Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy New Year 2009!

Wow, it's already the middle of January! Happy New Year!

I can't believe it - in a few days Barack Obama will be President with all the hope that brings. He's got a tough row to hoe, but he's picking a cabinet of people who are as smart or smarter than he is whether he agrees with them or not. That is the mark of a true leader - he knows he doesn't know everything but he employes those who do know to advise him. That's quite a change from the last eight years.

That's it for my political statement.

Ok, the country is in the middle of a blast of cold - the last couple of days have not gotten out of the low teens and the nights have been in the single digits. That makes living on a boat a challenge. It becomes difficult staying warm, I must say, even with the heaters running.

My original plan was to prepare the boat to travel to England by travelling up the coast and visiting Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland for the winter, and then on to Ireland and England. I find that I am not that enamored of the cold. So I do believe there's a change in plan.

I'll be heading south for the winter. Since visiting the Bahamas this summer I have become enthralled in the possibilities. I've also seen some wonderful places on the Intracoastal Waterway where I could very easily spend days ore even weeks exploring. And then there are the Bahamas!

The plan after that is to start north in the spring, stop at Bermuda for a bit, head on over to the U.S. and travel to Maine and then hop off to England directly. Some 30 days later or so arriving there or Ireland and after that England. I'd love to explore the Baltic countries. But who knows? Life is what happens when you're making other plans.

There is a point here, no matter how veiled. Plans change. My cousin has expressed a great interest in doing the 'Great Loop' in his boat. His wife is not interested. So that may be an interruption in the trip to England as well. It's too bad there aren't two of me. Ok, maybe not.

As the time draws near, though, I am more frantic - there are so many things to do that it seems insurmountable. I have to install my HAM radio and get my license. I have to decide to inspect my liferaft or purchase a new one, I have to install tiedowns and new grabrails, get my HAM General License with the Mobile Marine designation. Prepare first aid kits, stow everything in an orderly manner, refurbish and install the watermaker, purchase and install solar panels and shaft generator, install a washdown pump. Also, I need to haul the boat, service her, install the hailer and digital TV antenna, check all the rigging, take care of the teak, and fix whatever breaks. As Charlie Brown put it, "Yaaahhhh!"

And those are just the big projects....

Still, there has to be time for fun. This whole project must be fun. It has been and continues to be argued that man is not meant to be happy. I think that's pure hooie. We are not meant to be happy all the time, surely, as that indicates a mental deficiency, but overall we can live happy lives and we can enjoy life without hurting others. Happiness comes in many forms. The pursuit of happiness can be accomplished without destroying the planet. The big question, however, is whether we are capable of performing such a feat. I sincerely hope so but am not sanguine.

Wow! The new year certainly gets me waxing philosophically!

With the circulators running in the marina, you could almost believe you're at anchor with the waves lapping gently at the hull. I am so hopeful of this summer's activities. In the cold and dark of living below a Fairclough cover in winter hope for warmth and sun and swimming and sailing and cookouts and exploring and lazy days at anchor and exciting days under sail and clear nights under the stars and sailing under the full moon and safe harbor in a thunderstorm and cool showers on hot days and fishing and fresh mussels, clams and oysters and all those times with friends or alone grows like a sprout from a seed in a little plastic pot that you keep on the window sill and sometimes forget to water but then do and feel bad about it because you did forget but then forgive yourself because you know the little plant doesn't hold grudges as it just wanted a little water to be happy.

Be well, keep warm, and we'll all be on the water soon! See you there.