Saturday, January 10, 2015

Today is the good ole days

I've  had a good life. My mom and dad brought me up in a camping , hiking, pack mule traveling and eventually sailing cruising lifestyle. I was brought up with the adittude of if you wanted something you could not afford than build it yourself. Want to travel long distances on a Bycycle with an open time frame ..then do it on your own and not wait for a group to hang out with. This simple mind thought has  enabled me to just get things done and keep moving ahead. 
Looking back in time it's nice to have all these memories of places seen, things done and felt. Like the time when bycyling through the Grand Tetons in Wyoming at the age of 19 .I awoke in the fall morning haveing just slept in my down sleeping bag on top of a picnick table that night. The morning air was so crisp when poking my head out of this cacoon. My sleeping bag was completely frozen solid from my perspiration during the night. I was a popsicle outside with a warm inside.
I have been lucky many times in my adventures, from close calls from vehicles during my bycycle touring days, my hitchhiking adventures, hiking and backpacking trips to my singlehanded ,and offshore sailing trips. I've cheated death a couple times or as I like to put it I was not ready to die. So I never gave up and I'am still out here looking around the next bend to see what's there.
Today finds me in the Leeward island of Dutch St. Martin waiting for Rachel and our dog to fly in. This is a hectic place for a guy like me, but it's very dog fly in friendly so here I wait doing boat chores, some design commissions and ponder the present , the past and what the future holds in my sailing lifestyle.
The past is fun to think back on but it can never be recaptured. I still look back and forth to the present. We first sailed to St. Martin on the Hogfish 24 years ago with rachel and our young daughter Kalessin who was not yet one year old. We spent Christmas in Phillipsburg bay at anchor eating a can of smoked oysters and an avocado . We had sailed here to buy a duty free am radio. Life was so simple then. No email, Internet, GPS , engine, and not very many boats. We had just sailed from St. Bart's where we had splurged on a French pizza for $23.00 ! Yes it's always been very expensive there. A lot of miles have passed under our keels since then. lots of hard work getting ahead and staying ahead. This we have done as a simple couple not wanting more than we could afford making our kids a part of our rolling stone- vagabond life style. We just have kept on going with the many different opportunities that have come up and have delt with our daughters along the way finding entertainment when young and shore side schooling when older to get them involved in the locals life's. Both girls have excelled in  schooling both having won collage scholarships based on merit and grades. Growing up with a boat bum like me has not held them back. That was the good ole days.
Christmas Day 24 years go in St. Martin. Looking at a second main I'd made from Jim Melchors old Alerts mainsail.

The present brings me to having moved out of the Simpson Bay Lagoon to re anchor off the beach in cleaner water and not so much harbor traffic. I had anchored in a small shallow part of the lagoon to get away from all the mega yachts, and just yachts in general as I keep thinking what would happen if the Hogfish Maximus where to get loose and drift down on a half a billion in yachts. In the Bahamas and other farther flung anchorages I'am used to putting out 2-3 anchors with lots of scope. I call my big fishermans my breaks. Then I feel good about going out on adventures in the skiff. Here there are so many yachts , sailboats ,wrecks and just stuff about there is simply not enough room today.
Right now I'am anchored off the beach in what looks to be shallow water but is about 8' which is shallow for most boats here. It's very rolly and bumpy but I can see the bottom kinda and I could get underway under sail if need be so I feel better here. 
Since arriving here I've met up with some old sailing mates of ours . Some have gone around the world 
 for the third time since last talking. Our talk now is mostly about what's up with finding work, local crime, the rising costs of clearing in and out of ports and how many f#%king boats are anchored through out the worlds anchorages today. Work is still easy to find if you have skills and work ethic . Local crime is always there , just lock stuff up. The costs of clearing in seems to be a racket now as all these islands are within sight of each other with the locals running their boats back and forth with no hassles but for us and all the day tourists what a racket. 

I realize I'am an old fart cruiser because the growing number of fiberglass huge 55'-70' sailboats being run by retired couples that have had no previous sailing experience is overwhelming . These boats are new and are worth from $ 350,000.00  to  a million upwards . By my count I have seen since sailing in here the past two weeks at least 500 + and counting and trying to avoid. That's just sailboats not power boats .What amazes me , boats don't appreciate like land can so where did all this wealth come from? Wow. 

Now I realize I'am an old fart under achiever. Ha I'll stay simple and keep my freedom.

The wind here is ever present with rain squalls lasting only a minute or two. The locals are still nice and fun to talk to. Eating a huge meal where the locals eat costs  $5.00 with a beer. At the water front bars the food goes up but alchole is still the cheapest thing around. I like to go in the evenings to the St. Martin yacht club bar and watch the yachts go through the bridge at 5:30 opening.

From my observations in life I have noticed that if you really want to show the world how much money you have to spend then you buy a MEGA yacht. A trophy wife are a dime a dozen, a huge house nobody ever sees, the jet you flew in on is parked with the 60 other look alikes at the airport.
 BUT in  a big ole mega yacht every one can see and when it squeezes through the Simpson bay bridge your captain will sweat but you can look down on all the minions waving up at you.

That's why I like taking my yacht through the bridge .

Milling about waiting for the bridge opening. How would you like to drag down on that yacht ? Ah... Sir I can fix that.
If I anchor 100' away in the same anchoage as these yachts and eat at the same places, er maybe and see the same sights and breath the same air.. Should I consider myself a one percenter?
My skiff is the third one ... No it's the white one... No ... What was its name again?
They're everywhere! 
Cueing up to get through, I went last... Safer
Going through. I have a friends condom boat on deck. They will be here soon to get it.
Now that's my kind of yacht ! Life is good , three big box wines, grocerys, and the whole crew in a 6' rubber condom boat.
It's a bit more hectic here now  but I have some change in my pocket and time to explore the new realitys of the present. 
I do have to confess, I have a trophy wife , and very nice house, a yacht and I do get high once in awhile so no jet ,who cares,

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