Wednesday, December 17, 2008

December 17th, 2008. This day is the end of one chapter and the beginning of another in this book of sailing. I can see the chapters now, for the first time, today. Chapter 1 started when we made the decision to live on a boat, followed by its purchase. Chapter 2 began with the move to California, and help beyond anything we could have imagined to assist us in this regard. Chapter 3 was the chapter of working on the boat, spending a lot of money, and preparing her for sailing. When I look back now, there was a lot to do, and Merle did almost all of it without any prior knowledge of sailboats or their inner and outer workings. We celebrated friends at Ensenada and named our boat during this time. Chapter 4 was the ‘creative chaos’ chapter that kicked our buts and helped us realize that it was as much us as the boat that needed work. Thank goodness Shane and Amy were not only tolerant but so helpful through that time for us. Right at the end of that chapter, we said goodbye to Amy and Shane, and said hello to Kathy and Allen, friends we still spend much happy time with. Chapter 5 was the Dan chapter. It began with ‘I hope we’ve done everything that we need to do to take this boat around the cape, because we are leaving tomorrow, gale or no gale’ and it ended today with heaps of gratitude for an incredible insightful journey, and looking south to a bright future. Chapter 6 begins today.
The Dan Chapter. Dan left us today, to fly to San Diego and then to France for Christmas. We were all sad to see him go because he brought a great deal of happiness and enthusiasm to the boat and to our lives. But, as Dan said himself in the words of Fatuhiva, the residents of the islands of the south pacific don’t say goodbye to each other when they depart, because it never occurs to them; their beliefs hold that we are all one, and always connected. So why say goodbye? Us westerners are still trying to figure that out, and no matter how many times I told myself that today, it was still sad to see him go.
The chapter of Dan began in spirit sometime in July with Shane’s intuition, followed by meeting him in person in August. But the chapter truly began on November 9th, when he arrived on our boat, and we departed on our journey. The first days were sick for me, but Merle was delighted that not only is Dan immune to seasickness, but when it was his turn at the helm in 12 foot seas, he was eager for the opportunity, and well able to hold his own.
He brought levity to our boat, and happily took his turns around the clock for watches as we sailed around the clock for 9 days. That was amazing. And once in La Paz, he helped on the boat and brought us delightful new tastes from town that we would never have bought ourselves. He was incredibly patient with the kids, and they loved his great positive energy for everything. He always had something positive to say, no matter what. When we were sailing at 1 knot, which is ridiculously slow, I can remember him saying in his half French half Romanian accent, “This is perfect! It is easy, we can enjoy a beautiful dinner, and we are still moving forward in exactly the direction we want to go! What could be better?” And then later that same evening, “Three knots! Incredible! And perfect timing – we just finished dinner nice and calm, and now the wind is starting to blow! Mucho Gusto!” He did not offer his opinion unless you asked him, and even then he was pretty flexible on beliefs. Very open-minded individual, and very connected in many ways. He has immense trust in the universe that everything will work out, and he was not easily flustered about anything. He inspired us every day, and every night when I said good night to him, I was grateful for his presence on our boat. He was not a guest – he was family in many ways, but with respect and grace uncommon in many people. He contributed characteristics like those of Merle – sports minded, and wanting to extract the most (wind) from the least (effort) – equally delighted at a fish on the hook or a spinnaker day. But he also had Allison qualities like being able to cook, and digging in and doing dishes and looking at the sunny side of life. As Merle aptly stated, he reflected some of the best qualities in both of us, reminding each of us that the other is an amazing human being and completely valid as is, no changes required. How could we have picked someone better suited to our trip? It was so easy – we just asked him and he accepted. The universe really is a fine tuned being if you just allow. We are so grateful that it brought Dan to us, and equally hopeful that we will see him again somewhere. He did say to call him if we are heading in the direction of the Marquaises, in case he isn’t busy during those months. I look forward to that time.

No comments:

Post a Comment