A BOAT IS never finished. As you complete one item 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 seacock: 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 a 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 the Dutch side of Simpson Bay, 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 on the dock and flip flop off into town with an underlying and unexpected 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 keeping the hunger shakes away and lightening 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. There’s a thought in my head tapping away like a woodpecker that ‘I don’t belong.’ I’m a maverick wayfarer wandering through someone else’s party. I tell the woodpecker to shut up.
I make my way to Fort Louis up on the hill. Looking south over Marigot and over the lagoon to Mount Fortune, affectionately known as ‘The Witch’s Tit,’ where Glee rests peacefully in her mooring, In contrast, I feel restless and adrift. I may be in the midst of an adventure but lifelong thoughts of uncertainty and doubt orbit my mind.
Arriving anywhere is never as I expect. The location is beautiful but my unchecked thinking as yet fails to give it meaning.
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 but often rewarding.
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, 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! … and thoughts are only thoughts, only having the meaning we give to them.
I remind myself that there is no rush, relax, settle in and take my time. Water the garden of the mind and see what sprouts tomorrow…