The First of Many Lessons to be Learned: We’re Homeless!

12:10 pm
San Miguel, Cozumel

(From Jan’s personal journal…)

Left Isla Mujeres about 11:00 am yesterday morning, in partly cloudy skies and fresh east wind of 20-25 knots, making for some rolly conditions as we headed south to Cozumel. The only casualty was a set screw in the port aft corner of the bimini, making Ole go up on the fly bridge to jury-rig a tie down during some pretty decent rolls.

We arrived in Cozumel just as the sun was setting, and anchored in 15 feet of swimming-pool clear water just off my favorite artisan store “Los Cinco Soles,” and sat through the departure announcements of Splendor of the Seas, anchored a couple of hundred yards off our stern. We laughed, realizing that Ole had no standby, no passenger duties, and no pager to go off in the middle of the night.

The anchorage is unprotected, so we gently rocked during the night, and more forcefully during the morning, as the Crown Princess arrived to the accompaniment of excursion boats zooming past us with abandon.

I’ve had a couple of revelations in the past few days or so. I’m not feeling the “glee factor” that I think I should, and I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating my navel about it. Friday night in Isla Mujeres I finally experienced and expressed that I’m actually anxious about this trip – not relaxed like I was during our 2-week adventure cruising the Okeechobee and the Keys the first summer we had the boat.

The anxiety manifested as irritation and hurt – and I made it all Ole’s fault.

Factually speaking, I stood my watches without incident during the crossing from the Keys. I operated the radio just fine. I secured us for sea pretty successfully. I even managed to cook during 6-8 foot seas with accompanying rolls.

But I slept on the couch Friday night, and woke up yesterday morning in tears – not just little ones – but actual sobbing. When Ole asked me what was wrong, what came out my mouth was, “I’m exhausted from conversations about fear – fear of running out of cruising money; fear of not being in Belize on time; fear that I’m not doing things right on the boat; not doing things right with regard to household administration from afar, not doing things right in my relationship. I’m tired of being afraid and all I want is to experience some goddam joy!”

During the crossing, I sat in the pilothouse reading (James Michener’s Caribbean), and felt emotionally raw.

Once we had arrived and dropped anchor, I just started downloading, and discovered that I was putting a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to know everything –now.

I’ve taken boating, seamanship, piloting and engine maintenance. I’ve become SCUBA certified and earned my HAM radio license. My head is now full of facts that don’t correspond with any of my actual – not theoretical – experience, and I guess I feel that I’m supposed to be instantly wise about the ways of this boat and of the ocean.

In our earlier pleasure cruises, I was reassured that at the end of the day or at the end of the week we would be “home.” “Home” was a slip up the New River. Perhaps this cruise as different from others we have done because we’re now “homeless” – the boat is home, with all of its quirks and systems – and we’re not returning to anywhere familiar for a long time.

After I finished downloading about all of this, Ole chuckled and suggested I might want to “slack off” on myself just a bit, admitting that he, too, doesn’t know how to do stuff and often pulls solutions out of his ass. That response surprised me. Part of my anxiety was the thought that he expected more of me than I was capable of – and the truth of it is that I was expecting more of myself than I am currently capable of.

Who said, “A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing?”

Perhaps glee and joy will come once I let go of any pretense that I know what I’m doing and experience the learning as it comes. Little kids grow up to earn PhD’s –they don’t get them right out of kindergarten.

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