Our first night on Ahimsa together. Wildly romantic: On blocks in the yard, stagnant air from closed hatches due to the rain storm, industrial lights disrupting the stars’ natural beauty, chickens clucking around eating the trash under our hulls. The stuff love stories are made of. It was perfect. All of it. Perfect.
Last post I dropped the news of our new status as boat owners, along with some additional emotional catharsis, forgetting details of the boat – like where it is, when we will be living on it, where we will be living on it. Apologies. I’ve only see her once since the purchase.
Ahimsa is a 1999 38’ Leopard, a catamaran (for those unfamiliar with boats – as I was.am). Catamarans sail smoother and faster, have more light and space, and don’t sail at an angle that send me into a panic attack. She has had two previous owners and thankfully never been in charter. The boat needs some general aesthetic repairs: new seat cushions, gel coat repair and matching, a new dining table, leaky window seals…all very manageable projects. The purchase survey didn’t show anything to be concerned about; as much as one can be unconcerned when investing their life savings into a floating home. It did show a couple damp spots in the hull, the previous owner took care of the larger of the two, and we took on the second spot.
Nanny Cay boat yard in Tortola, British Virgin Islands is where Ahimsa is currently being held against her will, until Novermber 1st, or so says the unreliable boat yard owner. No guarantee on when she will be in the water, but sometime in November is to be expected. Once that happens, JB and I will move onto her and live here in St.Thomas until the beginning of 2017. Until then, Tortola is a 40 minute ($40) one-way ferry ride, or a 2 hour (relatively free, not considering the relevant medical bills) dinghy ride. JB made the trip once in our 9ft inflatable dinghy from Tortola to St.Thomas and it took only an hour, so he couldn’t have known better when he suggested I make the ride over with him to work on the saturated hull spot.
I have previously voiced my dissenting opinion on inter-island dinghy travel, claiming it to be dangerous, rough, unpredictable….you know…safety first is my preference. JB is a convenience first, safety second, maybe third, kind of guy. We get out of Hull Bay, I already want to be back home in bed, where all my joints are properly supported and not sustaining the continual impact of skipping along wave crests. There were a few moments where I was certain spinal damage was inevitable. I only slammed my head on the inflatable tube three times, is it possible to get a concussion from a dinghy? By the time we got to customs (2 hours and 25 miles later) it was hard to discern impact delirium from dehydration. I am a planner, so I packed plenty of water, but I chose dehydration over picking up the water bottle and risking a hip replacement by releasing my hand from the handle that was keeping me in the boat.
(this picture is from a calmer day).
There was still a 30 minute roller coaster ride from customs to Nanny Cay, and somewhere along that final leg of the ride I couldn’t stop myself… “I am right, I am always right.” Those are the words I said. I imagine the shame I instantly felt is similar to the embarrassment Donald Trump would feel if he had a soul. Thankfully I wasn’t seasick, but I was battered, broken, achy, thirsty and accordingly frustrated, no excuse on my end to be so condescending. Five minutes later I broke the drone of silence informing JB I had thrown my evil twin sister overboard and his loving sweet girlfriend was back. There is a part of me, most of me, that hates experiencing things like the dinghy ride because well.. it was miserable. But there is also a little part of me that laughs and is thankful for the experience because it gives me the opportunity to be a kinder, more patient person; and because I know JB silently contemplates the fact that I was right.
I was that kinder, sweeter person for 1.75 hours of the 2.5 hour ride; so I will count that as a win. In the absence of propane to power our stove I ate coffee beans when we got to the boat, but I still fell victim to my exhaustion while JB grinded into the boat hull (the damp spot ended up not being damp at all, apparently moisture meters often give inaccurate readings). I think this may be demonstrative of what is to come.
After an ocean shower and a meal of cold chili (that I brought over in a lunchbox) we laid in the catamaran trampoline underneath the hum and shine of industrial lighting, guessing at which trio of stars make up Orion’s belt. With storms approaching, we moved to sleep inside with hatches closed and fans running, JB and I survived our first night in the boat. Upon rising, the inkling of propane we found was used for our essential morning coffee, and with life back in our bodies we sat in awe of our new home.
Sure enough, the mind quickly forgets what time intercepts. And not even 24 hours after our arrival in Tortola, we were on our way back to Hull Bay, via the dinghy. Maybe it was all the head beating I endured that had me agreeing to ride back in the human popcorn popper, or just a quick analysis of the financial costs. It was a nice ride….he was right.
I will post more on boat-life once she is in the water. JB will also have posts on boat repair, for those interested in his work.