Damn, I feel a need to get going. This has been a huge job and I’m grateful for it, by it’s starting to drag and there’s a whole wold out there to explore. It’s almost May now and I have to make a decision soon about sailing around the Island in June. The Boat for Hope is the first week in June and they’ve already contacted me to see if I would participate because our pirate shtick last year was a real hit. We had a lot of fun and I would hate to miss it but I’ve been hanging around Vic for months and need to move further afield.
Tracy’s house sitting fell thorough because the owner has a “traumatised” cat who would not deal with our litlle dog very well. I hope something comes up soon as Tracy is getting fed up with the noise and motion aboard. I don’t blame her as it’s been windy as hell and from the west instead of the usual southwest, causing us to bounce around like it was a bad November or December. It’s been pleasant enough ashore but day after day of creaking fenders and bouncing home gets tiresome. By far the most stormy spring we’ve had living afloat.
My buddy has moved on from the job as well so there’s a lot to finish up next week. I felt a great deal of empathy for him; he tried and tried, but could not stop messing up. He is a smart man and knows how to do this stuff, but deep down he had had enough, didn’t want to do it, and was only doing it because he “should”, for the money.
I’ve been there and it’s awful. Your ego says go this way, but your spirit says go another, and no matter how hard you try, your spirit makes sure you screw it up. I’ve sabotaged myself many times in my earlier days when I forced myself to do things that a deeper part of myself knew was not right for me. Without even being aware of it I would lay traps for myself and others that would blow up in my face.
Some people in some situations can force themselves to live inauthentically. I suspect for those people they believe (and desire) to live false lives as they have internalised a victim role. They can be quite successful being miserable.
But for most of us, when we aren’t following an authentic course in life we fail over and again, thinking that the failure is about us instead of about what we have been taught, and the false road we have been place upon.
A person living an authentic life cannot help but be happy, regardless of their external situation, while there can never be enough rewards for those living a lie. So this friend was doing work he didn’t like, for the money, and a larger part of him said no way. I find it amazing and awe-inspiring to see the power of the human spirit to assert itself, regardless of everything we throw in it’s way.
One thing that’s cool about the stock radio in my car (and why I’m reluctant to replace it) is that it has the marine weather band. Listening to the forecast on the way home I heard that Trial Island lighthouse is reporting gusts of 57 knots!! That’s force 11 and only 7 knots shy of hurricane force. The waves out at Clover Point are enormous and the clouds are very dark and ominous.
I had a call from Tracy a few hours ago when I was still at work and she was worried about the boat, that maybe one of the mooring lines might break or something. She was thinking of abandoning ship for the coffee shop. When I arrived I was pleased to see that she took the initiative and had doubled up the lines.
Still, I get the feeling that this liveaboard thing is winding down. She used to be afraid when we were out in a blow and now she is getting afraid when tied to a dock. I don’t at all blame her as we have no control over our fears, but I’ve noticed it getting worse. I wonder if it is a function of aging or menopause. For me I love the storm and the howling winds, but for her it signifies danger.
It wasn’t always like this. I know most of us get more cautious as we age. Wisdom and scars will do that to you. But what about irrational fear? Ten years ago Tracy would crawl up on the deck of our 26′ Thunderbird, with no lifelines, and handily pull down and reef our jib. I doubt now she would even go out in such a small boat, and certainly not when there was any kind of real wind.
I’ve heard it said that if you scare your crew too many times they start refusing to go out with you, but there have been very, very few times when we have found ourselves in a situation that was frightening, and hundreds of times that were gorgeous. And we’ve never been actually at risk.
Most liveaboards are men, and maybe this is why. I know I will not liveaboard without my sweetheart, although the idea of living on land again is something truly disappointing. It’s one of those conflicts that has no easy resolution. The only reason I don’t pull my hair out is the knowledge that none of this – the lifestyle, where I live, Tracy, myself, matters at all. The real wellspring of happiness is inside me and how I approach things ultimately determines how contented I feel.
While it is wonderful lying here writing this while listening to the moan of wind and slap of water against the hull, it is the result of being fully present that makes it so wonderful. And that I can do anywhere.
On another note, this is one good reason why I don’t think very much about our local newspaper the Times Colonist. Reading this article , one get the impression that it was written by the Chamber of Commerce rather than a journalist. What it fails to mention is that James Bay residents loathe the traffic chaos created by these ships, as well as the significant air pollution that they spread throughout Victoria by running their generators when docked. Cruise ships burn the dirtiest fuel available – bunker fuel – and are notorious polluters. The US EPA has determined that they are responsible for the deaths of 8300 people a year in North America
Another day on the water. It was so beautiful out there today with a hazy sun and light, easy sailing winds. Breathtaking really.
And as wonderful as the sailing was, it’s very rewarding to see a young fellow get the basic skills needed to begin a lifelong adventure in sailing. Today was man overboard procedures and we went through 4 types, which includes under power. It took him quite a few attempts, but Fainleog isn’t the most nimble of craft and there’s so much to remember about points of sail, wind direction, and the buoy in the water. We even had a brief adventure when the heaving line became fouled with our rudder and I had to hang off the stern ladder to clear it. I really didn’t mind it though as it gave him a chance to see the kinds of things that can go wrong and the safe way to deal with them (I had my tether on the whole time).
Docking practice was a bit stressful as you never know if someone is going to make the absolute wrong decision at the wrong time and run her right into the dock or something. Of course he performed both port and starboard docking just fine, even with a fairly strong breeze in he harbour. The only “oh, crap” moment was when I realised he hadn’t hung the fender in the right place and so there was too much space between them and the side of the boat actually whumped the dock a bit. The dock was wood though and I didn’t see any damage.
She’s a CS 36 “Traditional” and while I appreciate her qualities, I really do wish she was more modern, at least in her underbelly. Modern fin keeled boats can run circles around her in terms of maneuverability, and in today’s crowded marinas that’s a real plus. I love that Fainleog is so strong and seaworthy and yet the fact that she’s somewhat a slug in harbour causes white knuckles on my part and I’m too old for that.
Boat’s are always a tradeoff. Our first keel boat was a nightmare in port because her outboard was in a locker (and so could not be steered), and offset from the prop. what this meant was that she had no helm until she reached a certain speed which usually took about 1.5 boat lengths. Can you imagine the stress in trying to take out a boat that had no steering for the first 40 feet of travel? Any kind of wind in the harbour was a nightmare.
Compared to that Fainleog is a maritime porsche.
Tracy had a housesitting gig set up for us but it fell through at the last moment. Oh, well. something else will come along. It better or my dream of circumnavigating Vancouver Island this June is a bust.
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