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A Change?

As I sit here trying to figure out how to write this, the Easterly Atlantic Tradewind is making the mast hum a low rumble as the warm wind flows through the front window hatch and makes me think it might be time to close it for the evening. A big orange full moon came up over the harbor hillside a bit ago and is playing hide-and-seek between the scudding clouds. And I still don’t know how to write this.

As a blog entry, I always try to be reflective about what I’m doing and thinking, and I intend to continue that tradition this time. However, a lot has happened and a little catching up may be in order. Or, maybe nothing has happened out of the ordinary, and there’s not really much of anything to catch up. Hmmm. Well, maybe I’ll just split the difference and do a bit of both.

What isn’t new is that I’ve gotten very tired of spending time lasting out cold, dreary winters. And I’ve been saying I needed to do something about it. What also isn’t new is that I’ve commented about being aware of the looming time horizon of serious aging and contemplating how I was going to spend that time. Sort of not new is that I always enjoyed my time afloat on a sailboat but had sort of given up on that since Ginny and I sold our last boat after sailing four winters in the Bahamas and Caribbean until I was tired of repairs and Ginny had some suspicious memory problems. So, those are some of the ordinary, more-known things of my life.

What is new, is that I’ve done something about those ponderings of life and am now sitting out in a harbor in Antigua, in the Caribbean Sea, staying warm (it takes a little adjustment), on a ten-year-old sailboat, working hard at repairs that need to be done so we can go out and enjoy some of the less-populated islands of the West Indies. Did I say “we?” Oh, that’s part of the new.

You see, niece Desiree, who Ginny and I dragged up mountaintops, bicycle camped, skin and scuba dived, and many other tortures of being half-raised by a crazy aunt and uncle, is co-owner of this sailboat: a 39’ Lagoon 400 catamaran, if you’re interested. She too is tired of being cold in the winter, misses being in the outdoors—especially that associated with the sea—and is thinking of what the horizon of aging holds for her, even though she is 17 years younger than me. Moreover, she is tired of the constant pressure involved in being a construction contractor for many years and is ready to retire. And some fortuitous circumstances and conversations, eventually led to us buying this boat, named Mariposa—Spanish for butterfly. The metaphor is apt, I think.

So, I’m spending my time getting the boat ready while she’s finishing up two last projects and getting the houses sold later this year. She will join me here in the middle of March for three weeks, when we hope to have the boat systems operating (engines running when the wind isn’t blowing enough to power our sails, desalinator filling our water tanks, solar panels churning out electricity, and all the small but essential electrical and mechanical parts operating as they should). Then we can get to do some skin diving and general exploring as a test drive for what we hope to be doing most of the time in the future during the winters. She’s a sailor with experience too, so we think this is a good thing we can do together. A lifetime of knowing each other and doing stuff together should help, dontcha think?

And to answer your question about hurricanes, the first of May we take the boat out to store it tied to big buried concrete blocks until we come back the third week of October. Then it’s get ready to float off to new places; most likely heading south down the chain of islands.

And to answer your question about Ginny, she is in the best possible place for care. She hasn’t been able to interact with me, as Lance or recognize me in that way, for 2-3 years now. She can usually interact with me as a person, just like the caregiver staff; but as me, no. When we were young, we made a pact that no matter what happens to one of us—death or completely unable to relate to the other—the one left standing, so to speak, was not to let their remaining life dangle, waiting/wishing or whatever, but was to go on with their life. It’s been very hard to carry out the directives of that pact, but I’ve finally reached the point where I am able to do so.

So, that’s the new and the old, the new building on the old, but not really new either—more a continuation of the old in a transitional form that is somewhat different from what came before. After all, is there ever really anything new under the sun?

Tomorrow I get in the dinghy and motor to the Falmouth Harbor dinghy dock, tie it up, and walk to a canvas shop to get repairs done to the helm station enclosure which protects the person steering from sea spray and the hot sun. Then off to an ATM for some cash, a stop at the grocery store for some items, a stop at a marine parts store in an attempt to find a needed replacement boat part that just broke, and then dinghy back out to the boat to see if an electrician can make it out to my anchorage to fix what needs fixing—and then it’s time to make lunch, or dinner, whatever time it is. Does any of this sound familiar?

Such is life…

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