Monday, December 17, 2007

"Home Is the Sailor, Home From the Sea..."

...(from the poem by A. E. Houseman)...

We got our first view of the Golden Gate Bridge in the mid-afternoon of Thursday, December 13th. What a welcome sight! It was a very cold day and we were bundled up in multiple shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, hats and gloves, and the first thought I had when I saw the bridge was, "Tomorrow I get to take a hot bubble bath!"As we sailed under the bridge it was hard to believe we'd been gone 60 days (!) and even harder to believe that our trip was nearly at an end. We'd logged approximately 2,600 sea-miles in a 34-foot sailboat with no refrigeration, heater, A/C, shower, or flush-toilet. We cooked and ate simple meals and if we were missing an ingredient we substituted something else or did without. Our "stuff" was minimal and what we found was that we really didn't need much. All the things we left behind -- the stuff that literally fills to bursting a three-bedroom home with a two-car garage -- proved to be totally unnecessary. Some stuff we missed, but we sure didn't need it.We saw this mural on one of the buildings on the San Francisco waterfront -- although we've seen it many times, on this occasion I felt it was meant just for us! The sun was going down as we moved through the bay and just as we reached the Bay Bridge it dropped behind the buildings creating this awesome view of the famous San Francisco Skyline:
The story of the huge oil spill of November 7th was (and still is) all over the news. A container ship called the Cosco Busan hit one of the supports on the Bay Bridge which acted like a giant can opener ripping open the side of the ship and dumping 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel oil into the water. We got a chance to see the damaged strut close-up as we sailed under the bridge; I took the photo below. You can see where all the concrete has been torn away and the underlying steel structure is exposed. It's under repair now. The most fortunate thing is that the damage to the support didn't cause any failure of the bridge.

We spent that night on the boat, docked in Alameda. The next morning our housesitters, Richard and Mary, arrived in our car to pick us up and take us home. By that time I was literally counting the minutes until I'd see my cats again! When I did, there was no hesitation on their parts -- they came right up to us, rubbed against our legs, and butted us with their heads. I was so surprised! I was sure I'd get the "cold tail!" All three were fine, a little fatter, and obviously purr-fectly happy.
That was 4 days ago. Since then we have quickly re-adjusted to all of Life's little conveniences! We're cooking in the microwave oven, stocking up our (relatively) huge refrigerator, taking long baths, flushing the toilet (instead of pumping it by hand!), doing laundry whenever we feel like it, running to the store for every little thing, and sleeping in a huge bed with real bedding (and three cats) instead of crammed in the forward berth in sleeping bags!
One thing that travelling to foreign countries always does for me is help me appreciate anew how blessed I am to live here in the U.S., and being without my "stuff," my pets, my family and friends only makes me enjoy them all the more now that I'm home again.

1 comment:

Alycia Sanders said...

Hi Deborah,

Thanks for the comment on my blog! I've done a bit of freelance work in the past and I'd love to do more, but I just haven't gotten any requests.

I was reading about your sea excursion, what an experience! I only read a few posts but am going to read more now!

Have a great day!