Saturday, March 15, 2008

On the Cusp

Here we are at the ½ way point – 8 months into our life afloat and 8 more until we reach Oz. Seems high time for Alisa to make a blog entry. I have had a few ideas for blog entries along the way, but most were developed during a long night watch and spiraled wildly into circles of my past, seeming insufficient for readership in the light of day. I wrote about the naysayers that followed us all the way to San Diego, about California being overrun by grime and calloused souls (with the exception of Morro Bay), the practical challenges of provisioning in Mexico and raising an infant aboard, and most recently about the heartwarming experience of my parents visiting us and (at last!) fully embracing our journey.

But right now all I can think about is the next leg. We will be at sea for quite a stretch – nearly 2800 miles. I am eager to get over the first 3 days of feeling queasy and sleep deprived and enter the realm of being part of the boat and one with the rhythm of the sea. I wonder how it will be to cross the equator. I wonder how it will be to pass Mike like ships in the night as we constantly trade off boat and Elias duties…never really able to sit together for very long without burning up the other’s allotted time for sleep. I am eager for my nightly comparison of the stars as certain constellations grow higher and others flip on their head. I am no longer sad to see the big dipper on our stern. I am over the transition and realize that the only way home to Alaska is to go forward, which in this case is south.

I have been sewing bug screens and sun awnings for the tropics. These tasks have really made me reflect on how far we have traveled. In Kodiak no one would imagine a sun awning or living aboard without mold. Of course, I would trade condensation for the cockroaches we now encounter. Also, I am not eager to hand wash cloth diapers but I realize that even paradise has its dues. We have paid the price of endless late nights and being hyper-organized in order to think of every spare part and check every system on Pelagic. I had no idea my clothes and body would get caked in salt. The beds of my fingernails are cracking and splitting. The sun will take its toll and we will have to be diligent just as we were to avoid frostbite during winter camping trips in Alaska’s subarctic. I am confident the boat is safe and I completely trust the teamwork of me and Mike to make the upcoming passage. Yes, life is full of uncertainty, whether on land or at sea. Our risks are different and so we are more conscious of them, but they are not greater.

Elias is thriving and has become a nature lover, reader, and sailor. Yesterday we were hand-in-hand walking to the playground and I caught a glimpse of what we must look like to a stranger. I remembered the leap of faith I made to move aboard with our 10 month old son and go to sea. It feels so natural to have Elias growing up this way, but yesterday’s sudden awareness was a welcome reminder of how I struggled with the decision to leave our rich life on Kodiak. I think we are doing a great thing for ourselves and for Mike’s fulfillment of his dream and for our child to grow up this way. I would like to sail together as a family when our children are on the cusp on puberty – as I have recently met some wonderful kids age 11-15 and they seem centered and not awkward in the way that most of us were when we endured middle and high school. But that is thinking ahead far into the future, and right now I want to remain in the groove of anticipating the passage that awaits. Oh my!

1 comment:

  1. Hello! Happy St. Patrick's Day! My name is Jeff Benzak and I worked for the Kodiak Daily Mirror in 2004-05. I am good friends with Andy and Betsy and they told me about your blog. I am now in New Orleans and love keeping up with your journey. My brother twice sailed from Portland, Ore., to Hawaii -- once in a J29, and again doublehanded in a Moore 24 (no toddlers, though!). Have fun out there on the Pacific!