Sunday, May 27, 2007

Big Galliot Cay, Exumas, Bahamas

0 nm
Wind: NE-E 15-23 knots, gusting higher in showers
Seas: 4-7 feet offshore

We’re cooped up on the boat, still. We missed the weather again this morning--it’s a tough signal to pick up on the VHF--so we don’t even have an update as to when this system is going to break. There was a prospective window opening tomorrow, but now we don’t know if that forecast held, so we can’t leave at dawn tomorrow morning. We would need to do that if we were going to try for it tomorrow, to take advantage of the tidal current and the night lee. We need to switch out our 130-percent genoa anyway before we leave and we can’t do that in heavy wind, so we’ll have to wait for the next break in the weather, which might be another week. I know it’s a good idea to wait for the swell to abate anyway, but I just don’t know how long I can wait here.

Tomorrow we’ll have been here a full week. It’s enough to make me screen. I keep reminding myself that God must be trying to teach me patience, but all I can see is a whole summer, months and months of waiting, stretched out in front of me. It’s supposed to be what I want, time to live, time to think, time to do nothing but loaf and write and become an artist, but all I can feel is the sweat dripping down the back of my neck and beading under my nose, pooling between my breasts, all I can hear is the howling, never-ending wind in the rigging, and all I can smell is the head, which has overtaken the boat.

It’s some kind of existential crisis: what can you do with nothing to do? All our CDs seem dated and tired, the ones we can get to play on our rigged-up (but newly wired!) old car stereo. We keep finding weevils in food we thought was clean. I get hungry and cooking food just heats up the boat. The dishes pile up in overwhelming heaps and never seem to get clean in the saltwater that’s almost impossible to draw in this wind. Our one bucket leaks. The head gets more and more disgusting, and our fresh water supplies keep dwindling.

All part of the romance of life on a boat, right? I keep believing that if we could just kick our butts in gear we could whip the boat into shape, clean and replumb the head, do some fiberglass work, insulate the icebox lid, touch up the varnish, repair old sails. All that work, though, requires resources we don’t have (like fixtures our plywood), or more space, even if it’s only deck space, which we can’t use right now because of the weather. I don’t know what to do about the head. I’m convinced it’s venting, if not outright overflowing out of the holding tank, into the cabin. Karl ignores it either because his nose isn’t very sensitive or because he doesn’t want to work on it (who could blame him?). He’s done working on it. I’d pay anyone a hundred dollars an hour to fix it. What we need is a completely new pump assembly and installation, but how are we going to afford it? Let alone find it?

It’s the elephant in our living room. The extremely stinky elephant in our living room. We don’t talk about it. It’s too painful and disgusting. The pump gasket now leaks, and sprays matter from the bowl onto one’s legs if one stands in front of it while pumping. I stand in the hallway (whatever the boat term for hallway is) to escape the spray, ignoring for the sake of my sanity where the spray goes when I don’t stand in front of it. I also ignore the green ring growing around the gasket. My nasal cavity makes up for my sanity’s lapse, though the scent must be killing brain cells, meaning that eventually I won’t have to worry about either problem. Even Ulysses is unbearable, although I sit above the holding tank, hour after hour, trying to make sense of the squiggles.

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