Monday, April 8, 2013

Settling In

Lily at the dock at Simpson Bay Marina, St. Maarten
I am starting to adjust to this new life of living on a boat.  I think the adjustment started to finally take shape when we finished with the bulk of organizing the inside of the boat.  Believe me, it wasn't an easy task... both the organizing and the adjusting.   I am sure that "learning to adjust" will be a continuing process for me.  For now though, all the pillows have been fluffed.  The towels have found their place in the bathrooms and Lily's play spot on the boat has been designated.  Life for me is finally starting to get back to normal.

The first week in St. Maarten I felt out of sorts as in, "What have I gotten myself into?"  I kept asking Martin, "Is this ever going to get fun?"  Because at that point, it had been all about repairs and then more repairs.  It seemed that once one problem got addressed, an even bigger problem reared its ugly head.  I now know way too much about rigging, e-Plex systems and O-rings.  Ok, not really, but all this verbiage seems all too common around these parts and I find myself getting way too involved in the conversation.  I heard that owning a boat is just, "...doing boat maintenance in exotic locations."  Funny to the outsider, but not so funny when I see this as my new reality.
Martin and our captain, David,
are always fixing and adjusting things.  
I write about all of this 'tongue and cheek' because I know it will get better.  I am starting to adjust to island life and learning to accept that things are just going to be different than what I am used to.  Lily and I have finally started to find a routine and I could probably drive you to any part of the island without getting lost.  I've gotten so good that I have found a few back roads off the main highway that can get me to where I am going a little faster.  I also know that if I buy something at the Ace Hardware on one side of the island, that I can't return it to the Ace Hardware on the other side.  AND don't plan on getting my money back—they will only give me credit.  I could get you to their equivalent of Costco (Cost-u-less) on one side of the island and know where to find a 220 volt power strip on the French side of the island.  For me, finding comfort means learning to get myself outside the gates of the marina and to explore and understand my surroundings.  So far, I think I have done a pretty good job.

Oh, and yes, you might have noticed that we are STILL in St. Maarten!  The reason is that St. Maarten is really the hub for boat repair and maintenance.  Once you leave St. Maarten, boaters don't have access to marina stores, electricians, riggers... like they do here.  So, we are staying put until all the major issues are addressed on Amara.  We are shooting to set out for the San Blas islands at the end of the week, but until then, we'll remain here continuing to get Amara in 'shipshape'.
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Last week, Martin ran into another cruiser family at the marina and they invited us to go to a beachfront restaurant to join them and other cruiser families for dinner.  It was actually a lot of fun.  They set up a movie on the beach for all the kids to watch while the parents sat in the restaurant and swapped stories.  I had some great conversations with other wives.  They couldn't wait to tell me what to expect and I couldn't wait to hear their opinions about sailing.  It was comforting to hear that some of the wives/moms are still trying to figure it all out.  A lot of the families have the same plan as Martin and me; which is to take off for a year and explore and be with their kids.  Some were very accomplished sailors and others are still learning the ropes.  What I learned is that it really helps that Martin and I have a very knowledgeable crew because it kind of takes some of the burden off us that some of these families are dealing with.

While talking to the other moms, the subject of diapers came up.  When I was packing for this adventure, I was under the impression that their are babies everywhere—naturally there would be diapers everywhere.  I brought with me maybe enough diapers for a month.  What I learned in the course of the conversation is that getting quality diapers is not as easy as I thought it would be.  One mom said that she had to go to 3 islands before she found diapers.  Of course, at that point I think I tuned out of the rest of the conversations because all I could think from that moment on was, "Buy more diapers!  Buy more diapers!"  The next morning I made Martin go with me to Cost-u-less and we purchased 800 Pampers diapers.  If I was asked to choose what my one luxury item would be (something that I couldn't live without), I guess it would be diapers. Martin is still convinced that there will be places along the way, but I'm not taking any chances.   We have tucked them all away in different little cubby holes throughout the boat, and now I can rest easy knowing that this won't be a concern during our passage.
A new world record of most diapers purchased.
Speaking earlier about how grateful Martin and I are to have crew with us—we love our new crew.  They are a super couple straight in from Australia and Martin and I have really enjoyed getting to know them these past two weeks.  Their highlight will come in the next few posts when I have gathered some photos of them.  Right now, with all the repairs and provisioning,  I thought it best to let them get done what needs their attention.

Also, now that Amara is starting to look and stay organized, I have gathered some photos of her for the grand tour.  It really has been fun (and tiresome) getting her ready for show and I will make sure to post some photos in my next post and show you around our new home.

P.S.  I hope you like our new blog design.  I am really happy with it and think it really reflects our family and this new adventure.