Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lessons and Blessings and wind in our sails

Things are getting exciting for us. Finally after the years of planning and our arrival in Grenada to ‘collect’ our dear Shiloh, after a couple weeks of boat maintenance and systems testing and a few trial visits to the bays of southern Grenada over the last two weeks, (all within a few nautical miles of each other), we are now planning our maiden voyage from Grenada’s shores.
Our destination is still less than 50 nautical miles away, and technically we will be within the same set of islands (Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique), but it will be our first sail as a couple alone, our first departure from land as liveaboard cruisers, and a chance to learn anew, the face of a new land. We will also be sailing in tandem with another Cat and a great couple of seasoned sailors we met in Grenada.
Carriacou here we come! 
 In the meantime, today is an engineering day. A day of preparation and of fixing all the things that would otherwise go wrong at the very wrong moment out at sea.
After heaving out both aft cabin beds (despite my having laid fresh clean sheets last night!), Doctor/Captain John spent most of the day under the engine boards. In yogic configurations, his body twisted, sweat poured off his brow, showering down over batteries and carburetors, he worked his magic with voltage metres and cable ties, engines on then off then on again, while I stood by, passing spanners and cutters and the occasional glass of fruit juice. 
 We had a German engineer on board as well in the morning and the two of them ran test after test and commiserated on the mess of wires around the engine.
We have finally decided that a wind generator is not a good idea for us and we have no room for another solar panel (besides, we’d need double the battery capacity we already have and there’s nowhere else under our beds to store them!). So a little portable (and hopefully not too loud) 2KVA generator it is. Captain JW has this and only this in mind now, so that will be tomorrow morning’s first mission. Into town on the bus, buy the outrageously overpriced genset, lumber along in the heat to bring it back home. Theoretically, this will keep our power situation in check on the boat.
I have never had to, wanted to, or been remotely inclined to know this much about power, water, weather, wind. But these things are critical to a life at sea. Things which you must learn and understand and ‘get a feel for’, as JW puts it. Needless to say, there is a learning curve for me that’s exponential.
But the flip side of this, is a feeling of gratefulness and appreciation.
When the boat is hot and humid, the air sticking to everything and itself after a rain storm, we open the hatches and the cool breeze flows in and through. It is delicious.
When we arrive back at a marina after weeks out in the bay on anchor, and I’m dreaming of the hot shower that awaits us – to get under that pressurized flow, to feel truly clean and cleansed. It’s decadent.
To sit in the warm yellow light of our porch or cockpit in the evening, all the other lights off to save power, the quaint romantic glow is special. It is an oasis in the dark and a place to hold only us. Cozy in the tropics.
After a long day of hiking or biking through town or working below deck in the boat, the welcome opulence of an ice cold beer is like nothing else. The ice sliding down a brown bottle, the first bitter taste on the tongue and the exhilaration of that first swallow…. Ahhh. Nothing can truly describe it. Beer as blessing, oh yes.
All of these lessons and blessings overwhelm me, and we are only one month and one country in, on a journey that will hold so many more of both. Count me in - I’m onboard for all of it!

1 comment:

  1. And I can't wait! It's like I were on board as well.