I suppose it is time for us to send out an update, now that we have been in Denmark for almost four months. January is almost behind us and we have made it through the darkest time of the year here in the north.
As I look out our window, here at 7:30 a.m., there is a faint light in the east. Dawn is arriving. The sun is something we haven’t seen much of while here. December had only two or three days where the sun peeped out from behind the clouds – the rest of the time, it was overcast and gray, gray, gray.
We think about at our almost two years in French Polynesia with longing.
It is one thing that the weather is crap – another is that we are landlubbers again. What a strange feeling. Made even stranger by the fact that this time we have purchased an apartment just around the corner from where we lived before we set out on our odyssey. Covid-19 has made our return date to Capri so uncertain that we could not continue to impose on the hospitality of our friends.
Houseguests, my mother used to say, are like fish – after three days they begin to smell.
When you have been a sailor(ess) for as long as we have, living on land is disturbing. Here, the weather doesn’t mean much (at sea you always have one eye on the barometer) if you dress for it. Our bed stands still when we crawl into your bunk (well, here we don’t crawl – we can walk almost completely around our bed).
Actually, just calling the place we sleep, a bedroom and not the forward cabin means our life has undergone a radical change.
On the boat, there are firm routines when you roll out of the seabunk. The very first thing is a check of the barometer, is the glass rising or falling? Thereafter, check the anchor alarm – have we dragged? Then the battery monitor to ensure there is plenty of juice. Now you can put on the kettle to make coffee/tea. While the water is heating, it is time for a quick trip up in the cockpit to see if everything is right in the world. Are we swinging too close to a neighboring boat? Is little Capri hanging as she should in the halyard? Does the rig and everything on deck look as it should? Back below – do we need to run the watermaker this morning and finally a glance at the “wailing wall” – what is on the repair list for today?
A sailor(ess) not on his boat is out of his element. He carries a restlessness in his body and soul. There is a luring sensation of something is not right. Something is missing. Conversations with the few (due to Covid-19) others he meets, are about unimportant topics: politics (oh, please!), the weather or some such things. They all seem banal when one is accustomed to discussing truly important issues: the coming weather windows, the boat, navigation, places one has sailed or how to repair whatever is wrong on the boat. Then there are the vital things, such as where can one buy/beg some spare parts or is the supply ship carrying enough diesel so the Captain is willing to sell some?
The latter are undoubtedly much more interesting questions.
Let’s be honest – a sailor on land is out of his proper environment.
Vinnie and I spend a lot of time talking about where we should sail, once the world returns to some sort of normalcy. We know we will sail to Alaska.
We’re not sure – there are a myriad of possibilities.
Should we visit Mexico and Latin America? Not many cruisers venture down the Pacific side, so we would have it pretty much to ourselves. Down the west coast, through the Panama Canal, then turn our bows toward Denmark? That means we pass through Copenhagen’s King’s Channel and into the harbor in about three-and-a-half years. We will have sailed down the Oeresund Strait with Hamlet’s castle to starboard and understand how the sailors of yore felt when they passed here, knowing they were now home after many years at sea.
Or should we say – the hell with it – we loved French Polynesia. Why not turn to port when we hit Mexico and sail out to the Tuamotus, Society Islands and stay there for a couple of years? Then cross the rest of the Pacific and wind up in Denmark in four or five years? Two, three or four years in a bathing suit and flip-flops? That sounds more than enticing. We miss picking bananas, papayas, mangoes, not to mention pamplemousse right from the trees. Carsten misses coming back on the boat with a sack full of coconuts, then sitting on the back platform with his machete cracking them.
Buying fruit and coconuts at the local grocery, for some reason, just isn’t the same………………..
Not to mention the wonderfully friendly Polynesians, women who always have a flower in their hair (if it is behind the right ear – they are married, behind the left ear signifies that they are single and open if the right offer comes along). Beautiful bronze colored skin, fantastic tattoos and they can dance so you simply can’t believe your eyes.
BE at sea and gaze on a star-studded sky – a veritable carpet of twinkling stars. Nights as light as daytime when the moon is full. Hearing the waters gurgle at Capri’s bows as she cleaves her way through the waves.
Not the least this; hearing the humpback whales sing us a lullaby as we lay at anchor near Maui. An indescribable experience that few have had and one forever indelibly etched in our memories.
Fortunately, we live by the motto: We have no plans and by God we’re going to stick to them!
We’ll not have experiences or a life like that if we become landlubbers.
We can’t complain. We’re doing well and the reason for our return to Denmark had a happy ending. Vinni is completely well. She has no greater risk of getting breast cancer again than any other woman who has never had cancer. Truly a heaven-sent gift to us both.
Into each life, a little rain must fall (so they say). Vinni and I have, as usual, enjoyed the Danish kitchen (not to mention Christmas feasting) a bit too much – so we are carrying a couple extra kilos (Oh, how I wish it were only a couple) too much around the waist. January has been spent atoning for our gluttonous sins. The kilos ARE coming off – but it is no fun. We should be back to fighting weight sometime end February or mid-march.
You put on weight in pounds – but only lose it ounces (sigh).
We go for long walks every day (there is nothing else to do – everything is shut down due to Covid). We hope to be vaccinated by the end of March or April and then we can begin thinking about how to get back to the US. Vaccination and having a Covid passport is a criterion for getting back to Capri. Unfortunately, there are many delays with the vaccines and we’re slowly resigning ourselves to the fact that we won’t get back early enough this spring to sail to Alaska (it is a three week sail to get there). That means we won’t go until the summer of 2022. The next year or so we’ll drive around the US in our hippie-camper.
We’ve spend many an hour talking about our future. We could get a very good price for Capri in the United States – maybe we should just sell her and return to Denmark. We could buy a trawler and sail through the European rivers and canals, exploring all the small towns and cities.
But no. Our hearts beat for ocean cruising. We haven’t finished with the blue waters and if our health allows we’ll continue our cruising for several years.