Saturday, July 30, 2016

Stillness, sting rays and canned peas

I could count the hours until this is over. In fact that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for days. Within 24 hours we will be in international waters, leaving the Bahamas behind for the hurricane season, heading for Ft Pierce and destinations further north.
It could be said we’ve taken 6 months of Bahamian island hopping bliss for granted and now it’s all about to disappear behind us in a blue haze…
But that’s not true. The truth is that I pinch myself (well not literally) all the time. The things we see, feel, and are surrounded by are simply amazing. It does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Yesterday the sky and the sea merged. They came together, enveloping us in an endless loop of blue. And I had to catch my breath. No buildings, no boats, no ripple on the water. Just us and blue heaven. Even the air was sucked away.

It was an eery calm that inspired deep thought. Thoughts about what we do with all the moments of our lives. Existential thoughts. And then peace. Hot, sweaty peace. Didn’t even crave a rum cocktail ;)
It was 36C in our saloon and our tiny cabin fans spewed out hot still air that landed on us and blanketed us with sweat.
We had just circled Sandy Cay in the dinghy – our home island for the last few days. 

We hopped in the 35C water to cool off. LOL. And then we had visitors. Wild sting rays who swoop gracefully between our slippery bodies, hoping for an offering. 

It’s been 6 months – this year alone – in the Bahamas, and I still cannot be calm when they come around. By now I should be petting them or at least taking them for granted. But no – if you want to see fast movement, watch me as two 6 foot wide stingrays make a beeline through the still water at me. Holli lounging in the deep water becomes giant splash-kick-splash and voila! Holli safely up in the dinghy.
These are the challenges I face. For now.
Hard to fathom that in 2 days my challenges will include traffic and homeland security bureaucracy and too many food choices!
Right now we are on an ‘inventory reduction diet’. The freezer is empty and there hasn’t been a vegetable onboard for 2 weeks. We had stopped in the island/town of Grand Cay (population somewhere between 200 and 300), in hopes of finding a cabbage or a tomato to sustain us through our last week. But no. It was a couple cans of soggy-sodium laden pseudo-veggies. The trade offs of life in paradise. Scurvy. Call us pirates.
So after a supper of ramen and canned mush we looked out at the utter stillness. And as the sun set, somewhere beyond all the calm, a pink sky developed. Took the place of the blue, and it reflected on the water and once again we were enveloped in something so natural yet so ‘otherworldly’. 

How can we leave this all behind and surround ourselves with honking car horns and pollution and shopping malls and fast food joints with their garish coloured road signs, screaming adverts at us constantly?
It’s a sailor’s dilemma. We need the things from shore. We need towns and stores. But out here, there is another world all together. A world everyone should experience.
Forget the mosquitos, no-see-ums, rolling anchorages, lightning squalls, dumb founding heat, cramped quarters, moldy cabins, culinary sparseness… forget all that because tonight, our little mattresses and pillows dragged up front, as we lie out under the stars and slowly drift off to sleep with meteor showers above us, nothing else exists.