Sunday, May 29, 2016

Days like these...

If there is no breeze, not a breath of wind on a sun-baked Exuma day, is there any air at all?
The wall gadget that survived our lightning strike tells me it’s 35 celcius. The digital man is smiling, stiffly standing in sunglasses, a t-shirt and shorts. He thinks it’s safe to assume it’s gonna be a hot one out there. But I know this already. Sweat trickles down my back. My front. Well all around really. And then I just step outside into this world. The stillness and the beauty overcome me.

Is it not all a turquoise mirage created by a fabulous artist with perfectionist tendencies? The innumerable blues along the water, the slightly too imaginative cloud formations. It all points to a world in a frame, not to be disturbed by the reckless movements of the human animal.
Indeed, on days like these, with no one else to share the beauty, to verify its existence or ours within it, I need to pinch myself.
Yes, our boat is still crippled after the lightning strike of lottery winning odds. We are well on our way back to fix it all up. The journey toward Nassau first to hopefully replace the main electronics, and then either straight back to the US or slowly, to replace the rest.
But thoughts like this have no place here. Insurance coverage? Groceries? Document printing, scanning and e-mailing? What? Does not compute.
Paddle boarding along with an outgoing tide, through the glorious silence of the mangroves – yes! Swimming through the mouth of the river with the rushing tide out into the ocean – yes again. Baby lemon sharks come to see us as well, no problem. 

This is Shroud Cay, northern Exumas. We’ve been here before. So has every expat from Nassau on a Saturday afternoon, appearing in droves as they do, in a whir of manmade noise and engine power. Beers at the ready, picnic baskets, children shrieking. But never mind. We need someone to pinch us. This place really is. We can sneak away to random secret beaches by dinghy, our footsteps breaking the crust on pristine white sand. 

And at night when the sun has burned out, a fiery orange at the horizon, and completed it’s nightly performance of pinks and purples, we can see the haze of light from Nassau. 30 miles away, 30 million lifetimes away. And gone are the power boats, back to the dirty streets and air conditioned houses, and we are here alone.

The season is winding down. The cruisers are heading north, back to Florida, to the Carolinas, some all the way to Canada for the summer. Leaving a paradise that we cling to for a few last days. Responsibilities, practicalities loom over there where the haze of light beckons. Here only heat, and colour, and showering with sharks.
A few weeks ago, in the aftermath of our strike I was talking to a fellow cruiser in George Town about it – he raised his eyebrows at our luck and asked me “Have you ever thought of buying an RV?” with a smirk. Got to admit, people might think we’d be safer.
But safety doesn’t get you here. It doesn’t take you to places like these:
View from one of our hikes

The bubbly pool - north end of Compass Cay

Exploring with the dinghy around the south of Warderick Wells

View of our boats from Hog Island

An impending storm

The ocean mouth from north end of Hawksbill Cay

Hello from Hawksbill!
 And so it's all got me thinking. Pondering. Appreciating the choices, all the choices, that have brought us to where we are today. Lightning strikes and all. Though this is a corny, common cliche saying, it just fits so well:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

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