Sunday, May 6, 2012

Finding the key

As we made our way back to Shiloh across the bay in the dinghy last night, moonlight bathed us in an indigo glow. Everything was awash with light, dancing on the little waves, bouncing back up at the huge disc of light above us. The bay was quiet. Cruisers having switched off all lights but the mast heads, serving as tiny reflectors to mark their spots in the world.
I was in awe of the weather, the beauty, the peacefulness. But mostly I was in awe of all the people, asleep in their tiny cabins around us.
Since we arrived in Grenada – by plane – we have met countless travelers, having sailed from the UK, from South Africa, some from as far as Australia.
When we hear these stories, I can’t help but gaze deeply in the storyteller’s eyes, to look at their hands, their clothes, their gestures. Could there be a formula that gives people the strength, determination, zest for life, that indescribable something that makes them pack up the family or set aside the lazy retirement and face the unknown of a sea-journey of the world?
Some people look weathered and strong, while others look timid, plain, ordinary. In my mind I wonder, “How did they cross the world by sea?!” What skills, demeanor, training, lack of judgment do they possess?
Last night’s jazz performers at the marine were a talented German duo, having sailed the world for over 27 years, circumnavigating many times. They were nearing, or into their 70’s and not planning to quit anytime soon.
As we were losing stamina for the evening, a friend in his sixties was doing a tequila shot and talking of hanging up his rugby jersey at 52. Since then he’d sailed pretty much around the world.
Earlier in the day, a family with two kids under 5, living on a tiny monohull, had arrived ashore on Hog island with their picnic basket, ready to set up a barbeque.
“How do you watch your toddler on the boat?”
“We have nets around the outside and boats are small, he doesn’t get out of my sight really, he keeps me busy!”
I couldn’t imagine it. Her husband works on the island, and they have sailed from South Africa.
A few minutes later she was swimming back to the boat, way out in the bay to bring their second dinghy back.
This morning we arrived (by dinghy to shore) and as we came around into the second bay, we passed a small old man, rowing his dinghy. He arrived about 30 minutes later. We said hello. He explained that he rows around daily It can take him one or two hours. He must be 70+.
All these stories and the many many more, are inspirational.
A few cruisers had congregated around a palm tree at Roger’s beach bar the other day and they were commiserating on having to visit ‘home’ back in Australia/South Africa/Europe.
“People just compare their ailments and complain about getting old!”
This was the general gist of the conversation. And I could relate. Sitting back on land, where we could jump into our car, everything at our fingertips, we became lazy. We stopped appreciating the little things. We stagnated.
 Yesterday, after a couple hours with my shoulder holding up the engine cover (while JW plunged in below), huge flashlight in hand, passing tools and sweating through my t-shirt, we finished ‘work’ for the day, peeled off the sopping clothes and decided to explore the island, Take a refreshing swim. It was a day of physical work, physical play, and when we did hit the pillow I slept soundly.
This morning we are at a boat jumble sale, surrounded by so many people who are living life in the moment. I don’t know what they have that makes them special. Maybe it’s something that’s in all of us. They’ve just found their key. And I think we’re finding ours.


  1. Beautiful post adn so right. Here, on land, everyone is BORING, bored by its own life, usually a daily routine ...
    I love reading your boat stories.

  2. I think anyone that takes risks and lives "out the box" is special! So glad you've "found your key" and we can't wait to get out there and meeting amazing people like ya'll!