Thursday, February 19, 2015
Today was a day to try to get back in the swim of things. I will shortly do my 50 laps in the pool, which I did yesterday and decided to keep to a daily routine. We have a sweet opportunity to enjoy a yacht next to us, during the evenings, which the owners have allowed us to use at their dock slip, which has cable TV and airco. This is a marked change from being at anchor rolling around in the harbor, where the boomboxes blare from a beachside hotel every weekend. We are docked at a slip we have free use of, courtesy of Niles, who is glad to keep Bob nearby the boats he works on. The slip is on a dock directly adjacent to the waves and open water; it has East views to the North Side of St. Thomas, St. John and Tortola. Just beyong the water entry to the South, it is hilly, undeveloped and lush; behind the other long side of the horseshoe shaped dock, is the hill where the village condos are nestled. Off to the short side to the North, it is open until the view is punctuated by the beach condos with water views interspersed and where the beach is accessed. Walking anywhere is a treat. The brick herringboned walkways are canopied with prime shrub, tree and vines; a foliaged nirvana. My kind of place! The 'genius loci'-- the spirit of the place-- is alive and well tended. Bob works with Niles, who runs a yacht brokerage and management company, call Amantha Yacht Services. Of the 75 slips, Niles manages about a quarter of the boats, which involves a lot of servicing, which Bob has been hired for. On any given day he is in and out of some amazing vessels, yet is nearby the boat here, where I have been diligently attempting to catch up with organization and upkeep. He has also done a good bit on our boat while I was in Maine, but now I can pick up my part of this partnership and get to work on brightwork and other fun activities aboard, such as keeping the demon dampness, which is endemic to the Tropics, from becoming too established in the corners of the boat, and in clothing, books and other potentially mildewy spots. The whole boat needs constant attention in keeping the elements at bay. It's not all glamor! The pool is mercifully close by, just above the first set of village condos behind us here at the Marina. Above there the village style condos go up another few rows to the top of the hill, where you can see over the other side into Red Hook Harbor, where the village center is, and you can see over that Harbor's hills to the Atlantic beyond, where St. Croix lies 40 miles away. This spot, called Sapphire Village/Beach Resort and Marina has much to recommend it, now that I have seen the pool and poolside grill, and walked to the top and more of the lush vegetation found higher up the hill. It is beyond my ability not to appreciate the landside accoutrements, but we are both mindful of continuing to earn our freedom chips and to take our excursions to nearby places. We will certainly have to reach beyond the Virgin Islands soon but there are so many discoveries awaiting us here, within a few days of travel, that longer voyages right now seem unecessary. I intend to get my Captain's liscence with Bob's coaching, since he has just secured his diploma for passing the test while I was away. One thing I have realized is that there is such a need to be realistic about what one brings on board. More than what is necessary is just a burden. This is a lesson which I am getting most eloquently from myself now, since I did not give it due consideration from others warning us, and Bob's reminding me. You don't need to have everything on board; you can make do with samplings. More food only spoils, more items to store only have to be kept clean and mold free. More parts for the boat, carefully stowed, make sense. That is how I will gradually fit myself back into the boat. While on shore, one can expand and experience the luxury of growing; on a boat you have the other joy--of minimizing, contracting yourself into the essentials, the constriction that allows you to exhale the excess from out of your boat's body. We are breathing a new, and a welcome, kind of life.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
After having returned back to St. Thomas yesterday from five weeks in Maine, staying with my Mom after my Dad died in January, I have been acclimating to life here. From blizzards to balmy weather, with the corresponding emotional upheavals, it has been a memorable transition. The first acclimation to being here was after a baptism by water; our Bermuda passage was so far beyond my expectations that I switched into endurance mode. Accomodating to here, from that Nantucket sleighride, was a simpler matter, having made the boat my home away from home. Going back to land, to baths and real beds in bedrooms and doors with locks and cars and trucks and all that I could want to ddrive to at my disposal, and movies, it was like going back to a regular existence, even with the constant state of snow. Coming here, I thought it would take a longer time. It hasn't. It has just taken sleep and swimming and sunning and socializing. It is easy to enjoy being back. For just a day, it felt as though I was returning to a vacation existence. Today, after sleep and time with Bob and relaxing and enjoying the weather and our new situation at a slip at a Resort Marina, I have let myself enjoy the idea that I could be peaceful here. I can settle into the rewards of a life of ease and loveliness, at least for a time, while it is possible. I have a table where I am typing, under a canopy by a pool, and nearby is a turtledove cooing and ambling around. There are geckos and iguanas in the trees, and people have dogs on their boats--one boat even has a pet white heron that comes in for fish. People are pleasant, warm and courteous. Bob has made great new friends on board the other boats. He goes to the grill that is next to the pool, where people come to sit, drink, play poker some nights, watch TV and read. There are some glamorous types of boats too, for instance a gorgeous boat owned by the CEO of Lowes that is a client of Bob's (he works for a yacht broker/manager, which is why we get a company truck and free slip). Mostly the people seem very delightful, and come from many places, usually the States It could not be more relaxing. This blissful day is a marked contrast to my extreme difficulty leaving Maine, and my Mom behind, while she endures blizzards and I am poolside and content. I have encouraged her to come, maybe someday she will be open to it. For now, she has her liife and she just wants to stick to it there. I can stay in close touch, that will work better. My kids are homesteading nearby and the newness of that is mixed in with valuable experiences in self-reliance. I am there for them better if I am here. They will be happier knowing that I am being busy being me. It will be a new time, a unique chance. While I am not content to be a Marina Queen I do intend to make the most of this general state of bucolic existence.