slowly and steadily at least ten times, or at least a few times past when you feel the pump suction and pull down your deposit. Fifth, pump some more sea water in wi th the tiny lever below the sink. Repeat pumping with the long handled toilet pump, just to be sure. Sixth, carefully open the lid and take a peak to make sure it's all clear for the next user. If not repeat steps three, four, five and six until it's good to go. Remember to wash your hands kids, and there you have it the profound and the mundane all in one blog post, just like life.