N e w Y e a r s E v e | Dec 31 | 2018
I can’t remember the last time I sat and did nothing. It’s been ages. It feels wrong. Against my will. I try to remember how. But I’m making lists in my head. I add “do nothing” to my list. I check it off immediately. I can’t help it. I move onto the next thing. My mind still works while my physical self just sits.
It’s New Years Eve. A rare easterly blows through the channel into Lagos Marina. This is the first day, since November 10, that sitting in the cock-pit doing nothing, feels almost acceptable, even though I don’t remember how to do it.
Forty eight days in the boat yard. Sunrise to sunset. Coffee. Walk the beach to clock the sunrise. Feed the local cats. Collect one bag full of plastic. Breakfast. Prioritize projects. Pull apart old rudder. Find propane. Track down Antonio, the canvas guy. Drop sails at sailmaker. Fill water tanks. Fix water tank vent. Fix life lines. Fix stairs. Remount sliding companion way. Re-paint cabin top. Straighten stanchions. Re-bed stanchions. Sand and varnish boom, mizzen, bamboo shroud covers. Sand bottom. Paint bottom. Running lights. Re-wire and re-mount solar panels. Re-fit Hydrovane. Rig check. Verify good threads on all turn buckles. Beef up anchor. Rewire stereo. Find mahogany. Find marine plywood. Find router, planer, and jig saw. Order fiberglass, epoxy, bottom paint and varnish. Check seacocks. Replace mast headlight. Secure loose lead in bilge. Cut wood for rudder. Plane wood for rudder. Shape wood for rudder. Glue. Epoxy. Fillers. Have stainless steel rudder post fabricated. Fit rudder to rudder post. Batons in sails. Stack pack back on. Sails back on. Oil change. Trans fluid. Alternator belt. Replace all filters. Check all hoses and clamps. Replace impeller. Order spares. Lift boat. Put rudder on boat. Packing gland. Connect Quadrant. Disconnect quadrant. Remove quadrant. Disconnect shift and throttle cables. Reconnect shift and throttle cables. Reconnect quadrant. Reconnect steering cables. Autopilot. Nuts. Bolts. In the bilge. Upside down. Swearing. Luke vs rudder. Jessie vs steering quadrant. The list goes on for infinity.
Splash. In the water. All is right in the world again. Now I sit and do nothing. For only a moment because my child like instincts are skipping down the promenade, pointing towards Desiree tied to the visitor’s pontoon, “Look! Look! Everyone please stop what you are doing and have a look at our boat. Isn’t she lovely?!” And the strangers smile, and tell other strangers, and they give me high fives and tell me how proud they are of our hearty work.
Portugal has stolen my heart. I’ve never thought about buying property or a home, or any thing for that matter that could make me feel in any way, shape, or form – stuck – tied down. But here, here I wouldn’t mind having like, just my big toe stuck in the Portuguese soil, or square knotted to an orange tree. Things move very slowly here. Contradicting its’ slow culture, the hours pass quickly. We are several weeks behind our predicted departure date. Neither of us mind. Every day we meet someone new. Be it a sailor, wood worker, farmer, or artist, we have and share a little community. We recognize new friends at the market, in town, on their boats, at the pub, walking the beach. Andy. Dik. Martin and Henny. Joelle. Rui. Ben and Shanti. Laurent and Cecile. Douwe and Jan. Nick, Ana, Noah and Santos. Hanno. Chris. The Frenchies. Bego and Mani. Andy and Mia. The crazy lady on the bridge. The parrrots. The woman who plays the fiddle. The lady at the gas station who doesn’t like Luke. The stray cats to whom we have given each a name – Betsy, Momma, Free Willy, Catfish, Mittens, Kitten, Jafaar, Whitetip, Moses, Ginger bullocks, Peggy, Adele, Cancer, Ragu, Frankenstien, and Tato, like Potato, the one we chose to adopt.
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