Cruisers often remind others that “cruising” changes you. It’s difficult to see how oneself has changed but my experience has brought to light some personal thoughts about me and about W/’s and my relationship.
First is trust. To successfully cruise as a couple you must trust each other. I’ve known cruising couples that one individual (usually the male) stays in the cockpit 24/7. He feels the need to be there and ready all the time. IMHO that might well lead to exhaustion which in turn leads to poor decision making. I trust W/ which means I can leave her clipped in the cockpit so that I am able to get some rest. And Visa – Versa. She trusts that I will not leave the cockpit to do anything on deck without her awake and ready to provide some assistance. She’s then able to find rest.
But trust sometimes goes farther than just sailing the boat. Many, many years ago while we were on our first long cruise and in the Bahamas, W/ had long hair. I mean quite long, down to the middle of her back. She loved her long hair. But we were on a year testing out how cruising was
working out, trying to cruise on $10/ day and so luxuries like salons were off the table. She was ready for me to cut her hair. I was instructed to take; if my memory is correct, about 2″ off the end. About is the key word here. I measured twice as instructed by my betters and cut once. Measurements say I took 1.9978″ off and she… went …ballistic. She does not go ballistic like I do. Words do not spew forth from an over active brain. Tears flow from eyes like water over Niagara. That may be an over exaggeration but needless to say, some tears did make it down her face and I was Never allowed to touch her hair again! Never! Never!
Well, Penhryn has changed our relationship in that sense. Here there are no restaurants, only a few places to purchase some food, and definitely NO HAIR SALONS! For the most part on this cruise she’s been keeping her hair much shorter than when in the past and here after a few months and no one else to trim her hair she was getting desperate. She didn’t feel that she could cut it, people on the island – all the women have long hair, and yet she still remembered her past experience with me as a stylist and she equivocated a great deal in deciding what to do. After great moments of consternation, hand wringing, bargaining with me she decided to try me….again as a stylist .
So I set about listening to her instructions and cautiously began to clip away. To cut the best of my ability; I swear I did. I could trim and shorten, but I don’t know how to layer or thin. I didn’t want to just try either of those techniques on her remembering all too well my last experience but I was able to shorten it somewhat. Low and behold there were no tears, no recriminations, no raised voices. She was almost; I say almost satisfied. After washing and a trip to shore I was amazed that no one turned away from her new style, a couple people actually noticed and when she informed them that I cut her hair they indicated I did a “good” job. Trust. A new bond has formed.
My second observation is that I could wish to be famous. While teaching was in of itself minor fame, kids watched me and I wished for them to imitate me in many ways; mostly scientifically or technologically, I have discovered that I don’t like someone really following me around and imitating me. When someone looks over my shoulder too closely I get the hebegeebies. I can understand how Princess Di ran from the paparazzi. I would too. I would also be likely to break a nose, be rude, throw things at them (maybe I wouldn’t like being a primate in a zoo either 🙂 ), and do what ever I could to distance myself from them. But famous people just have that gravity that draws people towards them. Glad I’m not famous. I am finding I love anonymity more and more.
Too, I could never have lived 100 years ago. I’ve often said that I was born too late. Well, I lied. Living without what I know we have is not an easy thing. Penhryn doesn’t have much in the way of “The Land of Instant Everything”; the US has. They do have great / friendly / kind people. They do have comfortable homes and a relatively stress free life style. If they order something from Amazon it takes up to 6 months to get it. Parts for home or boat can take up to 3 months and most everything here will end up costing twice what you in the states would pay for it. Sometimes more than that. Dental care is not an hour away but months away. However health care is less than an hour away but specialized care is a plane flight away. While I could have survived living a 100 years ago and as a friend of mine had often said “you don’t know what you don’t know”, I can honestly say I’m glad to be living in the 21st century and glad that at times I can visit my home country; the land of instant everything.
And last; I couldn’t be an astronaut. Oh, traveling to space would be fun and even a few days I could handle. But while spending 9 days at the motu on the N end of Penhryn we were mostly trapped in the boat. One day I was off the boat but other than that our lives were contained in roughly 42′ of living space. Exercise is difficult. There is no tennis, no jogging, no walking. We’ve started doing some pushups and squats. Soon I might add leg lifts to assist in keeping my core strong. I’ve read so much so often that many times I just have to put down the book and “rest my eyes”. I’ve played Chess, Bejeweled, Spite and Malice, so much on the iPad that I’m actually getting a little tired of them. W/ and I have put together almost a puzzle a day; again on the iPad. We’ve completed a couple of smallish boat projects but with the wind gusting to 30 kts and squalls coming out of the west setting us too close to shore we’ve not been able to do much in taking the boat apart to complete a project. So we wait, just like the astronauts. We work a bit, and rest a lot. No; if they want someone to join the expedition to Mars, someone that is able to live in a small space for extended periods of time, someone who can live with others in a confined space and not “kill” them, someone who has Mission control looking over their shoulder all the time – It’s not going to me. I will NOT apply. At least on the boat I can get out and walk around the deck. Sometimes I can sit in the cockpit and read there. On a spacecraft there is no strolling around outside, no sitting in the cockpit staring at the stars or watching the Sunset. There just is. Nope, Uhn, Uhn, not for me I’ll pass. I will just keep cruising, heading west, slowly, W/ and I; with no one looking over my shoulder, trusting my partner, and seeking all that life has to offer.