Tuesday, June 24, 2008

37. Growing Roots

We have been anchored at Caye Caulker since the 15th. So long that I'm beginning to think that the boat has a way of growing roots or sucking us into some sort of vortex. We've tried to leave. A couple of time actually. We sailed up to Ambergris on the 18th to check out of the country on the 19th. I guess that makes us illegal aliens until we do actually leave Belizian waters. We attempted an exit on the 21st. Capt Jim and I pulled up the anchor at 5:30am, got just past the tip of North Caye Caulker, had the wind right on our nose and decided to save it for another day. Since then we've been following tropical wave and tropical wave with winds from the North. We need to head North and can't sail into the wind. So, we are still on Caye Caulker.

Fortunately, we like it here. It's a laid back, irie kind of island, with sandy streets and palm trees. It's a backpackers paradise with lots of European travlers. It's not the best place for the ego though. Nothing like mid-20 Nordic ice princesses to make you feel old, frumpy and just plain brunette. Did I mention old? God they look so young. Did I look that young traipsing around Spain and Portugal at 26? Anyway, there are a number of recommended restaurants, grocery stores and internet cafes. We even found a bar with free wi-fi with purchase. Is it bad to be drinking dark rum and Coke Light at 11am. I suppose I could have had a bloody mary, but vodka in Belize just doesn't feel right.

I think we've adjusted to boat life. Adjusted as well as you can to living in a space that takes literally 8 steps to get from one end of the cabin to the other. This definitely isn't like that Estee Lauder commercial. You know the one with Gwenyth looking ethereal in white with her hair swept back, wearing tasteful gold jewelry on the massive sailing yacht? That's not me. At all. Granted, I'm not smelly. I mean, we do take baths every night - salt water baths with a fresh water rinse on the swim platform. Sure, it's really hard to get a good shampoo with salt water, but I'm not smelly, just not very girly.

The boat is constantly moving, which means I'm even clumsier than usual, always bumping my head and tripping over myself. And because you're constantly compensating for the motion, doing nothing can be exhausting. Sleeping is a mixed bag. We don't sleep well the first night at a new anchorage. We're all up throughout the night, checking to see if the anchor has drug. The next night is usually better. The salon couch untucks into a double bed. That's where I'm sleeping, which mean the bed has to be made at night and put away in the morning. It also means that I wake up when the boys do. Fortunately, afternoon (and sometimes late morning) naps are also part of the routine. The Mr took this shot of the boat on the Rio Dulce in Guatemala.

I have a callous under the middle finger of my left hand. From knitting? Nope; it's almost too hot for knitting. From hoisting sails and line handling? No; not too much sailing going on. From hanging on for dear life? Maybe. but I think it's from the head. From pumping the head (the toilet). Charming, I know. You just don't appreciate a flush toilet until you don't have one...

It's not all bad though. Life on the boat is leisurely. Nothing happens quickly. We don't sail fast, we don't walk fast, and we obviously aren't heading North fast. There are definitely simple pleasures on board: strong morning coffee, a cold Coke Light in the afternoon, a fresh pot of pinto beans (40 minutes in the pressure cookers), finding flour tortillas to go with those pinto beans, peanut butter and bananas on toast (from a real toaster powered by the generator), mangos, a couple pieces of ice in my rum punch sundowner (actually, ice in anything is a real treat), approaching an isolated palm covered island rimmed with a sandy beach surrounded by clear torquoise water and no other boats in sight and really fantastic sunsets. Actually, if I'm being honest, it's pretty good. Which is a good thing since I missed my return flight on the 16th...


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