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Thursday, November 29, 2007

On not wishing the days away

18:30UTC 29/11/07 15'51N 048'01W Wind ESE3/4

I think I wrote in a recent message that 'we can almost smell the rum'. And indeed, we now can expect to be in Antigua about this time next week. It is interesting to observe the effect that this has on us.

After eighteen days at sea, we are well into the rhythm of this voyage. So far, there has been nothing to tax us in terms of sailing, some frustrating calms and the occasional squall but really this route is living up to it's billing as the 'milk run'. Life is relatively easy and the sailing is splendid. So why have I been itching for every last mile to get us to our destination?

We still have seven days to go, to enjoy and relish this experience. I think it is in our nature to always be looking forward, thinking about what is coming next. One of my favourite books is Alain de Botton's 'Art of Travel' and he comments on this:

"It is as if a vital evolutionary advantage had been honoured on members of the species who lived in a state of concern about what was to happen next. These ancestors might have failed to savour their experiences, but they had at least survived while their more focussed siblings, at one with the moment and the place they stood in, had met violent ends on the horns of unforeseen bison'

The effect is interesting, for it seems that the mind spends more time ashore in a bar, restaurant or hot shower in English Harbour than it does on the boat. The daily tasks still get done but with a counting down - "this is the last but one time I'll be on washing up duty". This voyage is meant to be about the journey not the destination, otherwise we would have taken that five hundred miles an hour jumbo jet, but of course without a destination it is no voyage at all, just a random wandering to nowhere.

There is a superficial explanation, for the destination is a reunion and a beginning. Much as I miss Gesa and the kids, and however keen I am to begin our life aboard, wishing the days away doesn't actually make the boat go any faster, nor does it change the date printed on their airline tickets. It only detracts from the enjoyment of the inevitable next seven days, and hence from life as a whole.

So I have managed to shake myself out of that particular little trap and enjoy the present once again - this thinking and analysis can be pretty useful - and as the boat leaves her determined wake across the Atlantic, I have read another book, completed a few little maintenance tasks and spent time watching the waves, stars and satellites on my night watch. It's my turn to cook dinner tonight, and I shall attack that with gusto and enjoy realising another of Gesa's menu masterpieces. And I shall certainly enjoy the cocktails.

(Last night's cocktail - Guardaloupe Sweetie - Summer fruit berries and juice with vodka)

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