Even long distance sailors have everyday lives

NOVEMBER 18th, 2016

We have, almost without noticing, spent more than a week in Las Palmas. It's probably about time to realize we've become proper long distance sailors. Both time and everyday life has changed as concepts. It feels like we just arrived and that we've been here forever. We try to combine taking care of Paloma, socializing and other things we want to do. All around us, boats prepare to sail across the Atlantic. The ARC starts Sunday, and most long distance sailors never tire from sharing experiences of provisioning, navigation, weather, sails or other boats. We can't get enough time with the other boats, we are already dreading the goodbyes. Especially to our favorites: Marlene, Babette and Hakuna Matata. The days disappear faster than we notice.

We've got a double set of everyday lives. At sea, while underway, the days string together almost like one long day. One of us has to be awake to make sure we go where we want to and don't crash into other boats or run aground. When Elise and I sail by ourselves, that means half day on shift and the other half asleep, divided in to, three, four or six hour shifts. We see each other twice daily for meals and when one wakes up and the other falls asleep.

We both cherish the hours alone on shift. We stare endlessly at the ocean, the skies, stars, moon, sun, waves, birds. We read, and disappear into their worlds. We write diaries and try to make sense of all the feelings. We text family, friends and new acquaintances on the satellite tracker. We trim the sails, course, try to make it more comfortable to be underway, get where we're trying to go faster.

It was revolutionary for us to divide the day in three, while Vilde has sailed with us. Eight hours on shifts within a 24-hour period, instead of twelve, reduced our need to sleep from ten-twelve hours down to six-seven. All of a sudden, we spent time together during the days, to talk about the experiences and share discussions without final answers. Even though we've loved being underway just the two of us and all the alone time, this was so much better. Luxury. We got enough alone time during the nights to appreciate time together during the days. I'm grateful we'll be three on board for the upcoming passes as well.

When we set sail, it's always good to the at sea again. And each time we are more comfortable and less insecure. We know what we're in for. We know what to expect. We know the rhythm. We know what we like to eat, what to snack, how much water and sodas to drink. When we get to land, it's exciting to have ground under our feet again. However, at land there are conflicting needs and wants. Elise sleeps more than I knew anyone could, and I can hardly sleep at all. We want to discover the place we've come to, maybe get to know someone local? I get stressed, scared to not get to experience all the places. We spent a week in Porto and went into town three times, in surfer town Peniche we forgot to visit the beach till s/y Mila reminded us to, in Lisbon we didn't visit any sights. We don't always use the opportunities for discovery and adventure, instead we lay flat on deck. And our new friends, almost without exception, are all long distance sailors.

While at land, we also have to take care of Paloma. Todos and upkeep. While Vilde was here, she got frustrated with us. We spend more time complaining about all the stuff we know we have to do, than we do actually getting stuff done. I think that might have happened sometime between getting the most important stuff done and realizing the todos never shrink below one full page.

Our everyday life also bear traces of our very limited space. At sea, our whole world is confined to Paloma's 31 feet, 9,42 by 3,08 meters. There, we don't need more space. Paloma handles the waves and wind like the hero she is. We notice it better at land, and wish our ship was a little bigger. We don't have enough space for everything to have their own space. Maybe we have too many things? While underway the fore peak, Elise's bedroom, become storage. Sails, water containers, boxes with stuff. Safely back at shore, all of that has to be rearranged before she can reclaim her bed. It's an endless puzzle. An endless mess. During the past few days, we've gone through our clothes. It's time for the wool underwear and knitted sweaters to be stowed in air tight containers and for clothes we don't wear to be discarded. I wonder if we ever get organized, or if it ever stops bothering us that we're not.