A little Regina and a little SIMRAD
Stuck in Nassau.
A little Regina and a little SIMRAD
Stuck in Nassau.
Jeff – a professor who conducts studies on infant development at the University of Oregon, works diligently preparing spaghetti in the Galley of the 42′ “Calafia.” Tim – who served 8 years in the Navy working on submarines, speaks of his hatred for country music. Ken – our captain and instructor remains neutral. I sit at the table doing what I do best. Observing. Carrying a conversation with three men twice maybe three times my age seems natural, especially when boating is the area of common ground. We are all tired. Hungry. Just now warming up from a slightly hypothermic crossing back from the Channel Islands off the coast of southern California. I fear one glass of wine will make me want to sink into my bunk and drift off to sleep, all though it is only 6 o clock. I drink slow. Conversation eases, and becomes more personal after last nights “where are you from’s?” and “what do you do’s?”Jeff was the warmest of the three. Happy to be there, happy to learn, happy to admit if he was wrong about something, and could take a joke if it were thrown at him. I can’t say how naturally cruising life felt for him, but his heart was in it and we fed off of each others high spirits. Tim was open about not liking people. He would have never had to say it for me to pick up on it. He preferred his own system of going about things, but had enough knowledge to back up his reasons. Full of mechanical and technical intelligence, all aspects of sailing seemed to come naturally for him, I just wish I could have gotten him to laugh. Ken is incredibly oversupplied with cruising knowledge. He is kind, patient, but doesn’t let things slide. He is there to teach, and expects you to be there to learn. From 8 to 5, small talk did not stray from our sailing education for more than 60 seconds. Always quizzing, keeping us on our feet, and taking every single opportunity for us to learn something. Three point fixes, calculating time, distance, speed and fuel. Locating a tiny buoy miles off shore with no GPS, chart work only. It was fascinating.
Pleased with the knowledge I already have from my travels with Katie. I was equally pleased with what I gained on top of that knowledge during this ASA 104 course. It’s pretty hilarious to think of all of the ways Katie and I learned how to do things on our own, and now here I sit having them taught to me the proper way. From navigating, anchoring, docking, reefing, to plumbing, cooking, provisioning, and everything else involved in this life. Trail and error was our style. Katie and I created our own way of doing things, our own routine, and our own rules, possibly even our own language. This system we unknowingly concocted, worked wonders. Most likely because we learned it all ourselves, and most of the time the hard way. We didn’t know what was right or what was wrong. We just put our noggins together and did what made sense in the moment.
I feel like a queen aboard the Calafia. So much room for activities. A fridge, water heater, gimbaled stove, two working heads, swim platform, roller furling main, and a big ole Yanmar diesel amongst many other amenities. I am in heaven. I could live like this forever. How the hell did we live aboard Louise for a year? How the hell am I going to go do it again? Louise I love you dearly, but I am starting to think Katie and I are slightly insane. On the other hand, I know why we have become so resourceful.
Backtracking – Why am I on a sailboat in California you may ask? Years ago I lived in Santa Barbara and worked at the Santa Barbara Sailing center. It only took two phone calls for me to find myself here again. All I needed, was a job and a place to live. My old manager Ian Fitzgerald, (whom I consider part of my extended family) happily offered me my job back after calling him for temporary work. Meanwhile a wonderful friend of mine Danielle Harvey, happen to have an open room in her house, lease – free. So here I am. Loving this place more than ever before, I will be sad to go. My time here is already winding down before returning to life aboard Louise. Making sure that I use this time wisely, to save, to relax, to sleep well, to eat well, to indulge in all of the advantages that come with living in a home, and the advantages of working for the Santa Barbara Sailing Center. This three day trip has been an awesome opportunity, and I thank Ian for making it happen. It also made me thankful for having a best friend who was crazy enough to start this adventure with me, and crazy enough to do it all again. One more month. Back to it.
There I was. Sitting in front of my mac. Scrolling through my Facebook photos like a teenager. I took myself back in time. I clicked the mouse 794 times. All alone I sat laughing, and smiling uncontrollably. Memories. Smiles grew larger after looking back at all the phases, people, places, adventures, and ridiculous times that have lead me to move forward, backward, and often in circles. I felt like I was viewing a life of someone else, not that of my own. It was fascinating. It was weird.
At one point I was damn near crying because of how beautiful this timeline in front of me was. Mad at Facebook for making me cry, thankful at the same time for it providing me with a place to document the last 10 years. Still not processing the fact that I am viewing my own life, I became intrigued enough to want to share it beyond the planet of Facebook. So I created a photo blog. I am very cynical about the life of a photographer, hence the reason I have not striven to become one. Yet. There are so many amazing photographers in this life. Why would anyone choose my photography versus his/hers? It is just part of my life. I don’t think about it. It’s love. So here it is. Have fun.
I know many of you are curious how two 24 year old female best friends manage their sanity living in such a small space… for such a long time… with no where else to go. We had our moments. But we always worked it out. I read back through my journal, and found this one… I thought it would be interesting to share.
STANIEL CAY, EXUMAS – JUNE 16
“Have we seriously been here for a week? Not possible. We continue to find ways to entertain ourselves, and meet interesting people here. Moving further south seems unnecessary. We took a couple of days away from alcohol, until the lion fish tournament yesterday. Locals were feeding us screwdrivers at the yacht club, how could we turn it down? There was a fantastic crowd, and a delicious lion fish dinner. Who knew lion fish could be prepared in so many different ways?
