Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Following crazy

It has been a bit interesting in these parts. The wind, as a friend of ours put it, “has been blowing the oysters off the rocks”... for the last four days. This is the third bout of this kind of wind we have had since getting to the islands. We sat out such a blow in West End, bailed out of Fox Town and rode the wind to Manjack Cay, bailed out of Manjack to hide in Green Turtle, and have now been holed up in Treasure Cay for the better part of a week. With a deadline to be back in the States for visits and work, we are starting to plot the routes to get us there in the brief weather windows it appears Mother Earth is going to offer this year. We are “holed up” in some of the prettiest places around so the weather is just something to plan around.

And to be fair, I should note that it would be entirely possible to move on if we wished. Today, while every single cruiser boat in the mooring field stayed put, three different charter cats motored in from the rumpled up waters of the Abaco sea. Admittedly they were big cats, two of them measuring 52 feet, the other just slightly shorter. A check of company's web sight showed a price tag of about $15,000 / week per boat; so I completely understand their crew's desire to make the most of their time here in the Islands. I will also state, in defense of us weenie cruiser types, that we are headed the other way, and that the cats sailed off the wind and on a following sea to get from their charter base to here. (I will not understand if they head out to take on the Whale in the morning. Even in a 50 foot cat that would be an ugly ride. But who knows? If they do go they will get an “adventure story” to take home when vacation is over.)

In any case, even though we need to get where we need to be, we will simply have to make plans based on the beating we are willing to take in accordance with what the wind and the weather are actually doing; in other words, accept the world for what it is, not insist that it is what we want it to be. Which, if the stories I hear about land dwellers are true, may be a dying skill. More and more people are insisting that the world is what they claim, even if there is considerable evidence to the contrary.

People who do that are, to me, at least a tiny bit insane. I'm not sure how they get that way. It isn't like one can stand out in 30 knot winds, boat bouncing around, hair (if one has some – which I don't) flying about, sheets flapping, waves streaked with white, and say, “I don't believe the wind is blowing, it is a nice, calm day.” Well, I guess one could, but any thinking person standing next to them would likely mumble something neutral while offering a “What is wrong with you?” look.
And if the crazy one decides that such a nice day is a good day for rolling out all of the sails for some reason, everyone in the anchorage (especially those down wind) are going to know there is a lunatic among them. Heads would shake, perhaps some comments would get traded on the VHF, and surely someone would post a picture of the madness on Facebook or make a comment on Twitter. (That is how Twitter works, right?)

Should that one then decide to go some place, manage to get out of the bay in one piece, and heads off into the elephants dancing on the horizon, no one in the anchorage is going to say to themselves, “Hey the wind really isn't blowing, I think I'll follow along.” After all, the ocean is a bit Darwinian in that way. The crazy, and those who follow the crazy, usually end up sharing the same, sad, fate.

In my experience the cruising tribe isn't big on crazy. Different? Sure. We live a different kind of life than most. Odd? Perhaps. But what counts for “normal”, long work weeks to earn enough money to finance stuff not really needed and not often used, doesn't seem to strike most of the tribe as attractive. Wanderers? Maybe. But the earth is a tiny speck of dust in a massive cosmos. In reality none of us ever gets too far away from “home.” Seeing some of what there is to see, learning something about ourselves, and getting to know others who share this little speck floating in the void, seems like a pretty fair deal. We also get a chance to experience a bit of that massive cosmos, feel a brush of the magic, and learn what the word “awe”really means. No cruiser I have ever known or heard about thinks that the time they spent on the water made them less of a person, diminished them in some way, or shrunk the size of their heart or spirit.

But ignoring what the world is really doing, pretending it is something it isn't? No, not our thing. We are also not big on following. Almost by definition a cruiser is someone who has gone off on their own way.

And following crazy? That is definitely not our thing.