August 9, 2011

Surfing Through 10,000 Miles

We're sailing to Tonga. The wind is a pleasant 15 knots but the seas are big and lumpy. When one catches us it picks us up by the bridge deck and we surf; 10,12,15 knots. There are squalls all around us and the weather charts are a bit undecided when it comes to telling us what to expect next. 700 more miles of this won't be terrible, but it'll be tiring.

850 mile passages don't seem like that big a deal anymore. Especially because sometime today we'll be sailing through our 10,000th mile. On little Ceilydh it took us over 3 years to reach that milestone (our two-year cruisa-versary was July 22.). But both times it felt worth celebrating. The problem is mileage markers tend to happen at sea, which means making a nice meal is going to be tricky...

Last night on my night watch I thought about the past 10, 000 miles and came up with a list of things I miss and things I don't miss.

Things I miss:

-Calling my mum (or a friend, or a sister, or an editor...). Communication has come a huge way since we last did this and I'm almost always in touch and reachable somehow or another. But knowing I can be reached is not the same as being able to call my mum over a morning coffee and chat about the little stuff...
-Lunch dates with friends. I've only taken off with girlfriends for lunch and shopping a handful of times during the past two years. Every time we manage to escape we swear we ought to do it more often, but it just doesn't seem to happen.
Hot baths and long showers. I wouldn't trade my daily swims in the ocean for them, but gosh I miss a big bathroom...
-Variety in food. I miss restaurants I can afford and diverse fruit and vegetables other than the handful that seem to be standard everywhere (although here we've substituted bokchoy for Mexico's broccoli). I'd love some asparagus and a melon, mushrooms and green peas. I'd also love any grain other than white rice.
-Libraries and bookstores. Having an ereader is great (especially with all the free books out there). But I miss browsing and choosing a book because it looks interesting, not because the only alternative is a NASCAR Romance by Harlequin...
-The news. I'm completely out of the loop and have no idea if the world has ended.
-Being able to walk out my front door. Loading up the dinghy and finding a place to land gets old. It takes planning and coordination and we almost always head to shore together.
-Time by myself.

Things I don't miss:

-Telemarketers and conference calls. Sometimes not having a phone is a bonus.
Traffic. We only rarely end up in cities big enough to have traffic jams and most of the time we can time our visit to avoid the heaviest traffic.
-Excessive consumerism. It would be nice to have more options but visiting places that have what they need and no more is really refreshing. Maia never asks to buy stuff the way she did when we shopped at home because there is either nothing to buy or she knows it will be hideously expensive.
-Souvenir hawkers. It's kind of cool heading to events where there are no t-shirts, coffee mugs, mouse pads or stuffed mascots for sale. Instead we go to see the event and simply take a few pictures to recall it.
-Rigid schedules. Other than the weather, visa limitations and friends flying in it's pretty much up to us what we do and when we do it. Maia does school work when it fits the schedule (though we try for mornings) and we're able to accept dinner invites with a few minutes notice.
-Rain. I don't mind a bit here and there. It keeps the boat clean and gives us an excuse to have a down-day aboard. But I don't miss those drizzly winter days that go on for weeks...
-Celebrity news. It feels really nice not having any idea about which stars have recently self-destructed. Really nice.

Position as of 19:30 zulu
S 18 38
W 161 49
average speed 6.5 knots
distance to go 690 miles

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