When we returned to Louise, Katie and I got into a conversation that I think we really needed. All though it was not the easiest conversation to have. I don’t even know how it got started. But It was civil, mature, and positive. It began with her telling me how it bothered her how often I look to others for advice before hers, and cling to someone else’s suggestion before hearing out hers. She has felt like I have not trusted her opinions or judgement on several different occasions. We discussed how additions too the boat have made us rely on them, versus relying on each other. How we trust things (such as electronics or charts) versus trusting each others gut feeling, or initial reaction. I told her I have given up making decisions, because regardless she always ends up getting her way. How she makes a bigger fuss about certain things than I would have. We openly discussed issues than I never even realized existed because I had never been made aware of them. With out terribly throwing each other under the bus, we made one another completely concsious of what is was that we both needed to work on. Ballast has been lifted from our shoulders. Dead weight that we didn’t even realize was there. I felt a great difference in our friendship after that. All it took was one conversation. A tipsy girl talk in the V-berth laughing about how much we both suck.”
Our lives have gotten pretty regular, therefor not much to blog about, so I thought I’d share some of the nitty gritty of Katie & Jessie on long lost videos…
Eleven months, and we have only completed half of America’s Great Loop. If you asked me if it was what I expected, I don’t think I could answer. I don’t think I had any expectations at all. I’d say the both of us were pretty clueless as to what we were getting ourselves into. What I did think was that at some time over the course of a year, I would have an epiphany and discover what it is I am supposed to do with my life. That never happened, and I am still trying to figure that one out. But what I do know, is that the list of things I learned about myself and the world of cruising is extensive. Towards the end, I admit, I was itching to get off of Louise. Yearning to get back into a “normal life.” One including a real bed, running water, flushing toilets, ice, and various other items most would require to stay alive. Until I found myself there… in a warm home tucked away in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. As far from the ocean as I could be. The funny thing is that I didn’t find myself anywhere but aimlessly wandering. Unsettled. Slightly confused. Spending every moment thinking about getting back aboard, and all the work required before we can do so. Constant conversations in my head about boat life, or things that occurred over the last year. There was no one in the mountains I could have these conversations with. No Katie. No Reggie. No Louise. I love the mountains, and I love the woods. But what was once my version of a “normal life,” changed.
My normal life is it wake up and pee 12 inches from Katie’s head. Have Reggie jump in the v-berth and wag his tail as it smacks you in the face. Boil hot water, and make strong coffee in my french press while rocking back and fourth. Hang up all the wet stuff to dry that had gotten wet from the rain the night before. Check the bilge. Sit in the cockpit for endless morning hours, focusing on nothing but the caffeine and what I had dream’t the night before. Writing down thoughts, and observations. Watching weird creatures swim around Louise. Jumping in the salty water to bathe. Occasionally picking up my guitar, playing the same things over and over again. Sparring with Katie over engine issues, and where we were going to go the next day. We managed to stay busy. We just did everything really slow, at the pace of a 90 year old. We had all the time in the world to do so. This is my normal.
Since being back I have disturbed myself with how I’ve spent time. I discover my fat ass on a couch, with a large, bright, stimulating television in front of my face. I scroll facebook as if it’s important as the NY times. I haven’t picked up my guitar, let alone the journal I typically write in every single morning. Most importantly, my camera has sat in it’s case barely touched. Sprawling mountains and land to run, surrounded by a new kind of beautiful that I only am enjoying from behind the window pane. I am more scared of a moose than a shark. Plus, the couch is really comfortable… All of the above indicators of being uninspired and unmotivated. My brain hasn’t quit going wild with plans and ideas, but my body doesn’t want to keep up. This being said, I’m trying to find where it is I am supposed to be. Seems I should be seeking a body of water. I need to surround myself with like-wise beings, people who understand my kind of “normal.”
These next couple months are vital to the following leg of the journey. Obviously we ran out of money again, and we don’t care to be cruising the ocean while mother nature needs her season to hurricane. We think of Louise every single day. Already stressed about what needs to be done, but thrilled to get back and start the process. If you have kept up with the stories, you are aware that Louise has been through hell and back. Therefore the list of things to fix when we return to Fort Lauderdale:
-sand / re-paint the bottom
-fix prop shaft (we think it is just a matter of replacing the “locking nut” or whatever it’s called)
-cracked rudder (re-fiberglass)
-cracked tiller (re-laminate?)
-re-place stanchion that ripped off
-re-place all engine fluids/filters
-paint transmission (forgot to do this before new one was installed)
-lets not forget to mention cleaning out the mold that will be covering every square inch, amongst many other odd growths and peculiar scents.
SO, we have some things to do. Meanwhile, I am going to soak up life’s current amenities. I am not going to count the seconds in-between lightning. I am not going to hang up my clothes to dry, I will put them through a machine that makes them warm and fluffy. I will not use the restroom in a bucket. In fact, I may flush the toilet twice for each use to make up for all those times I never could. I will not struggle to stand while making my breakfast in the morning. I will move freely about the stable ground without holding on to something for balance. I will bathe myself in water not containing salt. I will chop all of my hair off for it has become rather nappy over this past summer. I will not sweat myself to sleep. I will put ice in my drink. I will drive my truck, faster than 5 knots. I will wear shoes!!! I can do all of these exciting things, while working to save towards not having all of these things. Isn’t that great?
Here are some photos of my whereabouts and activities since I have been a land-lubber.