Position: 37°55'N, 43°27'W
Halfway across the Atlantic Ocean, we celebrated our fourth wedding
anniversary on Thursday with a bottle of Chianti and a bag of Tayto
crisps while sitting on the deck in the sun.
No doubt about it, crossing an ocean on a small boat with your husband
or wife brings a whole new meaning to the 'for better or for worse'
clause. Every time you open your eyes, they are the only person you see.
Every time you open your mouth, they are the only person who hears. They
are your cook, your doctor, your only option for social interaction in a
floating room for weeks on end so it pays to make it work.
We've learned to communicate in different ways, generally minimising the
verbal. Like the Skipper's monotone 'uh-huh' after he wakes at 4am,
which tells a caffeine-filled First Mate that he's not quite up for a
chat. Or the First Mate's raised eyebrows that say "How exactly has this
improved my life?" when the Skipper excitedly tells her how he has
replaced a screw/bulb/belt. With both of us living the same day every
day, there are only so many questions to ask and we no longer even speak
in full sentences anymore e.g. What would you like...? Shall we check
the...? Have you seen that...?
We've learned to take responsibility for different tasks, and work to
our physical strengths and talents. Ever the Equal Opportunities
Advocate on land, the First Mate finally accepted that some tasks (like
reefing a sail in 30 knot winds or going overboard, mid-ocean, to check
the hull) are best left to the Skipper. Instead she has channelled her
energies into – shock, horror – the galley, shoeing away intruders with
a wooden spoon and mutterings of mess-making and 'my kitchen'. She isn't
quite the perfect little housewife yet but the Skipper is starting to
think another ocean or two might just clinch the deal.
With no TV, internet, deadlines or expenses, you would wonder what else
is left to argue about but even the simple life has its moments. We do
have the occasional disagreement and there are times when even a boat
twice the size would still be too small –walking out the door and
slamming it behind you doesn't quite have the same effect when the only
door leads to the head (toilet)! However even in the heat of the moment,
it's difficult to forget the fact that we are in the middle of nowhere
and all we have is each other. Arguments are resolved quickly and soon
forgotten as we move on to the next challenge the boat or the ocean
throws at us.
It has been a year of marriage like no other and who knows, at this rate
we may even still be speaking to each other when we reach our destination!