By: Noah D.
Four more days.
I suppose, other than the constant days out sailing in all manner of conditions, it does not feel like we’re about to leave for a 700 mile trip to Ireland on Sunday. We’re getting tons of work done on the boat, making a few minor upgrades (like a super-high volume bilge pump) and getting things serviced (like our life raft). But we would be completely remiss if we didn’t attempt to keep our home feeling like a home.
Lynn has gotten Proteus into the holiday spirit by decking us out with some lights and our Christmas decorations (sans tree). She has said regularly that this boat is our home and it should look like we live here. There is nothing stark or sterile about it. It is lived in. And loved. And loved in.
But, finally, the first leg of our trip to the USA is coming up fast. And part of that process from the beginning has been getting “certified.” You might have seen it on the Twitter if you’re following us there, but I got my International Certificate of Competence from the RYA. It required a day of hanging out with our new friend Mick Meadows from East Anglian Sea School and running dozens of practical and theory exams.
Lynn says that she is not nervous about the coming passage. She says that she doesn’t know why she should be nervous. All the things we have done over the past few months have been driving toward the beginning of this trip. And it is here. I’m only nervous – maybe “nervous” isn’t the right word at all, though – because it is the beginning of something that I have dreamt of doing for as many years as I can remember. We are examples of setting your mind to something, surrounding yourself with good friends and good family to help you on your way, and then actually going and doing what you say you’re going to.
It is all about the doing.
I had never touched a sailboat before I bought my first tiny dinghy for a couple hundred dollars: a 12 foot sloop rigged Alcort Puffer. The old harbor master (Ernie) at Browns Creek Sailing Marina in Guntersville, Alabama, helped me set it up for the first time and get it into the water. Then, with me sitting in the boat and him standing on the dock, he briefly said things like, “Put this here… do this… hold that… do this when this happens and when this happens do this…” Ernie then shoved me off the dock and walked away, and that’s where my life sailing began.
Now we are about to kick ourselves off a dock in England and sail across an ocean that was once considered to be the end of the known world less than a millennia years ago. The scale of Ernie’s impromptu, “Put this here… do this when this happens and when this happens do this…” has multiplied immensely. Such is the nature of all life, is it not, and the evolution in the life of man? All start in a small pond – perhaps even a puddle – then move down the stream into the lake, then onward, each time looking at the next body of water as being a million miles wide and almost as deep. This time, though, we and Proteus are entering the realm of the largest pond: a realm in which even the biggest fish cannot fathom its vastness. We sense the presence of this next step drawing near. And this Sunday, after one year, two months, and 15 days in England, we will be kicking off the dock with as little pomp and circumstance as we arrived, and setting off to sail home in the west, somewhere beyond the end of the earth.
To see what happens next, I hope you’ll stay tuned…