Do you remember that commercial on TV that showed a tropical looking ocean, long lovely clean sailing boat, looks like the sun has just come up and then this young-looking woman in a white cotton sweater easily steps up onto the deck holding a fresh cup of coffee? The theme of course was buy a Lotto 649 ticket and this could be yours.
I remember watching that commercial and thinking I would love to do that!
What I have come to learn over the last year or so (from a woman’s perspective living in the Pacific North West) – sailing, true sailing is not for the faint hearted. It is work, boredom, cold, miserable, wet, tiring, private, challenging physically and mentally, amazing, relaxing, pinch me beautiful, with moments of intense awe, constant learning, adjusting to the environment, location and your partner (24hrs a day).
When I spent three months last year travelling to Alaska, my clearest memories are of the wretched cold, rain and the constant feeling of dampness. Silly me, I had brought along sleeveless tops, flip flops and suntan lotion! There were few days when I didn’t look like the Michelin Tire Man, I was so layered in clothing. It was summer, it should be warm! I should be warm! To be honest, I had no intention of ever, ever, ever! going any great distance again, let alone towards the north end of Vancouver Island or the Queen Charlottes (rain is worse there but I had the grandest time there this year).
I had no idea last year what being on a boat week after week meant, how cold it would be or how cold I would constantly feel. The niceties of everyday living not available. No hot shower, no warm room to wake up in, no refrigerator, no music, everything seemed to be no, no and no. There is no question we saw beautiful places and the sun did shine, I have the pictures to prove it but I was not prepared, it was not what I expected.
I wanted 649.
Things do have a way of changing and with it one’s perception.
As time wore on and we spied the boat we have now, I knew what to expect when the Captain spoke of going around the north end of the island and then over to the Queen Charlotte Islands. I now knew there would be cold and rain, this time I was prepared – mentally. My anxiety was mainly in the thought of the 24-hour crossing to the QC and then the sail southward to San Francisco – 7 days around the clock. How would I possibly be able to do that? I intensely dislike being awake all night long, the thought of it made me think of my working years when I had to work the night shift. Horrible!
Was it tough? Yes, but it was also tough for the Captain as well and with that knowledge I was able to except each hour and day knowing that our sailing was not a singular venture but a joint one. You know what? It was fine and (except for the stormy days) I cannot really remember the days being difficult. It was something we had to do to get to our next destination and we both worked toward that.
The difference from last year’s boat and with this year’s boat is night to day. On this boat, we have a 5-gallon hot water tank which provides steaming hot water after the engine has been running. A shower stall but must admit that due to lack of sufficient storage space we have opted to use the shower area for storage for such a long voyage. A large deep fridge that has a small freezer compartment that we can keep cold with the solar panel. A large bed area at the front of the boat (called the V berth). Captain bought a small personal juice blender (well I nearly keeled over!) and we purchased a carbonated water system (good friends showed us their unit, we love it!) – this time my legs went wobbly. Captain also brought along the Sirus radio to listen to music or news! Be still my beating heart. The boat is roomy inside and out and is comfortable! The best though is my ability to communicate through this blog, or send a text via the inReach communication system, or use the satellite phone or look at news on the iPad or sit back and hand write a letter. Yes, that option is still available, no app for that, or is there?
With this journey, I prepared myself based on last years’ experience and this time it is completely different. What changed? Everything!
I am getting that 649 feeling.