The last two weeks have been steady as we sorted out the few problems areas we had and talked about where we might go next. Still no decision on that yet and we probably won't decide until we get there; one way of placating folks who worry we might be overdue...
With this quiet time there has also been the opportunity to think about some of the things we've come across and some of the questions we often asked. Not surprisingly the same or similar questions arise no matter where we are. Well I should qualify that as we've spent the last 4 or 5 years over this side of the water so the questions possibly reflect "national" concerns.
Health: So many folks ask what we do we do about health insurance...the simple answer is nothing. We lead a fairly healthy life-style and rarely get sick. If we do then we'll deal with it then. I'm not sure it's healthy to lead your life expecting the worst to happen, spending huge sums of money in the hope you never have to use it (insurance) or postponing retirement because a reduction in income will mean you're unable to live the consumer orientated life you've become accustomed to. Does it matter? Will those last few moments of consciousness be spent fondly remembering the huge plasma screen and surround sound you bought on credit back in nineteen nought blonk. (and the disappointment when you realised that a huge tv with mega pixels or whatever they are doesn't actually improve the quality of the programme only the picture) Life is short - get out there and live it. We have seen so many folks quoting and agreeing with Sterling Hayden whilst being unable to motivate themselves enough to take the first step. Of course not everybody wants to get out there and live this sort of life but if you do, if the thought crosses your mind and you wonder......
Incidentally this link will take you to background stuff about the man.
Drugs: To be honest drugs are not something we're concerned or even interested in so when we read of drug barons, epidemics and worse it sort of washes over us, rightly or wrongly. But we were once anchored in an idyllic part of the world. The anchorage offered good protection, the houses surrounding the "harbour" looked neat and well cared for. The sun shone over a backdrop of mountains and glistening water and it felt a great place to be. But then we learned of the drugs that had affected so many folks here and in other parts of this area, the devastation they were causing, families breaking up, businesses ruined and we were at a loss.....How could this be? How could something we sort of associated with inner cities and deprivation be so commonplace in a community that had around 1000 inhabitants, had employment and a reasonable standard of living; in short the aspirations of many small communities around the world? We have no idea but I do know we sat on Hannah that evening and looked around the harbour with enormous sadness. Something felt changed, perhaps the "world" had caught up with us?
Pirates. This is asked so many times by folks in this country and is, perhaps, indicative of the "everybody hates us " mentality that exists. No we have never met any pirates although I sometimes glibly reply that "we did once but they were running a marina in Florida...". It came to mind the other week when someone I had just met, hesitatingly said "I shouldn't probably ask this but have you ever met etc" A few days later I came across a blog and was really impressed with the guys response to an alarmist report published by Noonsite, a cruising website. Sure pirates exist but not as much as some fevered imaginations would have you believe. Sailing at night can be alarming, particularly when you're among fishing boats but there are reactions and there is stupidity. Read the article by David here. There is also a link within the article to the original report. And we won't even get into the nonsense of cruising boats carrying weapons.
On a less fevered note the rice and raisin wine we started 14 days or so ago had reached the point where it needed to be racked off. It had sat gently fermenting in a plastic barrel, stirred once a day for a fortnight and then poured into another container (in our case our cool box aka wood store/bottle store/footrest), and the raisins etc pressed to get as much juice as possible out. The original is then cleaned out and the liquid all poured back in to begin clearing before consumption can begin early next year. The beetroot takes longer, possibly 3 or 4 months to become dry enough to be enjoyable. By which time we hope to be somewhere where rum is cheap.
Lastly. In an effort to combat the belief that this life can only be done in a large, expensive boat I'd urge you to take a look at the following blogs.
Roger Taylor Sails a junk rigged Corribee . He once sailed single-handed to Greenland only to break a rib before he completed his outward leg. He turned around and sailed back to the UK. His journey's rarely, if ever, involve landing on a foreign shore.....but he has a wealth of experience.
Sumara of Falmouth. A 25' Vertue and recent recipient of the Tilman Medal for a journey to the Jan Mayen Islands and subsequent mountain climb. Well written and funny.
Speedwell of Hong Kong. The only one of this "group" we have met, Shirley singlehands a junk -rigged Vertue. We met her about 5 years ago prior to her crossing to Brazil from the Canaries where, by and large, she has been ever since. A remarkable woman and her cat Sinbad keep an entertaining blog as part of their website and make us want to go to Brazil!
Eileen of Avoca - he of the pirate reply I wrote about a few paragraphs ago. David sails a 23' Yarmouth Gaff cutter, a neat looking boat. I'm still catching up with his blog so can tell you little about him. Go read all of these folks and if you're still thinking about that 45 footer.....consider this. It isn't that long ago that folks sailed these sort of boats round the world, they were the norm. The advent of roller furling and electric winches "enable" 2 people to handle very large boats without the need of additional crew but at huge cost but not necessarily more fun.