Thursday, May 09, 2013

On the Move Again...And Stress.

What a difference a day makes.  Wow.  I wrote a couple days ago how the wind was out of my sails, so to speak, and I just didn't have the energy to blog.  Truth be told: we were stressed to the maximus prime.  We had a crew flying in, a million boat projects to accomplish, a baby that had suddenly taken to screeching when her needs were not immediately met (I mean, what is that all about?) and Scott and I were at each other's throats.

We might have been in paradise, but it wasn't pretty.

Stress turns things ugly in a heartbeat and just because we live on a boat in beautiful places devoid of work deadlines, nagging bosses and brutal commutes doesn't mean we're immune to it.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:  this lifestyle is full of high highs, and low lows.  The highs make it all worth it, but the lows are about as un-fun as they come.

I tend to get overwhelmed.  I never used to be like this, but for some reason - on the boat - things pile up and I shut down.  Lists multiply, boat work beckons, things break, weather windows loom, and me?  I freeze.  I want to just crawl into a corner with a book and hide.  Scott is the opposite.  Super pragmatic and never phased by the tasks at hand, he continues to plug along and just get 'er done.  In this way, he's amazing, which is why he is an excellent captain. This matter-of-fact practicality of his, of course, makes me feel guilty.  Then, as if I needed another emotion to throw into the mix, all the unknowns of the situation at hand (namely this huge passage before us) cause me to worry about things out of my control like: weather, potential dangers, sea monsters...etc.  When I tell Scott about my worries he responds with something like, "There is no room for worry on a boat, only problems with solutions. We can only prepare as best we can and deal with problems as they present themselves" and then that very pragmatism I praised just a line or two earlier makes me want to strangle him.  Sigh.

So yeah, it was a rough couple of days here.  We were pouring over deteriorating weather charts, emailing back and forth with crew, rushing to ready the boat for voyaging again (no small feat, let me tell you), creating list after list, keeping a one year old baby at bay and the stress got the better of me...of us.  The pot boileth over.

Scott and I finally got back on the same page.  We kissed and made up. We talked it out and devised a plan.  But the stress?  It was still there.  Our reconciliation didn't finish the lee cloths, provision the boat, pre-make passage meals or stow all our items properly for being out at sea.  We had to divide and conquer, and divide and conquer we did.  We just needed a little momentum to do it.

Want to know something else crazy?  Yesterday morning as we were studying the deteriorating GRIB files and watching our weather window close, stress joined us for breakfast.  Our future became uncertain over a GRIB file and a cup of coffee as we thought out-loud:  Why are we doing this?  Why are we sailing to windward when we don't have to?  Why are we rushing south when we don't need to?  Doubt entered our minds.  We were tired, overwhelmed and we weren't sure what to do.  We started coming up with other options.  For about two hours yesterday we had convinced ourselves that we were going to turn the boat, point her north and spend hurricane season in the Chesapeake Bay.  No joke.  You thought I was kidding about the fact that plans are written in sand?  I was not.

Long story short, Scott and I looked at the weather again, weighed our options and decided we're continuing south.  We are not, however, going to sail offshore like we had planned.  The weather just isn't right for that at the moment and we need to move because hurricane season is right around the corner.  Instead, we'll island hop to the Turks and Caicos, taking advantage of the weather windows as they present themselves with the added security of knowing we can duck in some place if need be.  Our fantastic new crew mates have arrived and they are on board no matter where we go.  They're cool like that.  They trust our decisions.  They're just super stoked to be on a boat at sea.

Today, we sail for Clarence Town, Long Island. It's about a twelve hour trip and we will be there for a couple of days to wait for our next weather window which we hope to use to sail directly to the Turks and Caicos.  From there, we'll see.  Our final destination for this "trip" is still the British Virgin Islands, and our hopes are to be in Grenada by early July though I hate to say anything definitive as our plans change with the weather, as you well know by now.

If you want to see real-time tracking, be sure to check our SPOTWALLA page to see how we're doing.  I will keep you posted when and where I can, and will try to keep uploading images when possible to our Facebook Page.


Carol Florida U.S.A. said...

"Oh what a beau~ti~ful mor~ning, Oh what a beau~ti~ful day . . . I've got a beau~ti~ful fee~ling, every~thing's go~ing (y)our way!!!" Just look at that gorgeous sun . . . so full of solar powered energy and promise!!! <3 <3 Carol Florida U.S.A.

Benjamin said...

I TRULY enjoyed this post!...Full of the honest and real times of a life @ sea. What a wonderful insight into the realities of living aboard, and what a wonderful couple you are! Great writing Brittany, and thanks for sharing and trusting us too! :-D

Tytti said...

After becoming a mommy the world looks a bit different. Men don't have these hormones and don't get as overwhelmed as we ladies do.
It's a natural instict to worry about every possible sea monster on the way.
My hubby wasn't so happy about me being overly nervous when driving with a new baby. Laughed at me and recommended an armour for visits to granny - enough speed and possible to take the straightest route through woods without worry about collisions.

KitchenKiki said...

Well, I know this won't make you feel better, but your post made me feel better. I'm not taking pleasure in your stress - or issues, I'm taking comfort that you & Scott go through some of the same things that I go through with my husband (except I don't have the screeching toddler). I get stressed & then he gets his lists going & I get defensive because I don't know where to start & shut down.
I keep wondering how it will be when we finally get our boat & do more cruising - it is crazy enough just trying to get on a boat for part of the summer.
This a good example of making it happen & figuring it out together as you go - not letting stress get the better of you.
thanks for not being perfect :)

Jeanine said...

I love this post - I love it because my husband and I are in the midst of moving right now and the stress can be overwhelming. I am more like Scott in how I approach things and he reminds me of you... but we press on! It's good to read about the real nitty gritty sometimes, it reminds us that life in paradise or in Michigan (which is turning into paradise this time of year) can be downright crappy sometimes :) Thanks! Happy crossing!

Emily said...

Gosh, sounds rough, and sounds very familiar. Cruising is extremely stressful!!!

We've been cruising the Pacific coast of Mexico for the past 3 years. We don't get the high winds of the Caribbean, but we have to make oodles of 24-36 hour passages. Good luck and hang in there. I'm amazed you do this with a baby on board!!!

Junaid said...

Is Grenada out of the hurricane zone ?

Ben said...

Thanks for being authentic Brittany. This is great stuff. I don't know of many bloggers that are this honest in the public domain yet we all know everyone goes thru this 'stuff' on a regular basis.

jdubes said...

You'll probably have more fun island hoping anyway, there always time for those big offshore events. I mean with the current state of global warming you've got time. :) nice post!

horizonstar said...

I know taking care of a toddler while underway adds to the stress level, but remember--- when you are on a sailboat you are already there!

So if it looks to be too much of a struggle to go somewhere, go somewhere else! (like, why the BVI--everybody in the world has already been there). Don't want to sail to weather as much? Go straight to Port Antonio, hang out then sail direct to Grenada on a single reach.

The problem with island hopping is that you never have a chance to settle into the rhythm of the passage, and you are always too close to something hard. Much more relaxing to sail a blue water route.


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