Got your life jacket (aka personal flotation device, or PFD)? One of the best parts of a boating vacation is time to read. Long hours bobbing gently on the water, lost in another world, with periodic times of looking up to admire the scenery.
I don't like to take library books on the boat for fear of loss, so I collect possible reading material for quite some time, from used book stores, friends, or the occasional new book. Here are some of the books I took along on this trip:
Britt Marie was Here (Fredrik Backman)
The Little Paris Bookshop (Nina George)
A Royal Pain (Rhys Bowen)
Totem Poles and Tea (Hugina Harold)
Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante (Susan Elia MacNeal)
The Death of Mrs. Westaway (Ruth Ware)
If You Want to Write (Brenda Ueland)
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper (Phaedra Patrick)
I'll See You in Paris (Michelle Gable)
and a few more. Lighthearted, easy reading, for the most part. On vacation, I read about a book per day. Oh, how I anticipated the reading I would do on this vacation. I read 4 novels in the first 5 days. It was delightful.
And then this happened....
I had been working in my sketch book, without my glasses, and decided I needed them. So I went to get them, and then tucked them into the front of my shirt to take a good look over the side of the boat (all sorts of interesting things float by), and quick as a wink, and almost as silently, my glasses slipped from my shirt into the water. We watched them disappear in about 2 seconds.
Reader, I was sickened. A huge pit formed in my stomach. My expensive progressive lenses were now being worn by a fish. Or a crab. Or something else that simply would not appreciate them.
"It's not the end of the world," I told myself. At least I can still appreciate the scenery, sketch a little, and take photos. Tim felt almost as bad as I did and he expressed it well when he said, "For you, reading is like breathing."
There was still another week of boating planned. What on earth would I do?
I did a lot of thinking. And a lot of looking at the scenery.
The Duke's words in Shakespeare's As You Like It came to me as I pondered life
"And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything."
The "sermons in stones" phrase was particularly meaningful as we chugged alongside immense stone cliffs rising like walls from the ocean floor. Such powerful forces created and continue to alter these formations, forces created by the Creator God.
That pointy bit above looks as though it were ready to fall off and plunge downward. Sights of earlier landslides, 50, 100, 1000 years ago were everywhere. The landscape is continually changing. I'm relieved it didn't fall while we were there.
The above photo is of Lacy Falls, now mostly dry. Fresh water in the Broughtons is tannic, or deeply stained by decaying vegetation in the forests. In turn, the water stains the stone.
Some of these rocky islets resembled huge sleeping beasts, prone on the sea floor, their backs curving above the water level, with a heavy growth of barnacles below the high tide line. Doesn't the above photo remind you of vertebrae?
I didn't arrive at any exciting breakthrough in my thinking, and I actually got so desperate to read by the end that I did manage, in small bits, to read another novel. I chose the largest and clearest font and had very strained eyes by the end of it, but it was worth it. I can't imagine not being able to read, and I'm so, so thankful for my eyesight.
As soon as we arrived where there was cell coverage, I called my eye clinic and made an appointment. The new glasses should be here next week. So it's been a week of not much reading at home, too. I do have a pair of very old lenses that help somewhat, but reading and computer work isn't very comfortable.
Lesson learned - get a strap for my glasses on the boat.
If you're still here I thought you might like to see my little galley. The shelf next to the water faucet folds down to create more space in the cabin. There's a sink, a two-burner propane stove, and a small oven. A few cupboards. On the other side of the doorway (the frame is just visible) is a chest freezer/fridge. For long trips we use it as a freezer, for meat, bread and making ice, and have a well-insulated cooler for a fridge. We change the ice daily and were able to keep milk fresh the entire time we were out.
We eat well. One day Tim caught a small halibut and cleaned it on shore while a mink watched him from behind a rock. The scraps were left for the mink and we enjoyed a delicious dinner of fresh halibut in Alfredo sauce (from a jar), sauteed zucchini, and cauliflower mash. We also have a small barbecue and cook much of our meat there.
In the late afternoon, when the sun streams down, we might go for a little exploration in the dinghy and come back to a cold drink. I brought along a pot of fresh herbs - mint, basil, and parsley. A little mint, muddled with lime, with a bit of simple syrup, topped off with chilled club soda made a refreshing drink.
I brought along a bag of frozen, raw, chocolate chip cookies and baked them one morning when we were waiting for the tide to change to enter a lagoon. What a treat to have with hot chocolate.
Here's one last photo of rocks - with a bear! He was heading off into the trees after foraging on the rocky shore.
Reading - is it like breathing for you, too?