“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
Alright, twenty-three days at sea, this is what happened…
For having a lot of time on our hands, the days were fairly structured, to my disappointment (aren’t sailors supposed to be laid back?). We each had a shift for day watch, cooked either lunch or dinner (more about the food situation later), washed dishes and had night watch. Every activity takes a lot longer on a boat than at home. For example, after bumping your way to the bathroom you need to pump flush (unless its our toilet and half the time it didn’t flush which meant going up, throwing a bucket over to get water and bumping your way back to throw it in the bowl), pry your hatch open to throw out your paper and carefully, very carefully, turn the faucet slightly on to use some precious fresh waster. Going pee could easily take 5x the amount of time than it should. Unless you’re a dude and can just pee off the side. I did ask Ez to stop doing this while we sailed though because we heard that a lot of drowned sailors have been found with their flies down.
We did watch beautiful sunrises and sunsets and myriad marine life added some excitement to the days. It was not uncommon to wake with flying fish and squid all over the deck as they made their kamakaze flight on board. Sometimes we saw dolphins playing off the bow and once we heard them speaking (is this what they do?) below in our cabin.
A few days in a French family passed us on their catamaran. We spoke over the VHF and took pictures of each other passing by. This is very exciting when there is nothing between you and the horizon in all directions. Shortly after we saw a pod of whales breaching. Other than that, we saw only one other boat in those weeks at sea. It was just the Swedes and the Americans on a 38ft boat.
In our free time we read a lot of books. Ez read Mark Twain and studied constellations and knots. I read about homesteading, simple living, herbalism and trashy novels. He would stay up and teach me what he learned (he wasn’t as interested in my current educational choices). We listened to books on tape about Buddhism and planned a lot for our upcoming travels. We had great conversations about the future and what we want from our lives. Some nights I would just stare at the dark night for those hours and try desperately not to fall asleep in the process.
Of course I am glossing over all the difficult parts (its not productive to think about how fast you could go 3000 nautical miles in a car versus 5 knots by sail) but by the end we had really enjoyed the experience of the long passage and at times is was incredibly peaceful. I felt more confident navigating, could jibe by myself and started to feel more comfortable sailing overall. This was all until a few days before landfall and we saw cockroaches onboard. That made me ready for land and some alone time. Four people on a small boat can feel a bit crowded and I wasn’t excited for the new stowaways.