Monday, April 21, 2008

Breakfast With The Martins and Other "Wild" On Board Entertaining

Breakfast with the Martins and Other "Wild" On Board Entertaining.

As a family one of the things we always enjoyed doing a great deal in Idaho was cooking together and entertaining in our home. That almost always involved sharing a meal together. Cooking and meal planning on board has been a real transition, especially for Susan. Our galley, although quite large for a boat, still feels cramped. With limited food preparation space and the very limited availability of food products that means a much less diverse menu than we are accustomed too. None-the-less we have still found many opportunities to entertain and share life with others, again, very often over appetizers or a meal. A few of our guests on board over the last three and a half months however, have been a little more on the wild side.

One example was the Martins who just sort of showed up one morning. We are still not really sure where they are from or what their intentions were. They were, however, a delightful couple with both a tremendous amount of energy and cute as can be. They had a wonderful zest for life and seemed to be less concerned about so many of the little details of life. They chose to live and experience life at its pace as it was presented to them.

The night before had been restless for us. We had anchored in the only safe place on that section of coast but one that left us fully exposed to the ocean swells. As we rocked and rolled all night sleep came slowly and offered little rest. Yet as the Martins passed by the following morning it seemed only right to say hello and we soon welcomed them on board. Breakfast was simple, pancakes I think, but their constant chatter and energy was a real boost to our morning. Our weary night would have spread over into the following morning had the Martins not come by for breakfast. We took a few photos and said goodbye as we pulled anchor and moved on. Where they are now or what they are doing we do not know but we wish them well.

I am sure we have all heard of the term "gym rat". There seem to be similar individuals around yachts as well. There are folks who just hang out around yachts and can't seem to find or want to do anything not relating to yachts. As a society we do not generally like rats, even though in early maritime days they were considered a good omen on board. We have what we call boat geckos. It really is a pretty good name. You know geckos, they seem to have a certain whimsical characteristic and those sticky little toes and their tenacity seem to fit the observed behavior of the afore mentioned individuals. We have had two such "geckos" frequent Mima. Names have been left out to protect the innocent.

The "geckos" seem to show up most often around sunset during our traditional "sundowner" or during dinner. Go figure. I guess a free meal is always welcome. They have been much less talkative than most of our guests and just hang out with little to offer other than their presence. It has been a new and enjoyable experience for us to enjoy a guest most by their presence and less by their contribution to the conversation. There is something wonderful to be said for a presence that uplifts and encourages those around you simply by being together.

In my haste to tell you about our friends I neglected to point out that the Martins are actually a pair of Purple Martins and the"geckos" are in fact our two boat geckos. Yes we have wild life on board. They have been a wonderful part of the journey so far. I will save the 5foot boa constrictor that took up residency in the anchor locker story for later.

Take care and until next time fair winds, following seas, and live wild. The 4 Wheelers

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

100 Days Afloat

100 Days Afloat

By the time this article is printed we will be approaching our 100th day afloat. Cultures around the world celebrate centennials so I guess we will throw a little party on board at day 100 and in keeping with late night television we thought we would give you our "Top 10 Reasons to go Sailing" so far.

First, a positional update, we left the San Blas Islands a little over two weeks ago and after a provisioning stop in Colon and a short cultural trip to Panama City we are on our way to Bocas Del Toro, Panama. Located on the Panama-Costa Rican border 150 miles from Colon, Bocas Del Toro will be our home for the next month or so before heading off the mainland of Central America.

It seems that one of the most difficult things to explain to people about our desire to go cruising is that it is a lifestyle choice, NOT a vacation. We often run into folks who when we tell them we are sailing for a few years they seem to think we are sitting on deck all day with a book and little umbrella drinks. We do get to sit on deck and enjoy the sun and surroundings sometimes, but most days are busy and full of activity and responsibility. Cruising is not a vacation but a lifestyle and frankly one that we are learning requires a lot of work.

Having said all that- cruising is a wonderful lifestyle. Some of our cruising friends Roy and Michelle aboard s/v Dream Odyssey put it this way, "The rewards are worth it if you don't weaken". Like anything in life, if it was easy the rewards would not be nearly so great.

Like most things we do in life- motivations are uniquely personal and different, but in closing here is our 100 days afloat "Top 10 Reasons to go Sailing".

10. It is harder for the law to find you out here.

9. No need for alarm clocks.

8. The profound sense of satisfaction experienced in overcoming the obstacles of life aboard. Out here there is no handyman service to call. If it is going to be it is up to me.

7. Diverse cultural exposure-you can read about different cultures but living, eating and interacting among them provides a depth of experience not possible from a book.

6. No tan lines.

5. You can sleep for 10 hours a night or take a nap everyday and not feel guilty about it.

4. Getting to watch your 9 year old son pilot a 50 foot yacht out of a crowded marina slip with confidence and proficiency.

3. Howler Monkeys, Flying Gurnards, Keel-billed Toucans and Bandito the Sloth.

2. No ties, No shoes, No Shirt, No makeup--- No Worries.

1. Getting to spend 24 hours a day with your family watching them grow and growing together (this one has occasionally appeared on our top 10 reasons not to go sailing list as well).

Until next time, live your dream and fair winds. The 4Wheelers.

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