Table For One…

LA Main A La Pate

A boat is never finished. As you complete one item a another one or two crop up while you’ve been busy. It’s a way of life that you have to come to terms with; deal with the priorities.

The head (toilet) didn’t flush water through so I dismantle the pump and removed the pipes, Finally, expecting a surge of water, I opened the sea cock: nothing. I should have got a miniature fountain as the sea tries to reclaim its space invaded by Glee’s hull.

Into the water and under the hull I go. It’s like a lawn under there; sea life colonising Glee’s underside. I can’t see anything clearly without goggles but if I stretch my arm under and feel for the inlet then my face remains above water. After finding the sewage outlet, I can locate the water inlet as a faint depression. Poking at it with a screwdriver clears it. I now have a flushing head. My body starts to itch on the side that made contact with the hull and a red rash appears. Whatever microscopic sea-creatures live down there, they are not friendly. Bicarbonate of soda relieved the itching and I was pleased that one task was done.

Next was the throttle lever, which refused to move. A blast of WD40 and a wiggle not only cured the seizure but also evicted a family of cockroaches from the housing. Cockroaches keep making surprise appearances and their ‘re-housing’ has made the task list. If there was a recipe for them, they could probably sustain me on an ocean crossing. but no, they have to go.

I awake before the sun clears the eastern hills, my face is stiff and I can see my own cheeks in my itchy peripheral vision. My whole body looks like it has sunburn, only more as red specks on white background like an Andy Warhol impression than the usual uniform lobster pink. It could be one of two things: the chemical weapons of RAID and POB used in my war on cockroaches last night, or a reaction to contact with Glee’s undersea colony. I decide the latter and then got dressed. Pretty soon gravity helps me out and drains the swelling of my face and I actually looked 5 years younger; who needs botox and a sunbed?

I pump some air into my leaky dinghy, examine the couple of cupfuls of fuel left in the tank, pull the starter cord on the little Nissan outboard and head north across the lagoon to Marigot.

Marigot is only a couple of miles from Simpson Bay  on the Dutch side, but is a different country with a different language: France, to be frank. And, apparently qualifies Telecom services to apply roaming cell phone charges for services within sight of my sim card’s origin.

I buzz across the lagoon and refuel the outboard before tying up the dinghy at a fishing boat inlet, step over the basking Iguanas and head off into town with an underlying and enexpected feeling of emptiness and a lacking in joy: Glee-less, if that’s a word.

Table for one at La Main A La Pate didn’t do much  for me apart from keep the hunger shakes away and lighten my wallet. Table for one is pretty much the same anywhere you go. Today is picture postcard perfect and I feel it should be fun but it doesn’t register that way. I don’t belong. I’m a maverick wayfarer making his way through someone else’s party.

I make my way to Fort Louis. Looking south over Marigot and over the lagoon to Mount Fortune, affectionately known as ‘The Witch’s Tit,’ where Glee rests on her mooring, In contrast I feel restless and adrift. I may be in the midst of an adventure but life long thoughts of uncertainty and doubt revisit. Arriving anywhere is never as I expect. The location is beautiful but my unchecked thinking makes it meaningless.  Wherever you go, there you are… like going on vacation, your baggage goes with you.

Defining and pondering the roots of these sensations is uncommon, sometimes difficult and often rewarding.

South over Marigot to Mount Fortune 'The Witch's Tit'

First thought:Loneliness: companionship might be a welcome distraction and the shared experience might feel more fulfilling but for how long?  No I’m not really lonely.

Next thought: Selfishness: what am I actually doing for my friends and family – what can I do from here?  Selfishness is a judgement – it’s too early to judge; any guilty feelings are unwarranted.

Contribution: how am I contributing to anyone at all? So far, there is solitude and boat maintenance. Again, too early to tell.   Contribution follows purpose.

Purpose: what makes life meaningful here and how do I go about creating and sustaining myself within it? When a seed is planted, nothing comes of it until roots emerge and leaves sprout and its fruit emerges. The seed doesn’t worry about it, it just does it – we are all nature; we all grow at our own pace.

