Thursday, November 29, 2018

Unexpected turns…

Deb's post explains what happened. Kintala will soon be for sale and we are land bound. Really, really land bound. St. Louis is about as far from big water as is possible to be. Our cruising life has hit a bit of an impasse and some very hard decisions had to be made.

Those who know me know that selling the boat isn't much of an issue. Kintala has been our home for a while now, a part of our adventures, and served us well. With much effort we have transformed her into a good and dependable tool for living the life we wanted to live. I expect a good whack of depression when stepping off her decks for the last time. Not from stepping off the boat, but from stepping away from the life - even if just for while - that we worked so hard to build. My Grandfather once told me, "Never cry over anything that can't cry over you." There will be other boats.

I'm still coming to terms with the idea that we would do such a thing but, quite frankly, this opportunity came at the exact right time for us to manage some changes that need to be made. Kintala has been a good boat. Just shy of being an outright racing boat, she did the job of teaching us to sail well rather than just well enough. Being neglected for part of her life and needing a ton of work, she also did the job of teaching us how to keep a sailing boat going, mile after mile, year after year, adventure after adventure. In that light she was likely the perfect boat to get us going. But she was never the right boat. Now we can get her sold without facing financial ruin if she sells slow, piling up the storage fees. We will have a place to live while working though the selling process, and a steady income to cover the (un)expected boat costs sure to raise their hoary heads over the next few months.

Realizing that replacing Kintala would be fundamental if we were to continue cruising happily along was one reason to do this. Another reason, as Deb explained, is that we are just about out of working cash to keep going. Ideas and efforts to "pay as you play" were not promising. I didn't much enjoy being parked at a dock while working full time. It might have been different if the boat yard had been less isolated or we had owned a car. But it was a hard time for me, not at all what I imagined my life would be like when we left to go "cruising." I'm not sure I would have managed it at all except that Daughter Eldest and Family joined us, ending up on their own boat. That we have to leave them is the only real down side to this opportunity,  and it was nearly enough to have me take a pass. Every life gathers a few moments that are impossibly tough, the kind that leave an actual hurt where your heart usually resides. Leaving Blowin' In The Wind in our wake was one of those moments for me.

This foray back to shore will be different from when we lived there before because we are different people than we were when we left. Happy minimalists now, just the idea of a life weighed down with stuff makes us shudder. Also, living on a boat is just a very small step from living outdoors. I fear having sunrises and sunsets hidden behind walls of concrete, with the night sky whitewashed by the city's glow and the moon barely visible, will chafe at my heart. I know that memories of nights spent at anchor in the Islands will haunt the dark hours when the noises of the city drum against the windows and sleep is hard to find. Memories of clear water and dolphins at play will intrude while sitting in the break room or preparing for another classroom hour. They will be good memories holding the promise of times yet to unfold. But they will also cause a twinge somewhere really, really deep, a moment of regret that we are away from the endlessly restless water that has become so much a part of our everyday life.

So we are looking to live as simply and lightly as possible, something we have never done while living on land. Transportation needs will be met as modestly and cost effectively as possible. A long commute has limited appeal, and the only living space that is green and outside of city / suburban living is many, many miles away from a job sight located just across the street from the International Airport. Which is the first reason for choosing to live in the city.

Another reason for looking to live deep in the heart of a major metropolis area is that, oddly enough, is has its minimalist benefits. Suburban living offers little in the way of small, efficient, boat like living spaces. We are already looking at an apartment that has just about the same square footage living area that is Kintala. Provisioning (grocery shopping as they call it on land) is within easy walking distance, as are eateries (for when Deb is away), a world class public library, and other interesting places to explore. There is no West Marine nearby but, for a change, that will not be an issue.

St. Louis is good about maintaining green, common spaces. There are well maintained parks everywhere one walks, and the Gateway National Park is just a few blocks away. At least we have a river near by, one we can visit pretty much whenever we like. The apartment complex includes its own common spaces, one being a large gym. That is something I have missed while living on the boat. We walk a lot as cruisers are wont to do, but the lifestyle is not as inherently healthy as we thought it would be. Even with a full time job there will be hours available to get my resting heart beat back to where it should be, build up a little stamina, and maybe shed a few sloppy pounds.

Another good reason for living in the city is that we have never lived that life before. Why not try something completely different? The hope is looking at this as a whole new adventure will take some of the sting out of leaving the boat. The fact that two Daughters and seven grand kids live in St. Louis helps, as one can imagine.

There is some question as to just how we can pull this off, having been as deep into, and as much an enthusiast of, the alternative, independent, nearly self-sufficient and mobile life style that is cruising. I am curious about that myself. In my perfect world I would be collecting a nice pile of doubloons for teaching sailors how to warp onto and off of a dock, set a sail, and navigate from hither to yon without crunching into Mother Earth.

In the real world, however, the only way these kinds of dollars come my way is for teaching younger pilots (and reviewing with already highly experienced pilots) how to program some odd ball holding pattern into the FMS, fly a night approach to minimums in ugly weather short an engine and with half the instrument panel dark, and navigate from hither to yon without crunching into Mother Earth. All skills I spent nearly 50 years getting right, and now have a chance to share with the next generation of professional aviators. No small thing, that. This is an important gig, with a ton of responsibility, working with people who take their work seriously. Given that the need to collect a paycheck has become painfully unavoidable, there is no other job I would rather be doing, no other place I would rather be doing it, and no other group of people I would rather be doing it with.


none said...

Sometimes you head for Safe Harbor. Please keep posting!

TJ said...

That is the plan Neal. I suspect there will be some interesting moments ahead; some funny, some a bit sad, and some unexpectedly good. I've actually been away from the boat for several weeks. We didn't want to put this post up until the job was a sure thing. For now getting back up to speed with the aviation world is keeping me pretty busy, and I am couch surfing with Daughters Middle and Youngest until we get the apartment thing worked out. So time not spent studying ICAO flight plans, all glass cockpits integrated with full fly-by-wire / auto-throttle flight control systems, specifications for the aircraft I'll be teaching, and a dozen other subjects that need the rust knocked away, is spent with grandkids (7), including the newest. Being busy helps keep the mind from wandering back to life on the water, and the truth is I haven't really gotten to the real busy part yet. I am, well and truly, looking forward to the challenge; and that helps also.

Allan S said...

Best of luck in your new life. Feeling both sad and glad for you.


TJ said...

Thanks Allan. In a life filled with difficult decisions this one ranks right up there. Deb and I are both convinced that it was the right thing to do, both to handle our current set of circumstances and to put us in the best position to have the future unfold is a way we would like. But know one knows how things will actually unfold. As Hunter S. Thompson put it, "Buy the ticket, take the ride..."

Unknown said...

Sorry to hear you guys are swallowing the anchor. We will miss you out here. Best wishes with your next adventure!!

Deb said...

Just temporary Tricia. Saving up the money for our next boat. Got any suggestions?