In the sailing lifestyle we prefer, there are two main occupations. One is passage making which is usually an offshore occupation for us involving much preparation and planning for seasonal weather patterns, immediate weather patterns, tides, safety factors, crew strength, ship readiness, food, medical kit, hours of daylight, alternate plans in case of difficulties, etc. We do this twice a year heading north and south with the seasons. The other occupation is just cruisin'. For this there is almost no planning. We consider the weather forecast and just go.
When we are just cruisin' we like to share it with old friends and folks interested in the boat. So we got lucky this month and had a little of both.
First came Pat and Gordon who are good sailors and they came because they were interested in maybe building a boat like ours. So we enjoyed their company for a week of intense question and answer and detailed inspection of the boat, a couple of days sailing here and there to put Peace through her paces, and while we did that, they taught us a much better way to tack to insure success every time. We had lots of great non boat conversation too. Feels like we have always known them and we are glad to hear they will soon be building a Tiki 46. We hope to be involved in all that activity and share the excitement.
The other couple who joined us are Martha and Bob. They are non sailors and I have known Martha since we were very little girls and our parents were friends. We go back over half a century with gaps here and there but always keeping sort of in touch more or less. They had been to the Yoga Retreat in Nassau for three weeks so were already quite relaxed when they arrived. We had some nice sailing with only the jib up in about 15 knots of wind and were able to keep our boat speed well down around 5 and a half knots. We wanted to maximize the mellow mood. Some pretty clouds, lots of sunshine, a dolphin or two, and the colors of the water... it was good. Bob and Nev are both practical guys so they were sharing ideas and generally operating the boat though Martha and I mostly shared the steering and tweaked the sail some just for entertainment. She is good at the helm. Might leave her to it next time they come. Could maybe put up another sail if the mood is right. Just cruisin'.
I had no real plan for food when they came. Just lots of long life food in the lockers like tins, pasta, rice, beans, and then some onions, cabbage, and tomatoes plus a little frozen food well insulated in a picnic cool box - no ice. It all seemed to work with me suggesting meal ideas, them making helpful comments, and our appetites taking it from there. It was great until we got to that last meal... oh dear. I had nothing planned at all and no sensible ideas either. Nothing our mothers would have approved of, anyway. The meals we kids shared from our parents kitchens! Oh dear... what was I to do...?
Then I saw those two huge avacados Bob had brought from down in Nassau (finally ripe!) and there were ripe tomatoes. I got out a big dish and cut the avacado in pieces just piled in the dish and put slices of bright red tomato on top. Pretty. Then some fresh lime juice, olive oil, fresh garlic slices, and salt and pepper. Four forks were provided for a fondue style supper and I beat Martha to the last slice of avacado. She had hesitated, you see. We were quite full, and I had no other food ideas or suggestions for a long time, so we simply sat around and watched the sunset while remembering old folks long ago or appreciating simple living etc. Then we had rye bread toast later on with some peanut butter or some nice British jam and tea. Just cruisin' through mealtime. It was most satisfying and matched their arrival when we all agreed the mangos they brought would not survive the bruising they got on their journey. Those were also cut up and put on a platter and forks were issued. That was awesome! I got the platter slurpings when I was back in the galley. Cook's priviledge.
Today Nev is away with our friend Gary getting new drive belts for his boat and refilling our propane tanks. Gary is one of those guys who manage without much preparation at all. He is out here with us in a boat that is not even ready to go cruising. Gary himself is not ready either because he does not know a lot about sailing and cannot fix stuff either. There is so much broken on his boat, we do not know where to start! But nothing bad will ever happen to Gary because he is one of "those guys". You must have met a guy like him once. They always muddle through somehow and have lots of fun and the best friends too.
We both fell in love with Gary long before we knew of his several talents. He was coach of the Canadian National Hocky team and used to play professionally and he still calls his men friends "big guy" which sure sounds good coming from him. He is for SURE a big guy with a still powerful build even though he is our age. He was in medical research or something back when he was working. Plenty smart! But in recent years he took up sculpture for a hobby. Well, WELL!!! He is darn good, it turns out. There is now a bronze sculpture of us aboard which he made as a gift and it is quite a good one. He takes five photographs of you with your glasses off, then makes a wax sculpture, and then does a mold of latex and mixes bronze powder with epoxy and swishes it around inside the mold, and Hey, PRESTO! there you are. He does this aboard his boat using a tiny keorsene lantern heating the wax in a tin can suspended with string and swinging over the lantern from a grab handle above. Turn the knot on the string to lift or lower the tin can to correct for chop in the achorage or for warm or cold ambient temperature...and this heats or cools the wax inside. He put our sculpture in the local art show and got a lot of notice and some commissions. Folks recognize us right away when they pass by in their dinghys and we hear people saying to each other that we are the ones in the art show! I tell you, Gary is GOOD!
So Gary is totally in the cruisin' groove and it is working out ok for him. Nev is a good teacher and every time he goes over, he fixes one thing and shows Gary another thing to do better. Whenever he comes over to Peace IV, the conversation gets around to some topic that helps Gary see a safer or simpler way to handle his boat. It is all working out ok. Cruisin'.
Love, Ann and Nev
© Anne and Neville Clement, 2005