Friday, 12 April 2013

The Moments in Between


The “Moments In Between” 


I was thinking the other day how most of our posts could easily become repetitious, with me gushing about how beautiful the islands are, how the sunsets are as breathtaking as the rum dangerous...we are having a great time yada yada yada....it could get old fast for anyone who care to read about our adventures...”No” I thought “ I should tell them about all the other stuff”....what happens in between all the paradise moments....you know...LIFE ?!  In many ways life stays the same for us “out there” it is just that the challenges might look a little bit different. I will use our latest two week trip from St Lucia to the Grenadines (Bequia (pronounced Bekway)and St Vincent as an example. Of course it was beautiful and all that, but if you want to hear the “pretty” stuff you are welcome to see the pictures I post on Facebook. 



Take for instance the WICKED sunburn I got on my lips: waking up the next morning looking like Bubba Gump....pain and blistering for days ! Oh and that rolling anchorage off St Lucia (Souffriere), where the boat rocked so much we were almost airborne in our bunks trying to sleep and dreaming about roller coasters......that of course is the night where we did not secure the mizzen boom enough and the resulting creaking noise became the bane of my very existence...You think you will go insane  at first telling yourself that you will get used to it but then finally at around 3:00 am you give in, swearing under your breath at that “useless piece of metal” that now seems to be moving just to spite you....as you try to crawl out of your hatch without waking your husband....you are halfway out when, feet dangling, you realize that the ceilings in your cabin are 7 feet high and your bunk will not boost you high enough to make it up on your own....then, reluctantly you wake your (snoring) captain to ask him to give you a boost.....(I love the way Mark does not even bat an eye or ask: “ what in the hell are you doing ?”....he just gives me a boost and goes right back to sleep).  You secure the line and go back to your bunk, sightly less flustered than before....you close your eyes and then you hear the other line....hitting against the mast.....

When we are on our way it can get exciting....really fast !  One moment you are sitting in the cockpit enjoying the excitement and the speed of your boat as it picks up the wind and flies through the waves, the next moment your captain asks you to go to the foredeck to release a genoa sheet which has got caught up on the end of the genoa pole......up you go (one hand for the boat and one hand for yourself of course)....and what you see when you get up there is that the Genoa sheet has somehow transformed itself into a very angry, terribly strong sea serpent that is striking anything that comes near it, it whipping around threatening to hit you in the face, on your legs,your body, it moves so fast and with so much uncontrollable strength you are not sure which end to try to tackle first.....eventually you tame it and you make your way back to the safety of the cockpit, sweating and shaken,  feeling like you have just been in a brawl....you need a beer.

One thing that became quite obvious from the first day out is that our children will have to get used to hearing their mother using “less than desirable language” when dealing with winches and sheets....as I said before, on a powerful boat like ours, thing can get ....well...intense!  Like that time when the wind went from 20-35 knots in a few seconds and the sheet got jammed around the winch (again) !  I have found that I have absolutely no control over what comes out of my mouth at those times.....now I know why they say: “Swearing like a sailor”. Yeah, I get it. Maybe someday I will be able to better restrain myself, but for now I just consider it as the uglier part of the kids “education about the world”  and hope that they never repeat !

Don’t get me started about the time when Matthew stepped on to a sea urchin in St Vincent and we all tried to get the spikes out of his toes, but they kept breaking off (as we later learned; they are designed to do). There we were the three of us surrounding him with a giant magnifying glass, some tweezers, antiseptic solution and Meghan handing over an endless supply of  easter candies to Matthew to help him ease the pain.....We had conflicting advice. “Local Knowledge” (ie the boat boys) was that he needed to “pee on himself” and that the “spikes would just “slip out”...the guide book said to use vinegar or lime juice to dissolve the spikes, so....we tried both !  Matthew was in pain at the beginning and we wanted to get him comfortable as fast as possible...hence the candies and the Tylenol.....The meds helped, but not as much as the candy did. 

Another challenge of course is dealing with Hurricane Matthew’s destructive potential. He has a real knack at finding things and ...well....wrecking them. The most recent storm occurred as we were underway between St Vincent and Bequia. He was sitting quietly in our cabin below as we were all up top in the cockpit. The “quiet” bit should of been my first clue that something was up. It's never a good sign....like the calm before the storm. It was several hours later when I discovered that Matthew had found a red pen...and as he has been learning to take pens apart lately, he of course was practicing this new skill out , in our cabin, on our bed, in my BRAND NEW silky sheets that I had brought down from Canada and was so happy with !  Well.......now my light grey silky sheets have a perfect, large red circle in the middle of them...when I hung them up to dry on the foredeck later that day it looked like we were flying a large Japanese flag .....wow....what a talented young man !  You can’t care about material things too much when you have Matthew on board with you.....he is teaching me to let these things go.....

As safety is a huge issue on board, we are taking the time to practice our emergency drills. To that affect we were doing our “MOB” drills (Man-over-Board) with our new swanky “LifeSling3”  and I thought it was a brilliant idea to use an old laundry detergent bottle (cap on) with a stray white shirt tied on as our MOB volunteer. 

We even drew a face and christened him “BOB”...all was going so well....Bob had flung himself overboard, we had Meg on watch and captain Mark at the helm, the Lifesling3 worked beautifully, as we rounded on back to Bob, reassuring him that all was well and that he would soon be on back board....that’s when we heard Meg cry out.....BOB is sinking !!!!  And he was......turns out, in my enthusiasm to use the laundry bottle I had forgotten that a week before I had punctured it to get the last of the liquid out.... ooops.....so much for not polluting the water with plastic!  My only consolations is thinking about the look on the divers faces when they meet Bob down below......


There have been many other funny/challenging moments on board in these last 10 days, but I will leave those for another time 

We have hauled Amelie out of the water now and can only start counting the days before we are back on board.

Until then, fair winds to you all......