Things I have learned…so far

Experienced sailors, old salts and those others “in the know” should probably skip this post – unless you want to have a good chuckle at the expense of a newbie.  I certainly don’t mind…laughing at myself is one of my favourite pasttimes.  🙂

This will probably be an ongoing endeavour because I learn something new every day.

  • If you’re the type that has to have perfect hair, makeup and nails – you won’t get along on a boat
  • A shower is a luxury found only in a marina.  A hot shower takes an Act of God (the pool or ocean is usually warmer)  A quick sponge bath of the important parts (pits & bits) in the bucket of soapy water saved for dishes is the norm.  Squall rain and sea spray don’t count
  • Long nails are a hazard and break.  Short nails are inconvenient
  • I try to do everything before dark cuz after that it’s by flashlight and it keeps falling out of my mouth
  • If something is going to break, it will do so during the most inconvenient time – heavy seas, after dark, middle of a storm…usually all three at once
  • A toilet with elbow room that you can leave the paper in – and that isn’t moving – is an unknown comfort
  • Dry feet and clean hands are things of the past
  • Clothes that got caught in the rain or were worn over the side are considered laundered
  • Laundry is done, otherwise, in a big bucket with soapy water and good dancing music
  • When you call things and places on a boat by their “proper” name, people tend to look at you funny and then say bathroom and kitchen
  • Boats are never quiet.  Never.  Flap, crackle, clang, tink, whoosh, slap, rustle, slither, whisper, snap, bang, thunk, boom, whir, groan, creak, chirp – and are usually only at night
  •  Yes, you walk funny on land.  After a good sail with the slant to port, you get a real nice list to starboard going.  Standing still is impossible when the room keeps moving and sitting down only causes rocking
  • It is never completely black at night; even if it’s cloudy, there is still some differentiation between water and sky.  The moon, even at a sliver of new moon, creates a swath of silver on the water, and Sirius will shine a reflection at just the right angle
  • Under a clear sky, there is not one square centimetre without stars in it.  You can see them rising on the horizon, seemingly popping out of nowhere
  • Every sunrise and every sunset is unique, even after millions of years of them
  • Electrical tape works on EVERYTHING
  • Even in a Ziploc, nail clippers and tweezers will rust within 2 weeks
  • A Kobo or other e-reader is a Godsend (thank you Heather!)  I charged mine a week before leaving Vancouver on 18 Nov and there is still 1/2 a battery left.  I read on the planes, in the airports, every night while in one harbour or another or on the hook; it has been over a month now.
  • It is possible to go weeks on end without a Tim’s or a Starbuck’s – but not advisable
  • There is no end to the different shades of blue in the ocean
  • Chickens roam free on Grand Cayman and the roosters can’t tell time
  • Sand is a fact of life.  500 miles from everywhere, in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, a freshly swept cockpit will fill with sand within 1/2 hour.
  • Cruise ships are truly the ‘floating cities’ they are advertised as.  At night, you can see the glow from one before it even comes over the horizon which is several miles away.
  • It took me 3 days to figure out that we couldn’t just pull over into a rest stop for a coffee and a break, just to sit in something that is not moving.  (yeah, I can be slow sometimes)
  • Use travel mugs for hot coffee if you value your ‘parts’
  • Yes, my entire wardrobe fits into 3 drawers, 4 hangers and a cubby for shoes; my entire stock of toiletries can fit into a shoebox.  I am not a real woman  <sigh>
  • Whichever side of the boat has the more expensive stuff stored is going to be the upside in the next storm, but the plastic plates and cups will not move an inch
  • The screw he just handed me is safe, the screwdriver is in the soup.  Ergo sum:  the likelihood of something going overboard is in direct proportion to its value.
  • If something happens and you have to anchor overnight, it will be at the end of the runway
  • Sandals slide on and off the easiest when you’re over the side trying to beach the dinghy
  • Doing a water workout, I sink like a rock; adding 50 lbs of diving gear ensures better buoyancy
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