It’s hard to write about the sensory experience of sailing when sitting at the boat yard. The beeping alarm of a loading truck backing up, the smell of diesel and paint fumes, the blistering sun on my darkened and dusty skin. Wax in between my fingers. Acetone deep in my nostrils. This is the sensory experience of the boat yard. The dirty yet real side of boat maintenance “on the hard” that is mandatory to sustain Bravo out at sea.
I close my eyes in hopes to be transported back to a calm, pristine and isolated day at sea as a truck whizzes by blowing up a cloud of dust in my face. I’m sitting in a tiny shaded corner next to the Vuda Point Marina laundromat. There is a 4 hour wait ahead of me so I can pay $8 for one clean load of laundry. The tasks of paradise.
They say that after days out at sea, you can smell land as you approach it. It’s true. After 19 days and 8 hours, we approached the Marquesas and they smelled like flowers. Tahiti smelled like French bread. There are days where the Pacific Ocean honors its name and the trade winds push you along at a steady pace. You move with ease, settling into the gentle motion. The breeze envelops you.
Uninterrupted days at sea mellow the mind and heighten the senses. You become so attune to your surroundings that you notice the subtlest of changes. The gentle flap of fluttering sails. The sea slaps on the side of the hull producing the most soothing lullaby.
Now I hear a cacophony of birds, momentarily interrupted by the high-pitched sound of plastic-against-plastic, reminiscent of a fat guy in a rubber leotard squeezing into a raincoat. It’s the fenders on our starboard side as they squeeze against a massive catamaran, dwarfing our existence. We are on a slip at Vuda Marina, back on the water. One more day of boat work and we’ll be back at sea. I can’t wait!
The Pacific Ocean, honoring its name