“Behind every man’s busy-ness there should be a level of undisturbed serenity and industry, as within the reef encircling a coral isle there is always an expanse of still water…”
Beyond all the incredible experiences, adventures of a lifetime, new friends etc. you may be able to imagine that there is a healthy chunk of down time on a sailboat when en route to the next destination. In fact, our adventures are punctuated with long, extensive periods of nothing but staring deeply into each other’s eyes. Loving eyes wandering to all the imperfections of the face and body exacerbated by time in the sun, on a boat, in the salt air. Eyes averting, not so loving after seeing crud from breakfast lodged in Ren’s beard. The beard which our friend Ryan said, “…looks like something growing on the jetty rocks.” But Ren is a pirate now so he MUST have a beard.
Other than exhausting already exhausted conversation, Ren, Oreo and I engage in other various activities to keep sane and actually improve our mental status. Nila Girl offers us a unique opportunity to engage in activities and other devices of mental improvement not available on land working 9-5. Things like learning to speak Spanish, playing guitar, writing, etc. Below is a top 10 list of some of the things we do when there’s nothing to do (without the top because they are listed in no particular order).
1.Spanish. Sometimes we play the “Learn to Speak Spanish” CDs my father in law gave to us. They’re great for the first 15 minutes then the sounds of Spanish vocabulary begins to lull us asleep. However, Entiendo Espanol!
2.Guitar. Ren is learning to play “Blackbird” and has been for several weeks now…
3.Read. I have inhaled several books on this trip including (in no particular order), Wuthering Heights (again), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (very gripping. not a literary work of art but super entertaining), The Jungle Books (Rudyard Kipling is the man), Love’s Executioner (from my psychologist friend, stories of psychotherapy…yeah), The Help (need I say more?), Lies Your Teacher Told You (I highly recommend this non-fiction), and of course, The Manual of Freediving (reference only). Ren is a little bookworm on Nila Girl too. Not sure about his list though.
4.Write. I blog about our trip, not enough though, and have tossed around some ideas about an Oreo story. This trip is about the dog, you know that by now right?
5.Sleep. When you’re not on watch, it’s a great time to take a little nap right there in the cockpit with Oreo. Snuggle up to the little guy and let the sounds of the waves slapping the boat and Ren cussing at the imperfect sail configuration drift you off to sleep.
6.Clean. Wipe the floors down in the cabin. Keep the cockpit clean. Yawn.
7.Repair. Despite popular opinion (tongue in cheek), boats are an endless supply of repair projects. They are a hole you throw money into. If You have a bunch of $100 bills you can do one of two things with them, wipe your butt or spend them on your boat. Nila Girl is always moving towards a state of chaos. We use $$ and lots of Ren’s time to bring her back to a state of stasis.
8.Jump! If the wind is down and the boat is moving slowly, we take turns getting buck naked and jumping off the bow of the boat, drifting to the stern and catching the ladder for another climb and jump. We have pictures of this but….our families might be reading 🙂
9.Eat. I cook a lot on the boat. There is nothing but time for preparation, cooking to perfection and cleaning up. The only time we do not eat like kings is when the weather is rough and we’re underway. The hardest place on the boat to fight that, punch-in-the-gut-swallowing-bits-of-vomit-all-day feeling is the cabin. As soon as you go below in snotty weather, your ears tell your body you’re moving but everything looks like it’s sitting still. Add on top of this the odor of cooking food and you’ve got yourself a recipe for green bile overboard. On these days, trips downstairs are limited to fetching small items needed for sailing or general comfort and working up snacks. Snack preparation is not to exceed 5 minutes in these conditions.
10.Oreo. When we are bored of everything else, we simply pet Oreo. He makes out like a bandit on NIla Girl. The hair on his head is oily with pets. Oh yeah, kisses too.