There is no better way to squeeze out a cocktail of emotions than to live on a boat. Mix a bit of exhilaration, fear, frenzy, felicity, awe, exasperation or bliss, shake it well and you have one of us in a glass. I must admit i have felt on the brink of insanity more than once.
On my first passage from Mallorca to Sardinia, my heart skipped a beat every time a wave would crash between the hulls in a blasting thud making the entire cabin tremble. I fell in a strange silent terror as I held my girls firmly against me waiting for the moment the hulls would split apart. When the sea finally calmed down, i asked Gonzalo and Sylvain how critical the situation had been. They smiled at me and replied that everything had been NORMAL! I just had to get used to the “music” of my new home.
Needless to describe how hysterical Gonzalo and I were at first watching the girl’s every move. Luckily they have adapted amazingly and have become real “sea monkeys”, bouncing about as if the ground under them was still. And we have relaxed as well to the degree that we are no longer gobsmacked to find our 2 year old holding firmly to the top of a 2 meter pole (yes, she climbs up that well!). Nor are we surprised when our 4 year old panics at the sight of water being wasted in automatic faucets in public bathrooms (we are very careful about water usage on board).
But just when you start to get the hang of things and get comfortable, you are sure to be shaken by hundred other emotions. Imagine the terror as a sailboat gets overpowered by a gust of wind and nearly collides into us (this happened in the midst of the excitement at the start of the ARC). Or how to react when you discover a naked elderly lady hanging from the stern of your boat on a stormy night in a sea full of gigantic jellyfish (this did actually happen to our friends NextLife but the story was so bizarre, I just had to include it)? I am sure you can imagine my expression of disarray as I try to understand a single word from the rasta-patois-english spoken by the official processing our entry. What hysteria watching our dog being hunted down by a one-meter long barracuda! What thrill swimming in the middle of the Atlantic or catching a 50kgs tuna (although we had to let it go because it could not fit in our freezer)! And what a horrendous feeling being seasick and in charge!
I have thought of giving up many times but each time I get swept away by the magic of a moment or a place. What rush every time dolphins accompany us for miles on, or when we spot a whale! How wonderful to see Kenza and Rocio’s imagination running wild and witness them inventing a thousand games. How comforting and inspiring to meet people following the same path and turning dreams into reality! And what an explosion of happiness when greeted by NextLife and our fellow sailors/friends in St Lucia after days out at sea crossing the Atlantic ocean! Time and time again, I am struck by the “specialness” of different places: whether it be the authentic Greek villages, the hills of the Peloponnese, the bustling medinat of Fes, the endless beaches of Barbuda, the boulder maze of The Baths, the colorful streets of San Juan, they make me feel alive and wanting more.
So at the end of the day, when I feel I am getting an overdose of “aliveness”, I climb up to the flybridge and look out to the stars in the splendid dark sky … and relax.