Monday, 7 July 2014

Fourth of July at Anchor

Greetings!

Happy 4th of July to our American friends, and a belated Happy Canada Day at home:)

My Aunt Margaret asked me today in an email if we ever had time when we didn't have to DO something ... I am not sure if it is our temperaments (type A through and through), our (my) Scotch Presbyterian consciences, or the fact that we live on a boat with two kids and a baby, but it really seems like the answer is a resounding "No!". Even in this beautiful paradise, there is always a job half done or pricking at my conscience.

I thought (assumed) when we packed in our careers and headed off into the sunset that we would find peace and calm in every anchorage, but it is fair to say that I didn't really understand what we were getting into (and who is to say if we had understood we would have come - sometimes ignorance really is bliss!). On the other hand, I have a general sense that if someone were more organized, more tidy, more proactive, more something else that I am not, perhaps they would have more "leisure" time (or perhaps they would not - who knows).

We certainly do see other folks out here cruising who *seem* to have more discretionary time (and space) than we do (the grass being greener on the other side of the fence and all), but when we get chatting with them, it turns out that their kids are grown, or they spent eight years (every weekend if not full time while between jobs) preparing their boat, or they have a nanny/crew with them, or there is some other reason that they have more downtime - in other words, they have paid their dues already.

It regularly astounds me just how much time our basic daily activities take, whether they be my "usual three" (dinner, dishes, diapers) or Max's scheduled maintenance (engine stuff, battery stuff, etc - we have a spreadsheet to keep track of it all). Then there are the "arisings" that come up no matter where you are. At home they were things like sudden car repairs, sick days, etc; out here they are half a canister of sugar spilt in a cupboard that has to be vacuumed *immediately* so that it doesn't attract *more* bugs (which actually means that you have to set up your generator because you are not sure your inverter will support the electrical draw), leaks in the engine compartment that show up just when you thought you were leaving an anchorage, chain wrapped around a coral head that means changing into swim gear and jumping in "right now", etc, etc. Typically an arising has also meant learning a new skill or using new tools. This week, a photo of Max would have shown him sitting in our cockpit, South Pacific anchorage as a backdrop, book in hand: leisure time .. until you look more closely. He has been reading a 2" thick book on weather, getting a handle on the systems we will face as we head for NZ [Dashew's "Mariner's Weather. A good read to go through again. My understanding of mid-latitude weather systems is satisfactory from experience and RYA and CYA training plus time as a private and glider pilot however lots to learn about tropical systems and convergence zones. As well, I would like to get a better grip on using 500mb charts as an additional tool in looking at the weather. The passage from Tonga to NZ has a considerable number of variables and lots has been written on it so much studying to do]. There are such a lot of systems where the same is true: one week it is weather, the next it is plumbing, or diesel engines, or rigging, or the arising of the day. As my dad says, "there is no rest for the wicked"!

Today's arising was the escalation of our war with the bugs that moved aboard in January: Max took down all of our ceiling panels so he could spread insecticide powder, and then fitted the jigsaw puzzle of trim back together again [Considering the ago of the deckhead panels this is a bit of challenge. Replacing the panels is on my "to do" list but no time soon]. In the evening, he found more of them hiding in plain view in the galley, so now the cupboards have coughed out their contents on the counter, and we have sprayed the spaces. Tomorrow's job will be to put it all back again.

It would be easy for the foregoing to sound like a litany of complaint, but it is not. I see this busy time as the season we are in for now. I am also looking for that elusive sense of contentment with things as they are in any given moment - seeing these arisings as tests of that spirit. Wherever we are, it is so easy to rail against reality, but we all have our challenges and we all have our joys. This week, dipping into Byron Katie's writing (book on CD while washing dishes in an empty boat) or Reflections on A Course in Miracles (Kindle book while nursing Benjamin) helped me keep my perspective.

Anyway - that was a longwinded answer to a simple question (would you expect anything less?!) Thanks for bearing with me :) Here is a bit about the rest of our day.

Victoria and I started our day in true "Grampy style": on her initiative, we made biscuits using Dad's recipe and opened a jar of Oct 2012 Grape Jam for breakfast "just because". Rather than overheating my pressure cooker and burning lots of oats, we just cooked them in a greased, covered frying pan on medium/low for about 5-7 min per side. They turned out quite well, especially the jam bundles and cinnamon rolls that she made at the end! We have decided that we will need to do a double recipe the next time (starting with 8 cups of flour!) because the single batch still left us rationing biscuits before everyone was full. I think we will need to experiment with corn flour, as we are getting low on wheat. Thankfully, we can restock at Papeete, if not before.

After a morning of "helping" Max with the roof (by gasping when things fell down, volunteering Johnathan to hold things for him, suggesting he do the thing he was about to do, and finally moving out of the area completely with Benjamin...), I helped Victoria set up our baby hammock (5 ft; made for us at the La Cruz market) on the foredeck so she could try it (an interesting exercise in tying knots and letting her take the lead) and helped Johnathan with a story he was writing, then the kids and I headed with the other families to the beach.

Benjamin went for a bit of a swim today: I got brave and dunked him under water:) Water and air are about 27 deg, but the wind was chilly for him, so I wrapped him in my sling (to the chagrin of the little girls who wanted to hold him) afterwards. We have decided to cook the goat that we were given in Nuku Hiva on the beach tomorrow...

It will be windy for the next day or so (15-20 kts), but nothing like NS is going to see with the arrival of TS "Arthur"... on that note, my thoughts are with you all...

Love to everyone,
Elizabeth
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At 7/4/2014 8:49 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 16°58.00'S 144°35.00'W
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At 7/4/2014 8:49 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 16°58.00'S 144°35.00'W

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