Ah, the fine sensation of a quiet boat and flat water. The boat has not felt this peaceful in maybe years. We have landed! Huzzah! But due to the intervention of Mother Nature and her twin winds North and West which came in today with the joint force of a gale, we have been diverted from our rhumbline to Cape Flattery. Instead we find ourselves, with the gracious permission of Canada’s Coast Guard, here in a little cove called Klaninnick on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Instead of high tailing it home, we now find we are in a position to coastal cruise down Vancouver Island, a lovely transition from our feral lifestyle on board.
It came to me yesterday as I was taking photos of sea otters cracking mussels on their chests, that this was a bigger issue than I gave it credit for, this return to what we as a country have decided is civilization. I was sitting up on the boom with a great view of otters and seals periscoping their heads up to spy on us when the realization dawned on me: I wasn’t wearing any pants. What am I now, an animal? We are accustomed to being alone out here, or with other long distance cruisers who are also probably not wearing pants, that our ways have become less than what would make our mothers proud. We live as one with nature’s creatures, I guess.
With a sigh most heavy I slid down the dodger and put on my sweatpants. My heart was burdened. I know yours must bleed for me.
Today dawned beautifully blue and cloudless. Somewhere outside this cove the winds are raging and the seas have built angrily, but we are not out there. I am giddy with relief about that. Good work, Team Galapagos, on seeing a bad situation brewing and making a good decision early on to deal with it. I could have gone on like this in my mind, going over the decision two days ago to change course, getting a little puffed up with gratitude , but my thoughts were interrupted by a terrible smell. What the hell was that? Was a whale in residence? Did a sea lion come to join us on the aft deck? Sniffing the air, pirouetting on the aft deck, the source escaped me. Yet, there it was.
Was it me? I sniffed my shirt. Hmmm. I couldn’t tell if it was the shirt, which overall still smelled slightly of Mexico’s version of ‘clean smelling’. For the uninformed, Mexico’s laundry detergent, which every laundress uses unless you bring your own, has a distinctive smell you cannot miss. It’s subtly clinical with a heavy overlay of grandma’s floral bath powder. It may be an acquired taste in scents but, by God and his minions, your clothes will have never been cleaner. No dirt can stand up to that detergent. I love that smell. It means my laundry is clean, folded, and crisp and I didn’t have to do it myself. I already miss it. The shadow of that scent lingered in the fabric of my shirt. But there was something more, something earthier, more organic.
This smell that interrupted my train of thought was not that smell. I had showered long and luxuriously last night, so it couldn’t be me, could it? I licked my arm. Not salty, so that’s good. Then I tasted my shirt. Salty. Actually disgusting. When I removed the offending garment the smell wafted over me and that’s when I realized that my standards had sunk to an all time low. Raising my arm I gave myself a good sniff and reached for the deodorant. Apparently one shower was not enough to manage the stress hormones of the last few days of the passage.
The shirt was too disgusting to go into the laundry basket so today became laundry day. I gathered underwear from the basket and then scanned the boat for shirts and towels to be washed. Again, each item got the lick test. Salty? Not salty? No, I did not and do not lick underwear. Come on! Even animals have standards. No. Just stop.
I have to wonder just how long it will take before I stop licking skin and clothing to see if it’s clean. Our sailing-in-our-underwear days may be over for now, but I worry it’s going to take more than having to put on clothes to drive the feral self back underground. The feral self is pretty happy out here overall. It’s going to be a shock to put her away. So landing here on Vancouver Island and giving ourselves a little transition time works just fine for me. Sea otters and seals? Yes, please.
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