If you know cruisers, or read a few cruising blogs, you’ll know that at some point, in some place most of the female-type sailors tend to get a bit down. In my case I sort of saw it coming. I’ve never had such sustained fun as I did the whole way across the Pacific: We had already made it through that transition that comes with the first year of cruising, we were travelling with a fantastic group of people, there was something new to see and do every day, and we had a goal—and for me this equals bliss. But no one stays happy all the time. Especially when a big adventure is shutting down and good friends are dispersing.
I get this.
But when I had a motionless home, and a group of friends in roughly the same time zone, I knew how to deal when my happy went walkabout. I’d call up a friend, sequester myself with chocolate, and talk long and wide about whatever drama was eating at my soul. Then I’d move onto the next friend, and the next, until I had bored them all to tears with my tears, and I’d be good again.
But when you are on a lightly charted atoll in the middle of the Pacific, or an island-continent an ocean away, those failsafe happy-making methods are plum useless (just because you have friends you can call at 3am doesn’t mean you should). And no matter how fond you might be of your spouse—most of them are pretty poor stand-ins for chocolate supplying, long-suffering, long-listening bffs. Husbands try to solve stuff—friends just commiserate and pass the wine.
This all means that when your (my) happy goes missing on a sailboat, trying to find it again can be tricky. Especially because to the rest of the world, life afloat is akin to a fake life--one that doesn't really come with sobs.
I do have sailing friends: Lovely people with whom I’ve weathered storms and enjoyed some of the most intensely beautiful moments of my life beside. But the sort of friend you turn to when you’re tearing up at the thought of another Christmas away from you mum are the friends who have picked you up before—not the ones who’ve never seen you stumble.
So here I am: Floating sadly on the edge of a big city. Wondering how I’ll get my happy back.