We did it. We got out of the marina. We actually took the boat. We started the motors. We dropped off the lines, and we motored around the corner.
We Are Out Again!
toastfloats on Flickr
I was beginning to think we might never go out again. After arriving in New Zealand and settling into slip F3 in Bayswater, we started to grow roots… both figuratively and literally. While other boats celebrated summer -- the summer that never was down here where the weather has been absolutely miserable since we arrived, Don Quixote sat on the dock. When the sun actually decided to make an appearance after months of avoiding Auckland, we sat on the dock. We even sat through holiday weekends as the entire country took off three weeks for Christmas and New Years.
Our neighbors were astonished, and I mean that in the most negative way possible. You have this lovely boat all prepared for cruising, yet you don't want to go out for the week? Why ever not? But six months of living on the hook somehow made going out the most unappealing prospect possible. When the weekends came, it felt good to just sit here. At night, we could sleep even when the wind started to howl. The girls could get off and go both other people's parents. The cat prowled every night. We took showers whenever we felt like it… and the water was HOT.
Until last week. Jaime asked us to take her friends out on a harbor cruise to celebrate her sixteenth birthday. Honestly? I was a bit surprised. There are times when it feels like Jaime would do positively anything to distance herself from her family, her history, her boatiness. So I greeted this somewhat out of character enthusiasm for the boat as a positive sign of maturity and reattachment to family matters. I know. I can read an entire, heartrending story of family reunion into a simple request to get drunk on a boat with friends. You'll just have to trust me that it worked for both of us.
The evening was neither perfect nor glorious, but it was fun. Don Quixote -- laden with all our worldly goods, full tanks of water, gas, and beer, as well as a dozen teenagers, my client and his wife, and a partridge in a pear tree -- was about as fun to drive as a stoned hippopotamus. Instead of dancing gracefully over the waves, she slammed into them with indomitable will and an almost barge-like competence. At the end of the evening, it took the rugby team of teenagers, a dock hand and both engines to wedge ourselves back into our slip looking somewhat like a fat lady rolling on the couch while squeezing herself into a 10-year old pair of jeans. Parts of us kept squirting out sideways until we nailed her down with a spider web of lines. It was a complete farce and had me red-faced on the potty run for the next few days, afraid of chance encounters with witnesses on my way to the shore showers.
What the evening did accomplish, however, was remind the entire family why we live on this boat. It is not too much of a stretch to say it reminded us of who we are. It is true that we are the loud, funky American family with the loud funky and very silly tortoise shell cat who lives on dock F. We are also That Family, the definition of which is ever so much more interesting and ever so much more family-like than the fractured, busy, almost normal group of people who have been sharing these hulls for the past few months.
toastfloats on Flickr
So That Family went on a real sail this weekend. We took off for the islands. There really is no point in my describing the details. If you've read my blog for any length of time, there will not be one single thing about the experience that is any way unique or interesting. Waves, boats, wind, islands, anchors, dinghies, little towns to explore and fishing boats to dodge, shops to drift around in, beaches on which to hunt shells, sail drives to service, zincs to check, thru hulls to clean. It was all so very normal.
Just a family together, sharing dinner and a card game and a movie, on a boat, at anchor, off shore of a pretty island surrounded in water and wind and birds and ocean.