Speed Up but Stand Still

photo 5-11 photo 4-10 And of course, always, play scrabble!photo 5-2

 

It’s getting to be winter in this part of the world. The tourists are flying out, cruising off, and business hours are diminishing. The mornings wake you with a crispness that brings out the green in the grass and fogs your tea glass when you take a sip. We sleep with the duvet all night, and shut the hatches to stem the breeze.

Then again, it is still Cyprus, and anyway it’s only October. Most days I can still draw a sweat if I work at it, and I’m still relishing the afternoon ocean-swim recharges. They say it’s a great island to be on year-round.So maybe the energy shift I’m feeling is all me – maybe it’s just my heart rate calming down, my body wondering: “so, what’s next? Why are we stopping here?”

A hectic 3 months of work, involving a major boat re-fit just before an intense owner-holiday, immediately followed by a quick 2 week spin to Quebec and back… I guess i should be grateful for this new ‘downtime’. But somehow, I keep getting this sneaking suspicion, that I might be… bored.

Absurd! What a self-indulgent, first-world, state of mind! You can’t be bored! Being bored is for unimaginative, rich, lonely people! Think!: What feels creative? So I use the weekend to play Scrabble with Marc, and read books, and write letters, and finally get around to updating my blog. And during the week, there is still a sizeably long list of jobs to be done. We may have all winter to do them, but boat-projects have an uncanny way of swallowing several weeks in one quick gulp. The un-boring truth is, there’s always something to do. Something that feels good, challenging, productive. I guess it just seems like, to figure out what that is, I’m spending more energy that usual.

It’s no secret to me that I’m addicted to “new-ness” – to growing and learning and changing. If life isn’t speeding me into another dimension, it’s too slow. If i’m not learning in a year what some learn in 10, I’ll press fast-forward. Is that called ambition? Whatever it is, I’ll admit it can have it’s pitfalls, and sometimes ‘fast’ can turn into ‘rushed’. But for the most part – Life’s Too Short, dammit! There’s a lot to be done, to be seen, to be felt; thinking on the run is a good way to fit more in.

Maybe the secret to success (not the BA type, the other “fulfilled” kind) is to generate that level of growth, no matter what your external surroundings are. Just because winter’s setting in, just because you’re on an island that’s winding down, doesn’t mean you can’t sprint like hell towards personal accomplishment. So, that’s my weeks resolution: wake up, dive in, and keep on moving, even while standing still.

 

 

Photo’s from life on the move the last month:

Visit new places!

Feel good!

Learn new skills!

Play with kids!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cook!

Sail in strange rivers!

Visit familiar places!

Visit old friends!

Try new amazing food!

See your boyfriend’s city!

Play on the beach!

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Back to Breathing

Six weeks. It doesn’t even sound like much, does it? It’s long enough though. Long enough to change habits, long enough to weaken, long enough to grow tired. The family left a few days ago, after 6 weeks of their summer sailing holiday. We are exhausted.

From what though? Sure, the sail-wash-polish-repeat pattern can wear on you, but we love sailing and I even love polishing, so it’s not the hard work and harsh sun that tires me. It’s simpler than that. It’s the humanness. It’s letting aside your hunger for theirs, your sleep for their rest, your sweat for their air-conditioning. Their comfort and well being comes above all else. It’s our job. So they eat first, shower first, sleep first. We are there when they wake up and we are there when they retire. If something breaks, you quietly fix it. And if they don’t even notice? All the better.

So it’s worn us down a little. Even the recharge from our mid-way stop over in Gocek (to repair the goose-neck/boom fitting) feels long gone, and the last three days we’ve taken off here in Israel feel well overdue. It’s hit me in ways I didn’t notice at first – more stress, less positive thoughts, mood swings – all symptoms of no time for myself. I’m slowly re-balancing habits: stretching and meditating in the mornings, going for runs, eating regularly and re-hydrating. It takes time for that to take affect though, and I still have a frustratingly short fuse sometimes. There are moments when I feel I’ve learnt the lesson before, and can’t understand why I’m going in circles. To quote a wise friend though: “Our life cycles are more like spirals. Always spiraling outwards, never quite covering the same ground twice.” Maybe they are even moving inward, towards our truth. I am growing, and I am learning, and each new cycle brings me closer to where I want to be.

