Once again we are spending far longer in one place than we ever anticipated. Christmas passed with a food frenzy, the new year arrived with yet more good food and fireworks on the beach, Dreikönig (three-kings-day) saw some home-made three-kings-cake (well, it’s really a bread, but cake sounds better), and now we’re already well and truly into January.
You may wonder what’s keeping us in this place for so long? Alas, it’s once again the age of our boat. There are thousand things to repair (amongst them fixing the salt water and bilge pump, the stove, the air ventilation of the water tanks, the boom runner, the anchor storage, the pole fitting, removal of the eternal rust, sealing of small leaks in the windows, etc etc etc – some of them with undesirable side effects, e.g. an infected splinter in Pat’s finger) or, when they cannot be fixed, new parts must be ordered in. Of course over Christmas and New Years ordering things in is a little tricky, and we only now just managed to buy a new satellite phone (which of course is still in the process of being delivered), and will still have to look for a new EPIRB in case we should need rescuing. Bloody expensive stuff, but you don’t really want to cross the Atlantic without the bare minimum of safety equipment.
Well, nobody ever said that cruising around on an old steel boat would be easy. But sometimes, just sometimes, we are dreaming of living in a spacious, nice, clean, functioning house, where we could employ somebody to do all the cleaning for us, and where our dog could run free in the big garden. Oh, and don’t forget the nice, big supermarket and other shops in the neighbourhood, where you could just buy anything you needed, where you wouldn’t have to run around for two days stuttering in a foreign language to just buy a plug for your sink (the old one the %&”*#± dog must have hidden somewhere on the boat – one of her favourite tricks, after chewing socks of course)… no, no, we’re not really sick of sailing just yet, but sometimes … it can become a little frustrating.
And then again there are days where we just take it easy, sleep in, go for a walk in the beautiful hills surrounding the stunning bay, and all the hardship is forgotten. And then, sometimes, I think of my former life where I had to sit in my office day in, day out, struggling with things that seemed so important back then, and that just don’t have any relevance here anymore. I’m still proud of my PhD, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t regret for a minute that I’ve sold most of my belongings back home and put my career in science on hold for this experience. Here, I simply feel alive.