Friday, March 27, 2009

Iluka Again

I just re-read Kingsley Amis' Lucky Jim, motivated by a search for a quote that turned out to be less well-put than I remembered. I was rewarded, though, by the funniest public speaking scene in all of English-language literature, as well as a bit of wisdom described (apocryphally, I'm sure) as an Arab proverb: Take what you want, and pay for it.

That could be our rallying cry right now, as we find our way into Epoch Two of our sailing lives, which, I/we hope, will be best described in retrospect as, "And then they went on and on and on."

There's a price to pay for living that kind of life, of course. But maybe some part of wisdom is knowing the life you want, and being willing to pay for it.

Anyway, that's one of the great pitfalls about writing about sailing - it can devolve into endless justification of lifestyle choices.

Or, perhaps, "lifestyle" is a word that cheapens those choices, and what we're really thinking about as we sit on the hook here in Iluka and contemplate the future has to do with the essence of life, something much more at the heart of what's important than any question of "style".

Maybe it's time to start thinking again about the value of grand gestures, and a disregard for nearly everything that is generally agreed on back home in the Lower 48.

Oh dear.


So here's an update on us.

Often I go to the office in the morning. This is me, commuting. Notice the coffee cup on the bow of the inflatable kayak. The blue dry bag in my lap holds the computer.

Sometimes Elias comes to visit at the office.

We make it to a decent number of barbecues. Australians have a knowledge of barbecuing that is deep and subtle. Below are Miles and Melissa and their sprouts, whom we barbecued with last week. Miles and Melissa are the Australians whom we would most like to take to one of those old parties in Kodiak where everyone would have a little too much to drink while we talked from eight at night until two in the morning.

As it was, we had just a little to drink and talked until the mozzies came out and the kids began to get tired and whinge.

Check out two year old Malachy on the grill. He will grow up into a fluid and confident barbecuer.

And then there's the beach. Alisa and Elias get to one beach or another at least once a day, often twice. And sometimes I come along.

Elias takes his beach fossicking very very seriously.

That and tide pools.

Yesterday we were about to settle into our everyday routine when we got an invite to travel down to a beach 45 minutes or so to the south. That's our little party on the right. To the left is kilometers of empty beach. Alaskan friends, can you just feel the sand between your toes?

We went with two other families with little kids.

I had a fun thrash in the surf. My technique still needs lots of refining before anyone would call me a surfer. Elias is laying the groundwork of his own technique right now.

The end.


  1. Why on earth would I want sand between my toes? Check out the snow we've gotten here in Kodiak of late. Now that is Heaven. Patrick

  2. OK, about this last post:
    I cannot stop myself from thinking, "huh?", why in all goodness' name would you feel you have to justify your "lifestyle"? My better logic leads me to this conclusion: that I should justify my own lifestyle: still living somewhere we are not quite happy with, yoked with a massive mortgage for an extremely modest house, very little free time. Not to say I do not love my family, extended family, garden, and work, because I do, however: we got ourselves stuck while we were not paying attention. You are paying attention. Go, sail the world! Like I said, soul candy. heather

  3. Was bored playing 'hearts' on yahoo. Decided to check Kodiak Kon and wove my way onto your "Once in a Lifetime" visit. Good to bring you and the family into view....and feel your angst on dunking the outboard. Aldona and I do wish you three the best of health and safety and hope that our paths touch again. tom kouremetis