Right now my spirals are in Israel. Monday, we sail back to Cyprus, where we plan on being based a little while. Our time in this small but powerful country have been rich. It’s a new experience for me to run to a bomb shelter at 6 in the morning when a siren goes off, and then to hear the missile explode in the sky as we’re half way there. It’s nothing new for Israeli’s though, and it’s with nonchalance that many people have told us “I don’t even go to the shelters anymore”. Nice to have so much faith in the Iron Dome, Israel’s missile fighting technology. A lot feel the same way we do though: that it’s not worth the risk. Besides, just 60kms away the bombs DO hit and people ARE dying. I need a way to respect that.

I’m very grateful for the current cease fire, which has made the last few days a little calmer. We rented a scooter and did a tour – to Jerusalem, The Dead Sea, Jericko, and parts of Palestine. People-powered two wheeled vehicles will always be the best form of travel, but when you’re short on time, the petrol-powered variety substitutes pretty well. At least you’re still open to the world and not stuck in a box. There is so much to learn from this area, and I cannot begin to understand the solutions or even the problems – but meeting the people and hearing their perspective, brings me ever-closer to the humanness, and that’s what I need right now.

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Looking out at Jerico

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For the rastafari – we had to go to Zion!

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A warning to be heeded, or propaganda?

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Traveling by scooter is FUN!

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“She told me I was like the Dead Sea”

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Who, it’s hot down here!

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The road to Jerusalem

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Jerico, Palestine

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Sailing back to Cyprus

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Up a dusty road

Overdue and Overworked

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Once a month, that’s my usual blog posting target. I’m quite off track! So that you can forgive me, here are some good excuses:

– Working in the yachting industry means little sleep and massive hours, especially when the owners are onboard.

– Working on a wooden boat that needs some serious TLC, means little sleep and massive hours, even when the owners aren’t onboard.

– When it’s been 5 days since the owners arrived, and already the auto-pilot, water-maker, bow-thruster, outboard, air-con, and ENTIRE BOOM FITTING have broken, you know there’s not going to be much sleep and definitely some massive hours. All but the boom are now fixed, 6 days in, mostly thanks to little sleep and massive hours.

– The yachting industry expects 5 star service. Being a cook for a family of 5 is exhausting.

– The yachting industry expects 5 star service and a well polished, well running vessel, on demand, at all times. Being a first-mate is exhausting.

–  Being both a cook and a first-mate means little sleep and massive hours.

 

I think you get the point. My body hasn’t seen much on the horizontal side of things, unless you count being upside down in the aft locker, blood rushing to your head and torch in your mouth. The upside is that I’ve had a very loving captain and partner to do it with, who, despite also being overworked and under-slept, finds smart solutions and a fun attitude. We work together so well, and every day re-enforces our dream-project of our own boat-business.

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Hauled out a week before the owner’s arrival. Do we looked as overworked and under-slept as we are?

We are also both really learning a lot, and getting some great experience. I’m rising to the task of ‘cook’ and trying to serve up fresh, nutritious and delicious meals, that look as good as they taste. So far so good and the family seem impressed.

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Smoked salmon and quail eggs on a pea pancake.

On the first-mate side of things, I’m always building on my electrical/plumbing/mechanical knowledge and actually quite enjoying fixing the endless breakages… though a break in those would be nice too. Marc is handling all captain’s duties with organisation and skill, from constant emailing and paperwork to on-the-spot repairs and our less-than-calm employer.

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On a Turkish taxi boat, off to rescue our boss who is miles away with a tender that won’t start.

After 6 weeks in Bodrum, we have left that part of Turkey and are heading East towards Cyprus. The current plan is still to continue on to Israel, though neither Marc nor I would be disappointed if that changes, given the on-going war zone there. We’ll be at least a week in Cyprus, so hopefully I can update again from there. Unless I’m sleeping.

 

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Waiting for the Weather

After our spot in Tanna’s town of Lenakel turned nasty, we decided it was time to leave. Despite getting a migraine, not having an autopilot and it being dusk, the building swell and increasingly uncomfortable anchorage meant we had to go.

