A Travellerspoint blog

Still in Marathon #2

The logbook quote for this blog entry is: I love to sail on forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts, Herman Melville, Moby Dick. Great quote but a little intimidating for rookies and it sounds a little like someone searching for merit badges for which we have no need or any interest. The Bahamas are reported to be pretty tame and there have not been any confirmed barbarian sightings there since Conan moved to Sacramento.

Having seen pictures and heard reports of snow and freezing cold from one end of NC to the other, I should not complain, but I will anyway. Yesterday it got down to 48 degrees and was in the low 60's during the day. Oh, horrors! What ever shall we do? On the other hand, Carol's insistence that we carry the sleeping bags and keep them even after I wanted to mail them home has been good; last night was a sleeping bag night, not to get into it, rather opening it up and using it as a blanket. The sleeping bags are goose down and I had imagined that in this humid atmosphere that they would have lost most of their warming loft. They may in fact have less loft, but this is not the Arctic, so they did OK. It is strange, though, in the early morning to be able to see your breath condensing in the cabin. Today will be the end all that for at least a week and it's back to gin and tonics before supper while watching the setting sun.

Regarding gin .... drinking seems to be a major component of sailboating's cultural mystique and I'm not sure that we've been doing enough to become members of the club. There is one person with whom we've visited and see around the marina that I have never seen without a glass of rum and coke in his hand ..... ever, even while driving his dingy. The books report that buying bottled liquor in the Bahamas costs less than buying cokes and beer and, probably, not too much more than buying water and diesel fuel. Maybe drinking a lot is a cost effective way of maintaining body hydration levels over there. Now, if there were only a way to get around that liver thing.

A phrase that has stuck in my mind from somewhere is: conservation society. It probably came from the recent 2-year long campaign season and sounds like a functional, but aspirational, oxymoron in a society where 2/3's of GDP comes from consumer spending. It does have a certain resonance on the boat though. It is pretty much the case that space limits the ability to acquire stuff in general and non-boat specific stuff in particular. We have come up with a sort of an axiom: the boat comes first, whether the resource at issue is time, money or space. There is always a place somewhere, somehow to store more motor oil or another cruising guide; it's the gold sequined, open-toed high heels that seem questionable, at least to a guy. All that being said, we now have a lot more stuff on the boat than when we left Oriental including the 5th anchor which we don't need and, now, the replacement hose for the engine cooling system as well as the spare parts for the O/B motor.

It is amazing how much solid waste we generate most of which comes from the packaging for food and drink. Coke cans, occasionally a Coors can and water bottles account for a lot of the bulk. It's hard to buy anything, from flags to flashlights, that does not come in a blister pack; these eat up tons of space. Disposal at a marina is not a problem; they all have dumpsters. And, most marinas have the facility to handle all of the by products from oil changes. In the out islands of the Bahamas disposal will almost certainly be a problem; we'll probably have to keep everything on board until we return to a populated port location.

An amazing truth will herein be revealed and blog readers should remember that they read it here first, before it hit the front page of the NY Times or the supermarket racks of the National Enquirer. Our small piece of fiberglass flotsam has an aspect which transcends even Roswell, NM or Area 51 for X-files eeriness: we have a black hole on board, and a unique one at that. In the far reaches of the universe the mass and the gravity of all other black holes dictate that they only pull things into themselves; ours, on occasion, also yields its treasure. We thought that we had been misplacing or losing small items such as flashlights and metal rules. The Eureka moment came the black hole simultaneously gave up both my wallet, claimed by gravity, not the sea as first thought, in Morehead City, and Carol's lost storm boot, the biggest item yet taken and physically too big too have been lost on such a small boat. The return of the wallet did us no good; Carol never lets me have any money and all the accounts and credit cards had long since been changed. Finding Carol's boot was good; she stayed warm and dry in a rain storm. One wonders if this black hole is sentient and can be propitiated; there are no virgins nearby that we can sacrifice but we might be able to gin up a Barbie doll. Maybe we could barter; I'm still missing a really good LED flashlight that I would give a lot to have back.

It's interesting how attuned to the boat we have become in the past two months. The boat has all sorts of noises not heard in a house or car; it also moves around a lot, but in predictable ways. We both notice when the boat "does something new." We have learned the hard way that any new sound should never, ever be ignored; there is almost always a penalty for having done so.

The single most frequent recreational activity on board is, of course, reading. Others might drink, but we read; P1230084.jpg Carol spends more time at it than do I, but we both do it a lot. It is, after all, an activity suited to small, confined spaces, i.e. our boat. With all the need to be frugal with space, books are not generally part of that discipline P1230083.jpg as my side of the V-berth shows. The good news is that we read, seemingly a dying art in today's world of text messages and Facebook postings. The bad news is what we read: mind candy with no nutritional value which may, in fact, be hazardous to mental health. Ludlum and Clancey are great; lots of absorbing pages with no particular point except to divert the mind. We actually do have some "good" books in the library. I have intended for years to read Faust, von Goethe, and have it on board. My mind, however, simply rebels at reading 400 pages in poetic meter; it took me until 2 years ago to read the Aeneid despite having read the Iliad and the Odyssey many times. It's that poetry thing. Carol similarly has a couple of aspirational books. The thing that feeds the mind candy habit is that many marinas have libraries where you swap books, taking one and leaving one. There are also used book stores galore and, here in Marathon, a Salvation Army Thrift Store that has even more of the same. I suppose in the islands there will be informal book swaps. When everything else has been read, desperation may drive me to von Goethe; until then more thrillers.

Posted by sailziveli 04:16

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Good luck with the black hole and the lyrical writings of one of Germany's reknowned writers.

Did you get the wind generator yet?

by dfry0

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