Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Third Try - Were We Charmed?

The pressure was on for our third and final try to leave Mooloolaba. If we yet again failed at the straightforward task of finding our way to the sea, we would take it as a clear sign that we should give land life a try. We were breathless with the suspense - would the third time be charmed? We were eager to give ourselves every chance to succeed.

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:
We figured that if anyone has dealt with the problem of not being able to find their way to the sea, it's the Uzbek fishermen from the shores of the Aral. So we read about some of their colorful folk traditions for finding the sea.

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.

I gave it a try with our copy of World Cruising Routes.

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.

It took some convincing, but Alisa gave it a try.

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!"

It was an important party: our little boy was turning three!

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.

We celebrated over a barbie with the crew from Six Pack.

Alisa made this great cake. Remember when you were so young that you could fit a candle for each year on top of your cake and have room left over?

Back on the boat, we marked his height on the compression post.

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.


  1. maybe the three was for elias, not for your venture!

  2. Happy Birthday Elias! I really can't believe how big he has gotten. Good luck on your next adventure!