Nothing is either good or bad, only thinking makes it so!  … I remind myself that there is no rush, relax, settle in and take my time. See what happens tomorrow…

Crossing No Man’s Land

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As I sit watching the sun through the eastern facing window of terminal A of San Juan International Airport lifting itself above the tropical palm trees on the skyline, bracing myself against the icy breeze of the over enthusiastic air-conditioning, I feel in-between things – in no man’s land.  What if I’m out of my depth. Should I have made a smaller step rather than jump, both feet into the Caribbean yacht world? The runaway train of automatic thinking had broke loose from it’s couplings and I remind myself to let them go and return to awareness in the present moment

8 hours is a pretty long wait for a connecting flight but a some sleep here, a bit of a read of Hunter S Thompson there, and a wander over to the window opposite as the sun slides overhead towards the western horizon and the day quietly passes punctuated by safety and security announcements.

After a 2 hour delay, announced in 4 irritating bite-sized 30 minute segments, the final leg to Sint Maarten was under way.

It was dark by the time I had arrived at the yacht club and I recognised Elaine from her social media photos. After brief introductions over a small Heineken we were skimming the water in a 7hp rubber dinghy to Glee’s mooring on the French side of the lagoon. A quick tour of the boat and a return jaunt to get Elaine back to shore and I was buzzing back alone through the anchorage and under the causeway following the same waypoints back to Glee.

I was here; 22 hours since taking off from Houston Intercontinental. What if I’m out of my depth. Should I have made a smaller step… and with the thoughts rattling away out of tune with the wind in the rigging and the water lapping at the hull, I went to sleep.

Morning:

This must be how amnesiacs awaken, I have a vague idea of where I am and I recognise some of these things on the boat  but the unfamiliarity with so much at once is disturbing. Just a matter of time is all it is, relax, settle in… I could always sell up and go back to… where? No rush, I have time… and the thoughts recede as I step out on deck and admire the tropical sunrise across the lagoon. I have realised a dream and ticked off a major goal. What now?

I need a plan… no rush, settle in first, I have time…

A Gleeful Step Into Uncertainty.

wp-1455639551728.jpegI should feel excited but it feels like another day but with a bigger to-do list…

The excitement came few weeks ago when the dream scrolled into view on a  on a Facebook feed on my Dad’s PC: a sailboat named Glee for sale in the Caribbean.

Butterflies in the stomach made me lean forward and focus in a bit closer. I had the funds but would I have the nerve? This has been on my bucket list for since I ever heard about bucket lists in my ‘battery farm’ office job about 10 years ago.

The  moment had come and I hadn’t even been looking for it.

I’d committed to spending a couple of Months at my Dad’s in Houston Texas and now I am at Houston Intercontinental Airport waiting for the flight to take me to a new adventure. Living on a sailboat in the Caribbean.

I was convinced people would say I was nuts but that didn’t bother me. What bothered me most was cutting my family visit short but it couldn’t be helped, and I could always come back later.

In fact most people I spoke to were actually envious and supportive.  There was only one person that thought I was a complete idiot; but I’m sure Mum will come round to the idea eventually.

After plucking up the courage to force my index finger down on the mouse button, the rest was easy. I had a loose idea of how I wanted to live ever since 2009 when I found out about the fraudulent way money is created off the back of loans and mortgages. I didn’t want to be a part of this system any more…

Step 1: clear the crippling debt left by the career killing credit crunch that left me without an income. Solution? I challenged and stopped paying the alleged debt .

Step 2: clear the mortgage on a house that I didn’t even want to live in anymore. Solution? I stopped paying the mortgage.

Step 3: declutter. Solution? Sold, recycled, donated and stored the museum of artifacts that tend to drag along through one’s personal history. This is still a work in progress.

Step 4: find alternative accommodation. Solution? Purchase 15 year old van fitted out as a stealth camper and get used to living off grid.

Therefore, this is why this latest move was easy for me. I have little to lose.  I am unencumbered by the financial ball and chain that modern life attaches to each of us. Without having made those first steps, I would have to weigh up the idea of living on a boat in the Caribbean against having a home, family , work and that whole social bubble we all build for ourselves. That’s a big stake in the game of life. Unless you’re pressed against the buffers of western civilization and see first hand how far the decks are now stacked against you, you either fight for your slavery or fight against it; you can’t ignore it.

I’m no longer being played as one of society’s pawns, tomorrow I’ll be living on a boat named Glee in the February Sun… I have little idea of what’s going to happen next but that’s one of the joys of freedom – you don’t need to… the only guarantee we have in life is uncertainty. Learning to embrace it will help set you free.

More in a day or two. I have a plane to catch!