“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” -John A Shedd
We met “The Swedes” (otherwise known as Andreas and Karin) out for dinner and drinks to make sure none of us were too crazy and get any remaining questions answered before we joined them on the Pacific crossing. We got a good feel for them and decided to go for it. Sailing has long been a dream of mine but it always seemed a little out of reach. Last summer Ez and I took sailing lessons and joined a sailing club but wanted some more experience other than in the calm Minnesota lakes. So this plan of becoming crew was hatched and here we are, in Panama and ready for what we hope will be quite the adventure.
It was an interesting first few days learning how to provision for such a massive passage. It was an epic shopping experience (one I hope to never repeat) – three solid days of running around Panama City just buying food. (Another day was spent just filling up water and Diesel.) We filled somewhere in the ballpark of 12-15 grocery carts. Months later we would still be savoring the delicious canned goods on the other side of the Pacific.
One of our taxi drivers was horrified at what we were about to do (although he was driving us around a little loopy on pain killers-you tell me what’s more dangerous) and so pulled out an 8×11 laminated picture of Jesus (who doesn’t have one of these under their visor?) to take with us on our voyage. We kept our savior in the hanging fruit basket and asked him to watch over us and our passion of the fruit. Maybe even turn a few pieces into wine. We had a great many chats with him in the upcoming months.
I was glad when that tool show was over and we were ready for our first sail out of Panama City. We were finally on our way to Las Perlas islands, a six hour day sail. We were giddy with excitement and I had a hard time processing that we’d made this happen. We spent the next week on the islands of Contadora and Espírito Santo getting used to the our new routine and discovering what life on a sailboat was all about. How do I do dishes? Do the solar panels produce enough electricity to power my e-reader? How often can I shower? We got the answers to these questions quickly. One night while rinsing my hair with salt water (you use just a bit of fresh water at the end to rinse) I noticed bioluminescense dripping from my hair and hands. I’m sure this is the closest I will ever be, to feeling like a fairy. It was an absolute beautiful moment.
We also beached the boat to do some repairs on the rudder. It was quite an interesting day sitting on a catamaran, on the beach. Repairs were made, the tide came up and thankfully we were out at sea once again.