Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Pittstown Point, Crooked Island, Bahamas

0 nm
Wind: SW 10 knots

We’re back to work today, after my triumph of blogging and picture-posting yesterday. (The pictures are all up, including pictures of the rigging and the house! Click on the Pictures link or go to my Flickr page.) Karl’s latest task is cutting lines in the concrete in front of the house, so he’s been working on that all afternoon. I even helped him snap some, using a chalk line.

He and Nappy went running around town again this morning, while I stayed at the boat--Nappy had Karl look at a plumbing leak at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation office, which they were able to fix. I guess Nappy’s not too worried about how it looks for Karl to be doing work around here. In fact, Karl’s basically turning into Nappy’s foreman. We already know of about five more projects that could be done--someone else needs lines cut in their concrete, another person needs tile work, someone else has a leak in their roof, there’s foundations to be laid and Nappy’s duplex to be finished and the Rev’s addition to be built... In short, there’s enough work here to keep us busy for a couple of years. It’s making it really hard to spend time doing the work we need to be doing for ourselves, namely, work on the boat. While we’re running around town fixing other people’s houses, the bottom growth on the boat is growing as long as a beard, our sails sit wrapped on the settee, the algae in our diesel tank throws parties. It becomes increasingly depressing just to spend time on the boat because of our (read my) lack of maintenance. It’s a catch-22. I spend time on land, doing things that are necessary, but in doing them I neglect the boat, making me less and less likely to want to spend time there. So then I spend more time ashore, making me farther behind on my boat tasks, which makes me less likely to spend time on the boat. Argh.

The wind doesn’t help. It’s been blowing from the west all day today, even though the forecast winds are from the east. We have absolutely no protection from west wind and swell, so it’s miserable to be out there. The boat’s bucking like a bronco right now--I can see it through the window. It makes it nearly impossible for me to be out there. That’s really our primary obstacle here. In San Salvador, Karl spent a ton of time ashore and I didn’t care. We had our tarp up, I was able to lounge in the cockpit or do dishes or bake bread in comfort. When Karl came home, I had a cozy welcoming boat for him. Here, after two hours on the boat I want to shoot myself in the head with the compound bow.

I know we shouldn’t leave. This is our first place where we’ve had any possibility of real work, not to mention shipping connections and friends and resources at our disposal. But the stress of not being able to be at home is really getting to me. Not only that, but I worry about the neighbors. All the time. They’re all extremely nice, but I worry about how it looks for us to be spending time here. This community is tiny, and everyone knows everyone else, and everyone follows what everyone else is doing. What if the rumor gets back to the owner? “Nappy had two dirty hippie sailors living in your house while you were gone.” Even though it’s NOT TRUE. It doesn’t matter. If the rumor’s started, Nappy could get in trouble.

I hate it. I hate the appearance of evil. The last thing I want is for anyone to think that Nappy doesn’t do a good job taking care of their houses. And the fact is, we’re taking great care of this house. Even though Nappy said we could--even though the other workmen do and Nappy does--I don’t take a shower here more than once a week because I feel too guilty. I don’t want my hair to clog up the sewer system, I don’t want to dirty anything. We’re so careful, but I know how it looks from the outside. And I also know that half the stuff we’re doing wouldn’t have been done if we weren’t here. Still, though. The tension is killing me. I don’t even care for ourselves, but I do care for Nappy. Is it all worth it? I don’t know. Yes, it is. I have to keep telling myself that it. It is, and we have to do it, and we’re helping Nappy. I think he might panic now if Karl abandoned him. There’s a lot of work left to be done.

I keep dreaming about sailing off to French Wells, the southern anchorage amid mangroves, where it’s dead calm and there’s beautiful beaches and we can dive and fish and do all the boat work we’ve been putting off. Where we can be ourselves, by ourselves, without everyone watching us every minute of the day. There’s no roads down there, though. We’d have a seven-mile dinghy ride to the nearest town. We couldn’t help Nappy, we couldn’t do email, we couldn’t call our families, we couldn’t get stuff shipped to us. It’s so frustrating. I guess work is stressful, always. We already knew that.

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