SimplySailingOnline.com shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.
Some of you may notice that several of the scenes in this post were included in an earlier post. At that time, I was avoiding the emotional parts, watering it all down a bit, and trying to put on a happy face. Now, a few weeks later, I'm better able to face the reality of the situation and share the tears with you all. Here is what I had originally written but didn't quite have the fortitude to post.
Life is short. If that sounds like a cliché, it's because some of us are slow to heed the warning and must be continually reminded. We read the words, think, "It sure is," and go on with our lives, changing nothing. But I encourage you to spend not a single second of your short life wishing you were somewhere else. It's a challenge I embrace in every situation.
When we leave a harbor after being anchored for even a few weeks, we usually look like complete novices. The stay sail sheets are tied to the deck with the dinghy. The main halyard is laced through the lazy jacks like a high top boot. The genny sheets are woven through the lifelines. Untied fenders roll across the deck, and the forgotten boathook swings like a trapeze artist in its harbor position. Situation normal.
After sixteen months as landlubbers, we were determined to avoid the Laurel and Hardy show. We slipped away from the marina, raised our main, unfurled the genny, and Eurisko trotted down the river, enjoying her rediscovered freedom. We had both verified that all lines were rove correctly. There were no surprises, nothing shifted down below, and even our stowaway lizard managed to enjoy the ride on the tail of the genny sheet, eight feet above the water. Life was good. Until we had to reef. Our sailmaker's mistake meant that the full main set beautifully but it is unusable when reefed. Then came the bridge. We were overcanvased fighting a headwind and an opposing current, so we decided to motor sail under the fixed bridge. The motor died just as we approached the waterboards. Earlier, we had discovered that all three GPSs were nonfunctioning. With an unusable sail, questionable motor, and no GPS, we were not going out the inlet. We tucked into a convenient cove for our sailmaker to assess the problem, for Dave to work on the motor, and for us to buy another GPS. While we wait, we may be sitting through the last good opportunity of the season to return to the Caribbean. We may be stuck here for months, waiting for the next change in weather patterns to allow us to sail to where we want to be. Does it matter? Here we sit and here I am reminding myself to savor every moment, even if it's not exactly where I want to be. Death has reminded me how to live.
In the past few weeks, first a family member and then a dear friend succumbed to cancer. Both were robbed of decades of life. Both were quick not only to laugh, but to be sure you enjoyed the joke along with them. One was a husband and father who survived only eleven weeks after diagnosis. Eleven weeks of nows. The other was a friend, sister, and daughter. (Watching your child die is incomprehensible to me.)
I don't mean to be morbid. Just the opposite. The tears and memories remind me daily of a mantra I had let slip from my life. Enjoy the now, even when you'd rather be anywhere else. Whatever moment you are living right now is a good moment because you are alive. Enjoy it. You never know how many of them you have left.
What do we give up when we go cruising? Perhaps more than you think. MONDAY we'll share some things we lost along the way.
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