And a good thing we did! In complete contrast to our previous sail, this one was the best of the trip yet! It would have been perfect if not for the hand-stearing, but with a light breeze beam on and flat seas, it came close anyway. Our two day trip to New Caledonia passed quickly, but we were quite exhausted once inside the protecting reef. We found a small bay close to the pass, and anchored for the night, again with our friends on Alliance.

The next day we picked up the hook and continued on to Noumea, city of lights. Some hiccups with Pixel meant she had to be quarantined while we waited for our newly ordered auto-pilot, but soon both were back on the boat and Portal cleaned and ready for Australia’s harsh regulations. We were ready to go.

Neptune however, has had other plans. We are still here, still waiting. The weather for the last 2 weeks has been less that savory for a passage to Australia. We rest in wait for it to change, along with a dozen other sailboats all chafing to get to their final destinations.

We have made the most of it though; Jess, Duncan and I rented a little red car, ‘cherry’, and visited a national park near by. I loved it so much that I returned the follow day by bike, and explored it on two wheels. I was brought almost to tears by the largest living Kauri tree, and the cute Cagous, a native and endangered bird that is close to my heart. Boat projects have also been getting done, and Luckey’s sailing rig officially complete – more details on that to follow!

May there be fair winds and following seas soon!

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The Ballad of Portal and The Alliance

On our way to the Tuamotus,
There was nothing to be left out
We had some good breeze, and some big ass fish
And we're happy all about

We got some coconuts and pawpaws, 
And bananas in green peel
From our friend Alexandro, 
By trading - what a good deal. 

Island life is easy, 
It almost made us lazy. 

But a new land is gonna come, 
And a new adventure for sure
So we set of in the morning sun, 
And put out our fishing lure. 

This time we were not affraid, 
Cos we had our friends aside
We could call them on the radio, 
And see their light at night. 

And we would say:
ALLIANCE, ALLIANCE, ALLIANCE
PORTAL, PORTAL, PORTAL, PORTAL 
(do you copy?)

And Jess would say:
Copy you loud and clear. Hey guys, let's switch to 69.
We're just wondering what you're having for dinner tonight? 
Duncan just caught a giant Mahi Mahi, that gave him quite a fight.  
He's cooking it right now with lime and chilly -
Fuck, Shit, he just burnt himself and he's swearing in the galley!

We just made it through the pass, 
On the outgoing tide
With our waves kicking our ass
When suddenly the engine died. 

Charlie tried to bring it back, 
But was at a total loss
As our outlook turned to dismal black
Our heroes voices came across. 

And guess who it was?
ALLIANCE, ALLIANCE, ALLIANCE
PORTAL, PORTAL, PORTAL, PORTAL 
(can you help us?) 

Despite the risks and reefs, 
They turned to give us a tow
We dropped the hook with sweet relief, 
And the friendship began to grow. 

Next morning we were hard at work, 
With Duncan in boat jail
And now we thank Alliance 
With bread whenever they hail. 

And we'll call them:
ALLIANCE, ALLIANCE, ALLIANCE
PORTAL, PORTAL, PORTAL, PORTAL 
(your bread is ready)

Now we all prefer an anchorage, 
But you have to move the boat
Through the squall of the century
It's amazing nothing broke...

- oh wait a minute... - 

Repairs became quite easy, 
With Alliance in Tahiti
At night we rest and play, 
Get projects done by day. 

But paradise did turn on us, 
Damn them, DAMN THEM, bicycle thieves
Our friends continued to give us hope
Of reclaiming our trusty steeds

It was hard to leave with broken hearts
But our time was running out
To our surprise! We found the bikes!
So with love for our friends we shout:

ALLIANCE, ALLIANCE, ALLIANCE
PORTAL, PORTAL, PORTAL, PORTAL 
(you're the greatest!)

Another tow and many a tea, 
Now they're more like family
When next we meet is a mystery, 
But these boats are bound in comraderie!

and they are:
ALLIANCE, ALLIANCE, ALLIANCE
PORTAL, PORTAL, PORTAL, PORTAL
(we're gonna miss you!)