The sweetest word in my vocabulary. I thought I knew how much I loved home each spring when I arrived here from a long winter of sailing. This year it is doubly sweet. I am long overdue returning, and the journey to return was harrowing.
I really don’t want to relive the trip home in these pages. I’m sure Bob is writing about it as I write about being home. I may have to give some reference points to his version of the passage, so I’ll consider that.
Meanwhile, it’s mid-spring here. I have missed the daffodils and crocus, the tulips and lilacs. But there dogwoods blooming, and my peonies are still in bud. The roses are budding. Our yard is full of tulip poplars that have yet to bloom. House finches and wrens have made nests in all the outdoor light fixtures as they normally do. They’ve even deigned to use the birdhouses that Bob made, hoping they’d stay away from the light fixtures. His efforts have just attracted other bird families. Last fall I bought a painted gourd at a festival down in Maryland, and there are wrens in it now. Life is bursting here, and I’m so glad to be back in time to enjoy it!
Here’s the painted gourd with the wren family, and notice that there is a nest above one of the birdhouses that Bob built in the center of the image!
In December last year, we found a local nursery that was willing to take some of my larger plants to overwinter in their greenhouses. What a thrill that was, not to lose some of my cherished herbs and plants. Bob and I got them back on Tuesday, and I was so moved to find that several of them are in bloom! My French lavender and rose geranium are already just past prime, but I’m so happy to see them bloom at all!
My olive tree not only bloomed but now has quite a few tiny olives on it. I’m holding my breath until they get a little bigger. The plant did not seem big enough or old enough to bear fruit. There must be some good karma at that nursery!
We also started up our two water gardens with new plants, and one water lily that we overwintered from last year. We both could not resist this beautiful pitcher plant in flower for the water garden out front.
I have not yet managed to unpack. I have things strewn on one of the beds in the upstairs guest room, and I have plenty of things strewn around my own bedroom. Poor Bob, who is far neater than I am. Truly I am Oscar to his Felix. But instead of putting my things away, I have been weaving! This is a set napkins for Chris (our son) and Melody. I managed to weave and hem two in time to gift them for Christmas. These are the last four on the warp. I wove two between yesterday afternoon and today. Only two more to go, and then I’ll be making a new warp for the next project!
My small tapestry made it home with no damage. It went through a LOT to get here. It is better to have it safely on its easel in my studio that bashing about through the Caribbean aboard Pandora!
With all the good surrounding our arrival home, do I want to dredge up the awful trip home? Maybe just a couple of highlights, which are really lowlights–just to balance whatever Bob is upstairs writing at the moment!
I made quite a few meals ahead of time, in an attempt to make a good effort for this trip. I made Asian barbecued chicken thighs. I made ziti. I made meatballs. Yes, homemade meatballs. The meatballs occurred because I couldn’t find frozen meatballs in the Caribbean, even before the lockdown. Anyway, I love making them and of course, homemade is better. We managed to eat one portion of the meatballs and one portion of the chicken (I made enough of each for two meals. It was hard to eat any of this, and the ziti never made it into a bowl. It was too rough for eating. We were lucky to get some cream cheese on crackers, and I don’t know how Bob managed to get anything out of the fridge or cabinets, or even how he could spread the cream cheese. He could barely carry them up the companionway, even though they were in a bowl rather than on a plate.
Have I mentioned it was rough? There were many points when the waves looked like something from a movie– a documentary about storms at sea, or even some of the scenes from “The Perfect Storm”–although not that final scene where the fishing boat does not make up that last horrific wave. The seas were confused, so they did not come from one direction. They were hitting mostly from the stern, but both starboard and port. There was no place to sit comfortably without bracing ourselves, and no comfortable place to sleep.
We can never sleep in our own bed on passage, or even use the master bathroom (stateroom in nauticalese), since both of these are too close to the bow. I made up a ‘go bag’ with some changes of clothes and my toiletries so that I would not have to enter our stateroom during the passage. I have to say our hygiene was less than stellar during the passage. I think I managed to wash my hair three times in thirteen days. Again, we were just lucky to brush our teeth twice a day–in the galley sink at the bottom of the companionway. Using the head (toilet) was such a feat of getting in there and then hanging on to everything possible while trying to accomplish that feat. There was one night when I was so tired that I tried to sleep on a settee (that’s an upholstered bench, like a couch) down below. As I mentioned the waves were hitting us both port and starboard. Bob did not want me to use a lee cloth because it might get ripped off the wall (a lee cloth is similar to the barriers that toddlers have when they graduate out of a crib). Well, that was the only time I attempted sleeping down below. I was actually thrown out of bed. I woke to find myself in mid air, and then promptly hit the hardwood floor. I didn’t break any bones, but I was bruised. I won’t even talk about seasickness. So much for the myth that everyone gets over it after three days! Ha!
I really don’t know who can possibly like making long passages. Sure, the weather might be better, but it’s never calm enough for living a normal life aboard. I don’t ever plan to do it again. I’ll leave all the details of wind and speed and way points to Bob. I only mean to convey that it was difficult and scary. As we approached the entrance to Fort Lauderdale I began to think that we would die within sight of destination. Bob would not agree with that, but he did say it was the roughest passage he’d ever made. And he has made 14, or maybe a few more, of them. Just sayin’….
I’ll take a loom with a view, thank you. There is no place like home!