The Winter Sea

The "Northers" were blowing in ernest now and high clouds from some far-off Pacific low made for some grey days.

Digging though the bilges, in search of winter clothes, I remembered I had brought them all home with me on our last trip-thinking we would be well South by this time.
We made do,  with hot water bottles after snorkeling and mugs of steaming tea in the mornings.
It was an excuse to dig out the baking pans and make breads and cakes to warm up the boat and Nana and the kids baked christmas cookies for Santa.

Nana was happy and so were the kids and it was lovely to have someone to distract them.
Jon and I were able to dive alone again-and now that he has a compass AND a dive computer, we can do it with confidence.
As with most things, Jon has taken to diving with his usual, hyper-focus and being alone with him underwater is exciting and relaxing at the same time.
I love to dive with the kids but not having to worry ( although Kai is likely a million times more adept than I am down there) sure makes me use up my air less quickly.

We had more dives with Manta and Jon managed to spear another Yellowtail so we were able to treat Nana to Sushi -Pura Vida style.

There were huge platters of Tuna tartar and Poke and Hamachi rolls and seared yellowtail. 
Terry and Dawn hit a motherlode of "Lion's Paw" scallops one day and were generous (as always) and shared their score with us. We made Scallop sushi and scallop Pad Thai, we made clam chowder with chocolate clams, Thai-style fishcakes with fresh snapper, and homestyle Japanese dinners with steamed whole fish in wasabi butter and green onions-needless to say, no one starved.

Christmas Eve Day, we deboned another turkey and stuffed it with homemade stuffing and tied it in a roulade and served it with gravy and mashed potatoes and a spicy cabbage salad. 

Santa managed to find his way to our lovely desolate anchorage and on the big day we woke to crystal clear skies and a main salon covered in presents.

ALL the grandparents found a way to deliver a mega bounty and old Santa saw fit to gift Kai a BB gun and Hunter a guitar- Pura vida now has a resident rock star AND a mercenary-no seagull will ever take a dump on our dingy again!

Manta came over with more presents and later that day, we had ANOTHER delicious feast on their boat.
It's always inspiring what other cruisers can whip up in their own tiny spaces- especially ones as great in the galley as Dawn.

Santa brought wimpy little me a  warm and cozy 7mm wetsuit and Hunter a nice new one and after presents we tried out our spiffy gear.
I swam beside my golden daughter,  through a rocky underwater labyrinth of an ancient lava flow, watching the filtered sunlight glinting off of her flowing mane.
She dove, down, down, down after large parrot fish, holding a new camera given to us by our friends. She now holds her breath longer than one can imagine is possible for such a little thing. She wiggles between tight crevices and pops out the other side, chasing the rainbow colored monster. 
The image of my little mermaid, swimming twenty feet down and looking back at me and smiling, while she points to a baby lobster hiding under a rock and then dolphin kicks back to the surface with fluid sylph-like grace-it's not your average Christmas day memory...but I won't forget it.

This Christmas brought yet another steep learning curve to my current, mid-life, by-polar-joyride.

I am usually a wreck at some point over the Holidays...and this year was no exception.
Even given the outlandish, unorthodox location for the actual event.
We were anchored peacefully in the middle of nowhere-but I had shopped and baked and decorated and planned and stressed just as much as I ever did back home.
I managed to make myself nuts for at least one entire afternoon.
I have such huge expectations of what I want things to be, what I imagine things should be.
Every year since we had babies...
I want to make it perfect, make it the best ever, I want Peace on Earth, I want a glowing halo of magic, I  want Santa to come...
I want every Christmas to hold every tradition, from blatant consumerism to ecclesiastical ecstasy.

Fortunately, everyone on my boat knows this about me-including my mother.
So when I begin to go a billion miles an hour, moving from one end of the boat to the other at the speed of light, multitasking with a duster in one hand and a baking mitt on the other, when I try to learn four new songs on the guitar and wrap every present like it's actually made by elves, when I expect the cover shot of Gourmet Magazine from my Turkey, when I want every moment to be ringed in a Hallmark glow-and end up in tears because I fear I'm falling short of that mark...
My family was understanding and patient and reminded me that it is what it is-and that it's all perfect-
And...It's just me who's bonkers.

Why is that? 

How can I be so happy and content and switched on and totally getting the whole Buddhist thing one day and then the next second, I'm the poster child for perimenopause?

I look over at the ocean surrounding me. 
This morning, as I write this, she's stretched herself out flat.
She lies quietly in the sun, like a great, languid, napping cat.
Not a thing in the world could disturb her, she's so calm.
But last night, she was certainly not the same beast.
We tossed and wrenched on our anchor line while our rigging whined and she slapped us with waves,
She hissed and yowled in the darkness...
It was a furious and sleepless night.

But this morning...
None of that remains.
All her wild energy was released and flew away with the wind.

I guess we are all affected, as the ocean is, by the elements around us.
Tides and winds, unexpected changes, self doubt and Christmas holidays can sure whip me into a frenzy...
But time and time again,
I have seen that when the wind lies down, 
the Ocean settles herself just as quickly.

I can't seem to maintain tranquility on a permanent basis-not yet anyway.
At least, not when faced with cooking turkeys and raising children and wondering what I might do for a job in the future.

Maybe one day, with a few more years of mediation, I will master these mental winds of mine.

But for now, I can try to take my cues from the teacher around me.
When I feel the winds and tides conspiring to make a madwoman of me,
I can look to the sunny day, to a snorkel with my daughter, drawing birds with my son and sleeping next to a man I love,
And then I can lay down and stretch out into that endless calm...
And maybe, one day, it'll last.

Making cookies

Megaladon tooth -from Manta

Rasta Man-ta


The Peeker

The Watchman

1 comment:

  1. Megalodon the coolJanuary 8, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    The more snow I shovel the longer in the tooth I feel. And YOU with all your fabulous adventures! BB guns and geetars and 7mm wetsuits on a sea like a napping cat! And about to sail off to the Revillagehoogemoogee!! Well, can you blame me for being a mite dysenteriospectical! If Kaijibootles and Hunkeljumps get to sway day every day on the pea-green soup why shouldn't I send them my ..... love.