Sometimes, It’s the Little Things…

It’s Sunday morning and we are sailing along about 500nm and a third of the way to Antigua.   As a point of reference, we are at the same latitude as Jacksonville FL and 500 miles off shore.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but that’s too far for a chopper to get to us.  However, as conditions are expected to be very calm, it’s not likely that we will need their help. Having said that, I probably shouldn’t even bring it up as I don’t want to jinx our luck.

We are currently sailing and have been for the last few hours after motorsailing for much of the overnight hours .    I will say that we have been sailing a lot more than Chris Parker suggested would be the case, so we are pretty happy about that.

Yesterday proved to be a bit challenging, in spite of sailing a good deal, because we were hit by squall after squall for much of the day.  These squalls are not nearly as strong as those we see in New England where the thunderheads can reach up into the atmosphere for 15,000 feet and bring with them gusty winds in excess of 50kts.

In the tropics squalls bring some rain but rarely more than 15-20kts of additional wind.  In spite of the being relatively mild, it was a tiring day as we were constantly having to adjust the sails as each squall came over us and caused the wind direction to change dramatically, often going away completely before returning from a yet another direction.

Adding complexity to the day, we also decided to trail a line and managed to catch a Mahi Mahi, in the 7lb range, a nice fish.  I say “complexity” as we caught it just as a squall hit once again, so after we brought it aboard, I had the fun of “bleeding” it and then taking off the filets while being buffeted by wind and rain.  It took quite a while to finish the job, all the while trying not to cut myself as the boat made it’s way through the waves, confused buy the constant changing wind direction.

I have to say that by the time I finished cleaning the fish, tossing the “refuse” overboard and rinsing off the deck, I wasn’t in the mood to eat it at all.  However, a few hours later I baked one of the filets seasoned with Old Bay seasoning and made fish sandwiches.  It was quite good.  Tonight, perhaps  baked fish again but served in a soft or hard taco.

Here I am, with Jim peeking into the frame with our “catch”.

So, back to the title of this post.  “Sometimes, it’s the little things…”

Anyone who keeps up with my blog knows that I am inclined pretty much spill my guts (fishing pun not intended) and write things that would make me blush if I thought that someone actually was reading it.

It’s also no secret that the thing that I hate the most about being at sea is that I am away from Brenda, sometimes for weeks as I move Pandora south and north again each season.  And, now that we are spending our winters in the eastern Caribbean, those times away are longer than ever.

While it’s tough to be away, the part that I hate the most is not to be able to talk to her for a week or more.  Yes, I know that’s sappy and sounds a lot like that annoying stuff that people post on Facebook for their anniversary.   However, that’s how I feel, so there.

Well, today, 500 miles from shore I was able to talk to Brenda briefly compliments of Glen , a HAM, call sign KPK, that’s Kilo Pappa, Kilo, out of Florida.  Glen maintains the SSCA Safety and Security Net and is on the air at 08:15 each day on SSB 8.104, USB.  I have known that Glen is willing to do a phone patch for a while, but didn’t have the nerve to try it.  Well, I have gotten to know Glen through my work with SSCA so today I decided to give it a try.

It worked like this… I called Glen and gave him Brenda’s cell number, he dials the number on his phone and then patches the call through the radio.  As both Brenda and I are used to using the radio, we are fairly comfortable with speaking and when we are done using the phrase “over” to let the other party know that it’s their time to talk.

However, knowing that any radio call isn’t private and can be heard by anyone on that frequency, does make it a bit awkward.  Never the less, as I contacted Glen this morning to see if he’d do a patch, I have to say that it was a bit, well, more than a bit, emotional for me when he said “sure”.   Of course, when he placed the call, wouldn’t you know it, he got her voice mail. However, she called him right back and as I was standing by “ever hopeful”, I was able to speak with her.

While our call was, more or less, “so, how’s the weather” , it was a very special moment for both of us.

After hanging around Brenda for over 45 years, I still miss her desperately when I am away.   Ok, ok, call me a “Facebook sort of sap” but that’s how I feel.

Sure, making passage and being offshore in a small boat is a big deal, however, something as simple as hearing Brenda’s voice today was a very big deal.   Yes indeed, it’s the small things that matter and, sometimes it’s those little things that are the biggest of all.

And, as Rosanne Rosanadanna used to say, with a finespray of spittle coming from her mouth, “and that’s the truth”.

Perhaps I’ll just leave it at that for now as it’s almost time to make lunch.  Besides, while lunch is one of those little things, when you are hundreds of miles from shore, your next meal looms large.

However, as I learned today, not nearly as important as speaking, if only for a few minutes, to Brenda.

3 responses to “Sometimes, It’s the Little Things…

  1. George Hallenbeck

    Tracking but a little puzzled.
    6.57 kts ENE ?
    Glad to hear the SSB is up and working
    Looks like Bermuda is opposite you as well.

  2. Bob,
    While Sara ‘sails’ with me, I understand your pangs. Have you seriously thought about a SAT phone. My boat came with one, and it gives me great comfort knowing that I can both reach out, AND others can reach me. Think about talking 1:1 with Chris Parker with a severe low pressure system merging…
    Opua, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

  3. My hat is off to you Bob. Many would face a choice to pick either/or sail long distance or stay on shore and spend their lives in resentment. Sounds like you found a wonderful balance. Bottle it and sell it, you will make millions.

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