“I don’t remember that!” “We never did it like that before!” “I was never on this side when we did that!” ” I forgot to do that!” “How does that work again?” Thank you Covid for the sailing interruption. As we leave the safety and tranquility of the floating concrete dock in Whangarei, NZ we try to remember and in some cases re-familiarize ourselves with the art of sailing. We secure the dock lines and fenders for adventure by sea. Yes, in many cases it is like riding a bike. But, the gray matter between the ears hasn’t caught up with the current activities and we are slowly cleaning out cobwebs and recalibrating our sea legs.
For instance, while at the dock we had a small battery charger that we used to keep our batteries topped up and we then used our inverter to enjoy 110 volts of power for US based appliances in a 240 volt world. Thus our inverter seemed to remain on in a ready state while tied to the dock. Now that we’re off the dock we have to return to power management and become misers over every precious amp that is available. I’ll just say that our lithium batteries are still working as awesome as when they were first installed in 2016. “Oh crap, I forgot to shut down the inverter” is often heard during the first couple of days on the water. “Damn, I forgot to shut that valve in the head” that I wasn’t used to closing while at the dock. The list goes on…
When we were out testing the new mainsail a couple of weeks ago, we were putting the sail cover back over the sail. I mentioned to Jilly that she should be on the starboard side of the boom to assist me. “I’ve never been on that side of the boom before!” In fact she had, but a lack of sailing for over a year has constricted the memory banks for both of us.
It’s not that we forgot completely how to operate the sails or the navigation electronics, rather our memory seems to have lost its sharp edge. Even hoisting our tender off the foredeck to launch it over the side you would think we are a couple of ducks trying to mount a football on the fifty yard-line. LOL A vision of Abbott and Costello comes to my mind as we banter back and forth as to who was on first base. That’s right! Who’s on first! Yes. Etc….
Needless to say trying to keep all the equipment ready to go has its share of pros and cons as well. Being tied to the dock we didn’t have much need for the outboard or the tender. But, a winter season of rainy weather added a degree of difficulty in removing the outboard’s transom screws to be able to hoist it onto Sparkle (our tender). A bit of penetrating oil and grease quickly remedied that little issue. And so the early part of cruising New Zealand has started with becoming one with Dazzler again.
Making sure the anchor light is on and drag alarm has been set for peace of mind while sleeping. Being awakened by the not so familiar sound of the chain dragging across the rocks along the sea floor. Landlubber’s habits are sometimes hard to break as we begin focusing once again on the details of being minimalists dwellers on the water. Fully off grid and self reliant on our electrical, water, weather interpretations, mental and physical needs.
We made it out for a romp around Mount Lion aboard Sparkle just to feel the breeze and spray of the ocean on our skin. It was very freeing and encouraged us to get some fishing tackle ready for a test run to see what we might catch for dinner. I was so excited about going fishing that the nap I tried to take during the day kept being interrupted by my thoughts of fishing. Ah! The little things in life that bring us old forgetful farts back to the days of our childhood when we would be so excited about an event that we couldn’t sleep. Fishing is one of those things for me. It connects us with our more youthful life and energizes our soul if only for a few moments when that fish hits your lure and the drag sings out with delight. Oh that sound still turns my head when I hear it every time. The excitement of what type of fish has just struck your bait or lure and what kind of a fight will it be. I’m getting all excited about fishing right now. Where’s my pole? LOL
After making it to Tutukaka Bay a few days ago, we had launched Sparkle and we were getting ready to head into the small wharf community. In my infinite wisdom and best He-Man style, I untied Sparkle from Dazzler and as we started drifting away I started tugging on the starter cord. After about a dozen attempts to get the outboard started I realized I had forgotten to put the key on to deactivate the kill switch. “OOPS!”
It’s always the first few days afloat that we hope will get us back into focus and into the swing of living on the hook again, rain or shine or forgotten tasks reminded by an unclosed valve or switch inadvertently left on or off, a hatch left open or a coffee pot left unsecured. It usually doesn’t take too long to get back into those good habits and with some luck a fish or two to grace the BBQ. Until the next time, if we don’t forget what we’re doing, be safe and enjoy your life one swell are a time. Cheers!
P.S. “Babe, did you remember to unlock the stove and secure the cutting board?” (LOUD CRASH & SCREAMING BELOW DECK) “Hmmm….guess that’s a no then.” Looks like we’ll need just a few more days to get back in the saddle.