Monday, July 21, 2008

Two Months or Six Years

“It’s only been two months, but it feels like six,” Dr C mused this evening over a pint at the Pass N’Tyme in Alert Bay. “I don’t know what that means.”

I don’t either. He is correct, though. According to the calendar, we left Seattle merely eight weeks ago. Measured by how we feel, we’ve been out here for considerably longer. Our original plan to be out “a year or two, maybe three” due to financial obligations in the real world no longer seems far too short. If dog years are 1 to 7, cruising years must be at least 1 to 3. In Cruising Years (TM pending since I just made it up), thirty-six months is nine years. I’ll be old and grey by the time we run out of money. It’s an open question whether or not we’ll run out of fun.

More puzzling is why the incredible sense of time distortion. The girls estimate we have travelled for close to eight months. I peg it somewhere around four months. We all agree that the calendar is just wrong. As Aeron pointed out, we had “three days of summer, a week of fall, and it’s winter again so it must be a year. “ She refers, of course, to the fact that mid-July has brought us rain, winds of 15 to 30, and temperatures in the salon each morning in the tens (e.g. low 50’s). The water is once again between bone chilling and brain freeze, and we button down the covers every afternoon to convert our cockpit into a green house so that we can all spread out and enjoy the bright but attenuated evening sunlight.

Dr C’s theory is that each day is so different from the previous day we have no ability to group our days into bundles. He believes that the sheer repetitiveness of our working lives enabled us to lump our days into “Mon-Fri” and “Weekend” -- thereby mentally converting us to a two day week. Now, even though we usually have absolutely no clue which day of the week it is, we nevertheless have to think about each one as a unique individual with its own foibles, challenges, and personality.

Jaime’s theory is that our days are completely filled from top to bottom. “We’re always doing something. Our days are just so busy. Besides, when you look at a clock, it barely moves.” Again, I have no idea what that means. “It drives me crazy,” she continues. Her first reaction is that she feels we’ve been out here too long, “We don’t get enough civilization. When we’re at anchor, we can’t just go ashore. You have to drop the dingy, put the engine on, make sure you have a walkie talkie, yadda yadda. It’s a hassle.”

This is another truth to our lives up here. There are not enough people, not enough cruisers, no children. An entire Canadian province and we’ve seen -- quite literally -- half a dozen children. We have enjoyed the company of fellow cruisers three times in eight weeks.

We expected this isolation as we moved north of Port McNeill. Yet due to timing, location, or sheer stupidity, we’ve managed somehow to avoid every other boater in the northwest. For those who dream of isolation, privacy, and quiet anchorages, I have only one thing to say, “Go North.” You do not need to sail to some exotic destination in the South Pacific to get remote.

On further reflection, Jaime recants her desire to end the cruise. “I don’t want to go back yet. We see so much. We do so much more.” Lonely, cold, and pining for a few consecutive days of hot, unlimited showers, yes. But on the whole, we very much enjoy this life. We do so much more. I couldn’t tell you what exactly, but we do do quite a bit of it.

Yet Another Sunset
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.


Anonymous said...

Well, it sounds like you have successfully adapted to "boat time" - that dimension where time ceases to exist as we know it and takes on a whole new personality.
We always say, "We work too much and there is no time fore anything else". But I hear that cruising can be even busier, but in different ways. And so much more enjoyable :)
Keep us informed when you start the slide down the West coast so we can try to get the families together. Perhaps even pull into Winchester Bay or Coos Bay on your way south :)

Al Thomason said...

It is so great to watch you all make this transition (3 years and counting for us...) And mostly what all is happening these 1st few months. Thank you!

Have been told more then a few times, it takes one solid year to truly decide if you are 'into' this life style or not. Will be watching!