Monday, April 29, 2013

Five Hundred and One

Sunrise finds us well out to sea. You could live your whole life in the town and not know what is just here, in the wide bay. The hills have shrunk to a distant backdrop, the roads and neighborhoods and port have become minutiae. Everything that is at the center of things back in town is transformed, from the perspective of Galactic's decks, to details, barely discernable. Around us, and before us all the way to Patagonia, is this primal, elemental place, the ever-shifting sea.

We've started to take New Zealand for granted – our time since the Auckland Islands has been pleasant enough, but after a year in Hobart we're looking for something different from the pleasant/bucolic Antipodean experience. Our hearts already pine for the turquoise waters and unfamiliar cultures of a cyclone-free season spent in the tropics. But then, sailing up this coast, I open my eyes to where we are, and what we're doing. The shoreline is guarded by inaccessible cliffs that glow in the morning sun. The sky is blue again today. The sun beats the ocean surface, first to copper, then to silver. Inland, we watch the signature New Zealand landscape spool by: rugged landforms with a pastoral twist, courtesy of the ubiquitous sprinkling of sheep and cattle. The sere brown of the drought is far behind us, and the hills are lush. Dolphins leap at our bow, a kingfish comes on deck. The boys are playing well together, so well that Alisa and I even get ten minutes together in the cockpit.

For a few months now I've been watching the approach of the 500th post on this blog. For some reason that seems like as much of a milestone for the duration of our time "away", living on traveling sailboats, as the upcoming 6th anniversary of our departure from Kodiak. Like so many milestones, this one seemed far away, and then was suddenly past. So this post is the five hundred and first.

It's a funny thing, living a lifestyle that is so much the product of active choice, so far from the path of least resistance. After choosing to organize our lives to enable this long period of near-constant travel, we are always aware, in the back of our minds, that we are just one choice away from stopping, and going back to a life ashore. On the hard days, when we are confronted by the effort that it takes to keep going, with me on deck singlehanding our 45-footer, and Alisa belowdecks, singlehanding through homeschooling and childrearing, that choice cries out to be made.

But those moments pass. We know that a life ashore would have moments, and discontents, of its own. And for now, we're very happy right where we are.


  1. You're coming to Kodiak! I was out when you emailed that you needed lodging... in Mexico with my sister and family. I leave again for 12 days on the 2nd of May. Back on the 14th. Will I miss your visit? I certainly hope not! Jay is gone May 8 to 21st...? Love and hugs to all. xoSteph

    1. not to worry! we're there May 15-24... team Saltonstall has kindly hooked us up with lodging... Can't wait to see you guys.

  2. PS I'm meeting my girlfriend from Auckland in Hawaii for our annual week at our timeshare! I hope you're enjoying New Zealand?!