Feeling the cat-o-one-tale

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Listen here or….

Welcome.  A few years back I went with one of my oldest Buddies to the Caribbean to pick up his catamaran and sail it back to Australia.  That is a story in itself but not for publication.  The Cat did arrive back in Australia and I left it in Panama arguably missing the best bit, the Canal transit, the Galapagos and Polynesia and, for me the most important, the act of stepping off a boat having sailed the Pacific.  Ever since then I have had a deep inner yen to do that passage, I have lived it in my daydreaming and REM.  I also know I will die without doing it.  Dreams are funny things aren’t they?  When you are young you lack the experience, when you are middle aged you have too many responsibilities and when you are in the sunset years you lack the funds for they are committed to feeding you and caring for your collapsing body in those final year/months.  So are dreams unfulfilled something to be sad about or just a part of reality?  Of course it is easy to say ‘what the hell, you only live once, go do it and worry about the consequences later’ but by now you have reached the age of reason and responsibility, you cannot ‘desert’ your family, you cannot be selfish, you must be sensible and prudent.  So now I live that dream vicariously through You-tube.  I watch hours of debate about cat vs mono-hull, self-building and renovation, endless monologues about what it is like at a moment in time on a sea in a boat.  I have learned a fistful of tricks, I can fix a diesel engine and sew a mainsail or install lazy-jacks.  I can vital a boat for the three-month crossing, set a drogue in a storm, read grib files and talk on SSB.  But the odd thing is I could do those in the Cat I sailed on, I just didn’t think about them.  Now, as I watch the internet movies I am starting to understand just how much I actually did know or learned from that 1,500 thousand nautical mile trip.  The Pacific was just going to be the same but longer.  I surf www Apollo Duck and find, every now and then, boats that will do the job going for a song because of someone else’s problems but because I live in Australia, I am too far from the real world to get there.  Two grand to find out that a boat is not quite right is too much to ask the bride for and in any case by the time you sort out a trip, set up a survey and do all the right things another dreamer has grabbed a standby charter flight from Northampton and arrived in Greece in 6 hours and it has cost a couple of hundred quid…..return!.

My mate did another thing, he sailed back with his children, a boy and a girl, all grown up and going their own way.  The boat was the magnet that pulled them together for a while in an adventure they would all never forget.  That was, for him, the greatest gift of all and I get it.  They no longer share the dream and my buddy rarely talks about this trip any more but I turn to him every now and again after he has returned from his radiation therapy and we talk boats and what he would have done differently on that trip.  We both remember that is was very much a case of being the ‘trip’ rather than the places visited.  I didn’t much care for the Caribbean islands as most of their population was being diddled by the few that managed with money that poured off the cruise boats. But I loved watching the rollers lifting the back of the boat, the surfing down the front of the waves, the navigation and arriving where and when you thought you would.  I learned to live with the heat and found that holding onto things on a boat was 24 hour palates with the net result of losing 15 kilos and feeling fitter even if I did smoke then.

You cannot dream away those kilos and smells.  Google maps gets you anywhere without effort and who cares if it rains on a car.  I thank your God for my access to You-tube, my dream-weaver and look forward in high expectation to your video on your sailing adventure.

Such is life.  Until the next time, this is Brodie Goozée.

One thought on “Feeling the cat-o-one-tale

  1. Just wish you weren’t on the oth side of the planet. I’d love to have had your company to take Thonymel from here – A Coruna – down on into the Med.

    I never thought I’d get this opportunity to sail a boat and live on it – for nearly half of the year at least – which only came about because my father died and left me his house. Given the choice, I’d rather have had my old man still around.

    A great piece Brody – dreams and reality. As one gets older and has to adjust to what one cannot any longer manage to do or will not be able to achieve, the world of the imagination and dreams seems to become increasingly real and the borderline between doing and dreaming, increasingly blurred.

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