January 27, 2015 – Bahamas
Thomas Wolfe says you can never go home.
That is, unless “home” is a mobile home (i.e., a sail boat).
Coming home to Blue Moon is the most amazing feeling. Yes, she’s small (though for my birthday last fall she held no less than 80 people and she keeps finding room in her holds for my innumerable purses and flipflops). Yes, sometimes she smells (but nothing an aromatic candle and bottle of bleach can’t fix). And, yes, she rocks and rolls when the sea is rough (and sometimes when it’s not, wink wink). But she feels more like home than any apartment I’ve ever rented. It’s our bed (not the overly soft airbnb bed we’ve been failing to sleep on for the last two months). It’s my favorite green tea tucked under a ledge in the back of the galley. It’s the salon, cockpit, forward berth and dinghy where Jason and I fell in love. Blue Moon is home.
Coming home to a boat can be a treacherous affair. When we came home to Blue Moon in November 2013 at the docks of Bimini Resort World, she greeted us with a bilge so full of water the floorboards were almost floating. It took us two days to pump her dry, and another two to hose off of all our stuff that had been swimming in salty bilge water for weeks. (By us, I mean Jason, because I was trying to get a deal signed remotely.) When we came home to Blue Moon in Hope Town Harbor in April 2014, she greeted us with an entire bank full of (irreplaceable) dead batteries. We spent four days reading books on circuits and currents, and running the engine to keep the boat running. (That time, we were joined by Alexa and Arthur, who were good sports about the non-romantic, non-luxurious weekend we hobbled through.) This time, we came home to a fuel leak in the brand-new dinghy engine and a pair of flip-flops covered in mildew – not bad in my book. Blue Moon must be glad to see us.
Blue Moon currently calls Hope Town home. After a long drive through the snowstorm from Jason’s parents’ house in Brick to the Newark airport, two flights and a taxi ride, we sat at the ferry docks in Marsh Harbour enjoying the warmth and sunshine and a Kalik (Jason’s preferred Bahamaian beer) and Sands (mine). I realized we had no idea what time it was or how we were going to get from the Hope Town dock to our boat hanging on a mooring in the harbour. The reality of having left our iphones (and my blackberry!!!) stateside was setting in. But as we were crossing the Abaco Sea to Hope Town Harbor, the ferry captain approached to let us know that Truman would meet us at the lower dock. Of course he would. Truman is the town’s caretaker. He tends to Bobbie and Ed’s house and boats (and just about everyone else’s on the island), he tended to the lighthouse (one of the few remaining hand-wound lighthouses in the world), he is a member of Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association, he is a lay minister in the town church and, for the last two winters, he’s tended to Blue Moon. Leaving our boat, even for just a day, is always hard. A dock line could break, a fender could pop, Keith Cooper’s tiki bar roof could fall over onto our boom and shrouds, Marty and Hernan’s inflatable zebras could invade our decks. In Chelsea Piers, we were blessed with friends like Antonio and Diego who would keep an eye on her. Here in Hope Town, we are blessed with the very capable, completely trustworthy, and unimaginably soft-spoken Truman. He makes coming home to Blue Moon a pleasure.
So we’re settling into home, stowing our four oversized suitcases’ worth of stuff in holds, provisioning at the local grocery store, and getting used to being off the grid and back on the boat. We’ll go to land shortly to go for a run and get some internet. Then hopefully a sail to shake out her sails?!