We decided that since Alisa and I hadn't had much luck in our previous attempts, we would let Elias steer Pelagic this time around.
Since we live in the era when information is ascendant over thought, we went online to plot our route on Google Earth. And, for a little context on our recent troubles, we also looked up the situation in the Aral Sea region. Because its source rivers have been diverted for irrigation, the Aral has evaporated to the point where it no longer exists. As a result, the fishing fleet has found itself high and dry:
The Uzbeks believe that a captain who cannot find his way to the sea should stand on his head and read about the ocean that he loves.
Uzbek fishermen further believe that a sea cook who cannot find her way to the sea should wear a fur hat and hold the ship's fire extinguishers to her bosom.
After using these colorful folk remedies (which incidentally are completely scoffed at by pediatricians and the drug companies they serve), we felt our spirits reviving. We allowed ourselves to begin to hope that this time we might leave Mooloolaba.
But then, an unforseen twist.
As part of our campaign to blend in with the land-dwelling community, we had each gotten iPhones and used them to overschedule our lives. Just as Alisa was walking up to the bow to pull the anchor, the fur hat still on her head and the extinguishers still cradled to her bosom, I pulled out my iPhone and checked the Little Einstein app that we have started using to keep track of Elias' play dates and cultural enrichment activities. I scrolled through his calendar for the day, past the origami lesson and trigonometry flashcard session, and found this entry in the afternoon: "Party".
"Oh, no," I called out to Alisa, just as she was about to pull the hook. "We can't go today - we've got the party this afternoon!"
He started the day talking to his grandmother - our phone is nestled in his hands there.
In the afternoon, during the scheduled time, we went to the playground.
And he opened presents.
It was a great day, and I think we gave him a good celebration in spite of not knowing any little kids here to invite to the party.
That night, after Elias went to sleep, with the wreckage of decorations and wrapping paper still strewn around the cabin, Alisa and I had a chance to reflect.
"That was it, our third try," Alisa said.
"We didn't make it," I said. "I guess that means we give land life a try."
"I guess so."
So that's what we're going to do.