It’s been a long time coming, this sailing thing, but we can finally see land (so to speak). Separation anxiety settles slowly, ominously like a wet cloak about my shoulders, darkly clouding my bright outlook. Perhaps it’s normal to feel a bit apprehensive about divesting ourselves of years of accumulated “stuff”, as we near the completed sale and transfer of our home of some thirteen years and the majority of its contents into the new owners’ eager hands. Perhaps it’s normal to embrace a major change in one’s life with a fair amount of trepidation. Perhaps it’s normal to take some time to regretfully allow a moment of pause to acknowledge that I never did have the courage to paint the study that magnificent shade of red.
The days flit by as household items are priced, sold and carried away. With boxes still to be carefully packed and sealed, I seem to be frozen in a sort of limbo and I try and recapture the first moments of really falling in love with the sea. Trying to somehow regain the sense of excitement I should be feeling, I close my eyes and replace the harsh reality of changing worlds with salty tasting seaspray, landscapes of grassy hills and wide ribbons of busy highways boasting people and vehicles of every kind and colour with vast tracts of undulating ocean. Grey days, sunny days, dolphins surfing the bow waves sometimes right next to the boat. Days of dead calm just waiting for a breath of wind, having to motor to make way and days and nights of adrenaline pumping winds and waves all will blur into a life of passage making over the deep Atlantic. Phosphorescence to mesmerize during the night watches, tracing lightning-color outlines around fish and plankton as the boat silently swishes through the black water, creating phantom shapes which will entertain the lonely watchkeeper until dawn heralds its arrival in long fingers of pinks and golds through the grey sky.
Maybe a fishing rod, trailing in the boat’s wake will suddenly squeal, announcing the possible catch of a fresh tuna on an appropriately chosen lure and the sudden heart stopping moment forces one out of the lull and languidity of being gently rocked for hours at a time. Then thoughts of how to despatch the creature, mercifully, once landed overtake me and I remember the many advices gleaned from experienced fishermen over time. A little alcohol poured into the gills instantly halts the flailing. I’ve heard of a few drops of clove oil in a bucket of water works to calm the fish. Some hardened but dedicated sushi eater recommends cutting it and hanging it up to allow it to bleed first before filleting it to ensure the cleanest taste. I’m of the opinion that whatever you do, don’t expect me to spectate or “hold anything”. Just present the fillets to me in the galley and keep the details to yourself. I dare say time and a few successful fish catches will change my wimpy outlook and when that day comes I will tell the tale.
I realize that I’m thinking of sushi when there are still boxes to pack, a myriad of things to do, but, at least these temporary musings on the imminent call of the ocean have diverted my thoughts and lifted my heart sufficiently to press on.