Friday, January 16, 2009

"Another day another dollar" -Patrick

After 13 hours of flying and airports (thank you, Travelocity for the cheapest most conceivably indirect flights) Patrick and I made it to Ft. Lauderdale. Our Bon Voyage party the night before was, let’s just say, successful. With only 3 hours of sleep, excruciating headaches, and bouts of vomiting, Patrick and I suffered even more under the crushing weight of about 250 lbs of luggage. Of course, double the fun, we get “randomly selected” for extra screening going through security. All of our luggage was searched, half of our food was confiscated (even in my feeble state, I was able make a few good jabs at TSA, like “we were going to feed the homeless with that, but I guess it would be better for everyone’s safety if no one ate it and we threw it away.” Patrick was most upset when a petulant woman rifled through his underwear in front of everyone.)       

 We are staying in a rather uninhabited, unkempt area of south Florida. The only real perk of the area --besides the 50+ feral cats that I swear hunt lonely beach walkers at night-- is the beach itself, which is probably only 30 steps away from our hotel. I have never really been to a beach before, so day one consisted of me disproving various ocean-myths that I have ignorantly developed beliefs in over the course of my landlocked life: the waves, even in ankle deep water, have a fatal sucking force, sand crabs can materialize spontaneously and pinch your toes, etc.

Patrick and I spend our time lounging in the sand and reading our sailing textbooks. I never imagined that I would of my own volition spend an afternoon reading about diesel engines. Fortunately, I am learning other more interesting things. For example, even with recent technological innovation, navigation has remained relatively unchanged. Parallel rulers and a compass are all you really need, and they are what sailors have been using for more than a century. Real sailors, apparently, don’t trust the latest gadgets to do more accurately or reliably what they can do perfectly well themselves with a chart, two hands and a little math. Things like GPS are really there for the indolent, inexperienced, or perpetually anxious. In one book we’ve been reading, Voyaging on a Small Budget the author writes that safety cannot be bought, it is an attitude of mind. We could have the most advanced GPS and satellite phone and still find ourselves in a constant state of anxiety, or worse, in actual danger. In other words, taking meticulous care to be educated and prepared and keeping our boat in high-functioning order is much better than having a satellite phone to call someone to get us out of trouble. Prevention is better than remedy.

I am also adjusting to the simple, non-consuming life. I can’t believe how conditioned I am to buy something because it is on sale, or just cheap in general. You know, like, a breakfast burrito for 1.25$ or 2 flip flops for 5$, I have to force myself not to impulsively buy things because they seem like such a deal or because I’m simply bored and it seems like something to do.  I truly desire the sort of contentedness that comes from the complete elimination of the consuming mentality. I long for a day in which it never once occurs to me what I might buy in order look, feel, seem or be more ______ than I was the day before.

Brief update on Patrick: his pale, Irish skin is perpetually sunburned and he has developed a perfect little outline of freckles around his lips for the combined effect of a pinkish, lip-linered appearance.



  1. 13 hours to Ft. Lauderdale? How ridiculous is that. Love the pictures. I know those people in the first one, pretty cool kids. I'm glad you 'Mythbustered' your ocean myths. And Patrick, looking dead sexy in that last picture. Waiting with baited breath for more updates.

  2. Alaina, love, I did the exact same thing! My friends had to convince me there was no real cause to be frightened of falling into whirlpools/oil spills/ sections of the ocean floor occupied by carnivorous beasts and/or broken glass...

    Haha! Pat, I hope you can break your skin in before you leave, I burn heare in like 12.17 seconds since it's so close to the equator- and I don't burn much/often.

    love you both! good luck in sailing school!

  3. It was great seeing you guys before you left... I look forward to reading about your adventures ;)

    p.s. do you have a pic of me, misa, and you two from forest rm 5??

  4. seems a very hot winter,hahahaha~~~~