I am sitting here on one of our saloon cushions at 1:15am. At this point, I have already slept for five hours and will go back to sleep after I get out a bit of restless energy. This kind of midnight sleeplessness happens often now that we are on a boat, without jobs and without a grueling social schedule. After routinely getting plenty of sleep night after night, the body readjusts to it’s new rhythm. A more natural rhythm that doesn’t leave the body starved for sleep. Down in the early evening, up in the morning with a midnight interlude to the sleep. During the usually quiet, middle of the night, sleep respite is the perfect time to surf the internet if any is available, read a book, or write if the mood strikes. Sometimes it is Ren awake, sometimes me, but rarely both because as soon as one of us wakes up, the other one instinctively stretches their cramped limbs and discovers they have the entire bed to themselves. Whoever is not awake slips into an even deeper sleep as they stretch horizontally across the bed. The v-berth, when occupied by only one person, is the roomiest spot on Nila Girl. Tomorrow, Ren will be well rested, bright eyed and bushy tailed after ten or eleven hours of uninterrupted sleep.
At this moment, the wind has been howling for twenty-four hours straight. A cold front has moved through and Nila Girl is confined to a narrow strip of water called Joe’s Cut located on the northwest side of Long Island. We made it here two days ago from the balmy and bustling, Georgetown, Exuma and the Captain deemed this place adequate protection during the strong bluster, scheduled to keep our hair tangled for four days. The blowing wind has offered a unique chance for us to catch up on boat chores. Today I scrapped glue off the cabin floor while Ren wired an outlet to the v-berth. I placed random artwork and pictures in attractive places around the boat while Ren replaced the hinge on one of the lockers. The blowing wind allowed me to finish reading Kate Chopin’s, The Awakening, without guilt.
When the wind is too strong to sail with, you can use it to rest instead but only after you have adjusted to the sounds of a boat trapped in an intense weather pattern. The howling is exacerbated against the hull of the boat with small waves splashing against Nila Girl. Every ill-adjusted halyard running up the mast is audible as it smacks up against the metal. Ting, ting, ting, ting….arrrgh! The wind is restful after the first 12 hour period of the storm. The 12 hours you spend adjusting every ineffectual piece of line and chain to keep it’s clamoring from climbing up your spine while you try to sleep. Ah, to be blessed with one deaf ear, as I was. I never really thought I would find a practical purpose for my disability but then again, I never knew I would be living on a boat either. My stormy nights are simplified by turning over on my left side, exposing my useless right ear to Nila Girl’s commotion. The Captain resents my potential as he gets up for the tenth time of the night to adjust this or that, because I cannot hear the ruckus outside, but he has his own useful gifts including near x-ray vision, which is annoying to me since I have undergone surgery to improve my eyesight and I still find my capacity for long distance vision inferior to his natural talent. Oh well, I get over it quick as I turn on my left side and fall fast asleep during the weather fronts.
My brother, Corey is scheduled to fly in the day after tomorrow. I will spend another windy day tomorrow making two batches of hummus so we have plenty to snack on while he is here. I worry a bit about the duration of this wind storm since it is Corey’s first vacation in a long time, his first trip overseas, and his first time visiting calm, clear, beautiful waters such as those Ren and I enjoy every day here in the Bahamas. I hate that instead of leaning his head against the window pain of the small engine plane he is taking from Nassau to Long Island, mouth agape, as he flies over miles of blue, turquoise, and even bluer waters, spotting sharks, fish and sailboats along the way, he will instead be seated upright, white knuckled, gripping the armrests on either side of him, visualizing the small plane catching a gust of the stiff wind, throwing it off course, careening in a death spiral out of the grey sky down to the white capping seas below. The waves swallowing the plane, burping in contentment with it’s latest meal. Maybe my imagination has run away with me from slack of ten hour straight sleep, or better yet, maybe my brain is turning to mush from all of the sleep. Either way, this is what I worry about as I wait for my brother to arrive. I will pass the time tomorrow preparing for his arrival by making the hummus and finishing up my weekly meal plan.
Corey will spend his first day here, a windy day, with us on the boat instead of jumping directly into the water to harvest supper as we had hoped. But the weather will clear by the next day and we will enjoy a half-day family sail south down the coast of Long Island, finishing up the day with the long awaited dive session. Making sure to harvest Corey’s first lobster supper of his trip. It’s not just the diving I’m excited to share with my brother. It’s everything he hasn’t seen yet. Buying warm coconut bread from one of the local bakeries, shopping in an ill stocked “grocery store” but still finding yourself eating better than you ever could at home, ordering a sweaty Kalik from the only restaurant in town, tasting the Kalik and realizing it is actually terrible beer but nothing short of a cold, canned Budweiser after mowing grass in 90 degree weather could taste better at that moment, toting the laundry to a laundromat on the dinghy while the waves come over the bow and soak you in saltwater, taking pictures of the “end of the road” whatever that may be, walking half way through the island to the top of a hill where you can see both the mighty Atlantic Ocean and the calm Exuma Sound at the same time, passage making on Nila Girl, trying to get a glimpse of the flamingo flocks in the Acklin Islands, not to mention, just chilling in the cockpit with the full moon overhead and a candle flickering on our cockpit table sharing wine and a lobster supper catching up after the longest period we have ever spent apart…ever. It is going to be great to have our little brother on board.