Today is a special day. It is May 31. But before I get to why, let me catch you up.
We launched the boat several days ago. It was not the exciting moment that sometimes accompanies such events. Rather, we felt it was another disjointed procedure in our stumbling run towards a self-imposed deadline.
The engine was (and still is) in pieces. The rudder was not (nor is yet) full reassembled and so I tried to tie it in place so it wouldn’t slam against its hinges during the maneuvers of getting Phoenix into a slip.
Now we are at a dock. It is a step forward but not one that signifies any significant advance toward our departure.
Why this rush, then, to launch a disassembled boat? Because our lease at our apartment runs out. We are actually now forced to live aboard.
Or perhaps I should say “camp” aboard.
The fridge is still not connected.
We pulled the head (toilet) out for cleaning and for painting in the head well. So we will have to walk to the marina facilities.
Our water tanks are still not reassembled because they still need parts and repairs. (Again, walks to the bathrooms for doing dishes and such.)
We don’t have shore power because I am in the final stages of connecting a transformer which we will need for the higher European voltage.
And with the need to get to every nook, cranny, corner, and crevice of the ship, we can’t yet put in our cushions and make it look homey. We sit on hard boards.
Bins of parts are lying about as are baggies of screws, various tools, varnishing supplies, parts of hose, partially assembled doodads, and power tools. We are forever tripping over the extension cord or plugging and unplugging drill, sander, vacuum cleaner.
And all of this in humid, near-100-degree days.
But despite all that, today is a special day. And a beautiful geometry is created by the necessity to move onto our ship today and live aboard. Because it was exactly one year ago today, on May 31, 2011 that we moved aboard Dolphins and cast off on this Grand Voyage.
It has been (to employ British understatement) quite a year.
We bade farewell to home, family and friends. We committed ourselves to becoming liveaboards. We crossed an ocean. We sailed to foreign countries. Our boat burned. We lived in Turkey for four months. We struggled with the fundamental reconciliations of willpower and purpose in the context of the classic hero’s journey. We found a new boat. And now we are on the verge of continuing our Grand Voyage.
Heraclitus said, “You cannot step into the same river twice.”
Never was a proverb more aptly remembered than now.
It is not that it has become a different voyage. Nor that we have become different voyagers. It’s more that the voyage has evolved. And so have we.
Yes, we are more confident because we have gained some significant skills. Jennifer completed her first ocean passage, along with solo watches in gale conditions. I have learned more about being a captain of motely crews and now about fitting-out a boat mostly on my own.
Jennifer and I have experienced a more fundamental evolution: We have become voyagers.
And that has taken me by surprise.
We don’t talk so much anymore about when we are going to come back. It’s not that we don’t expect to; it’s just that now, being committed to this voyage, it’s hard to predict exactly when.
We also talk less about which countries we will see in which order. The concept of itinerary became jetsam somewhere along the way.
This change of outlook has been instigated by the voyage, but has far deeper implications than just our attitudes about itineraries. It has become a Weltanschauung.
We hope to be on our way back to the Mediterranean in a few weeks with a new boat, new skills and a new Weltanschauung.
Bring me that horizon.