Saturday, 26 December 2015

In the comfort zone

"This moving ashore stuff is just another adventure in disguise, que no?"

That's from our friends on Galactic. Their Christmas tree was a pair of reindeer antlers and their Christmas dinner, as I understand it from their email, started with minnows and devilled gull eggs, and then moved onto joints of reindeer and mutton, all locally sourced of course. They're anchored somewhere in the western Falklands. I don't think they have a firm grip on the reality of city living yet.

The white board  - memories and lists

Art Gallery of NSW (and below)

We are almost rehabilitated. We've integrated emptying the dishwasher into our morning routine. We know how to order an Uber. We've almost stopped being nervous about credit card readers which extract your money with an airy wave. Cash is an oddity now. Digital rules, and we need to get comfortable with that. 

We have eaten relatively simply on the boat for several years but we are back in the food game with a vengeance. My friend Helen the food writer is amused when I ask her when it became so important to drink single origin coffee, or to know that your tomatoes were grown in such and such a country town? We live so well in Australia - at a price though. Especially in Sydney where real estate has long been over-priced but to that I'd now add bread and meat. 

It may not last long, but for the moment we are straddling two worlds. We're intensely interested in the whereabouts and plans of our cruising friends. They still use email, most of them. Thankfully. We haven't yet surrendered to the inevitability of Facebook. Given the chance, we'd always prefer face to face conversation - and we had the best of times with Cathy and Ian who sequestered us for an overnighter on Scotland Island. Ian wasn't going to let Alex go before he'd done an information transfusion of all relevant material relating to the safe crossing of oceans on an HR48. Soon it will be us following Sea Cloud's voyaging as avidly as they have followed ours.

Cathy is a water baby

Scotland Island wildlife (and below)

Sea Cloud's skipper leaves nothing to chance

But we're also manoeuvring ourselves back into the lives of our adult children and our non-boating city friends.  We don't talk about the weather so much anymore  - though a good passage-making moon caught my eye in the week before Christmas. And we always look at the cruising boats anchored beneath the Anzac Bridge. Last week I spotted an aluminium cruising boat anchored near the Drummoyne bridge. "The one with the big canvas cover?" Alex said. He already knew it was there. 

Refreshing the old Christmas wreath

Cucumber salad king

The boy likes water

Mostly though we are caught up in conversations about jobs and holidays, books and art, politics and child-care, music, golf, gardening, clothes....around us is the abundance of first-world living. Friends ask us if we're glad to be back, and we say yes of course. But we're not sure yet what being back means for our future. Beyond the family, beyond repossessing our home - what next? 

Christmas in a denuded garden

The tribe gathers (and below)

 Tomorrow we fly back to New Zealand for the summer. We'll start out sharing a holiday with our family, and then later move back onto the boat. It'll be good to be cruising again. We're obviously not making things easy for ourselves with all this chopping and changing. But this from Jhumpa Lahiri, writing in the New Yorker recently: "The moments of transition, in which something changes, constitute the backbone of all of us. Whether they are a salvation or a loss, they are moments that we tend to remember. They give structure to our existence. Almost all the rest is oblivion."


  1. Congratulations on completing your trip home. What do people living ashore do? I don't think I can remember.

    Rick & Mary
    Ocean Dream (formerly of Orca)
    Limassol, Cyprus

  2. We forget to update our blog, that's what. Thanks for hanging in there with us, Rick and Mary. Good to know you are afloat again. Hope your new ship treats you well, as the lovely Orca did. Fair winds.