Position: 19°35’N, 81°37’W – Governors Harbour, Grand Cayman
During the many months of planning for this adventure, we focused on the boat and what-if scenarios at sea. We gave little thought to our time on land during the year, imagining ourselves lounging in hammocks, cocktails in hand, watching the sun go down in beautiful destinations. The last thing we imagined was a difficulty in reverting back to life as we once knew it.
So after a few days on land, we were most surprised to find ourselves missing our baby Ashling and itching to get back on board. It was great to have free reign to drive around town, go out for coffee, catch a movie in the cinema or potter around hardware stores and chandleries (boat supply shops). However we found that instead of relaxing, we were actually becoming more stressed by restraints like opening hours, checkout queues, even the weather. We had to plan what to do, when to go where and how to go there.
We were also overwhelmed by the selection of things to do and struggled to make decisions on how to spend our day. We felt productive after purchasing something, even if it was just a $2 screwdriver – a dangerous thing in a country with a high cost of living. We got frustrated with ourselves when we realised we had spent half the day on the internet or watching TV, feeling we had wasted precious daylight. We felt that we were missing out on part of the day when we didn’t see the sun set in the evening or eat dinner outside.
Forgive us if this sounds silly but in our small world on board, we have everything we need, we decide when to do what, and we alone dictate the pace of our day. It has been quite unsettling and completely unexpected for us to feel like this on land, especially as we have looked forward to it for so long. We can now empathise with those sailors who extend their cruising plans for many years, delaying their return to a land life that they no longer understand. (Parents, friends and employers – don’t panic, we empathise but we’re not going to join them :)
We moved back on board for a few days to calm our confused minds and do some maintenance jobs, some which have been on the to-do list since before we left New Zealand. Like a car or truck, boats need constant attention to keep them looking and functioning as well as they can. Exposure to salt water and sunlight means that everyday materials like steel, plastic or fabric deteriorate quickly if they are not cared for regularly. We polished stainless steel, replaced loose screws and even got under the boat to scrub the hull clean.