Culebra is one of the Spanish Virgin Islands. Matt estimates the sail from St. Thomas is about 5 hours. The weather is unsettled and will be for the next 5 days. Our initial departure date was Feb. 1 so we are behind schedule. It’s going to be rolly with 6-foot waves and 25 knot winds but we decide to go anyway. Matt has seen the boat in 50-knot winds and is not concerned. It’s been a while since we were underway and I’m so preoccupied with getting the boys settled with breakfast and Sea-Bands, stowing things, closing the top hatches, etc. that I close some, but not all, of the side portholes. We pull up the anchor and, as we leave, I get hit twice with spray. Matt sees me scowling and I say that I just had a bucket bath the night before and was hoping to stay clean. Plus, I’m wearing my favorite shirts and t-shirt that
were just washed. Salt water can be an issue on boats because it doesn’t really dry – it stays tacky and damp and uncomfortable. I can see Matt inwardly roll his eyes (what kind of sailor doesn’t like to be salty?). Later in the day, we are all up on deck when I remember something we need to get in Puerto Rico. I go down below and sit on the settee and pull the small notebook from my purse. I’m literally there for a total of 2 minutes. In that span of time (and it’s the only time it happens during the entire sail), a huge wave comes crashing over the side of the boat and directly into the side porthole below which I’m sitting. Gallons of salt water pour in over my head, drenching me, half the settee cushion and the floor of the cabin. I sit stunned – still not quite believing this has just happened. It does not feel like a scene from a movie, but rather one from a cartoon. I stand up and, as if from a distance, I can see that I have two choices: to laugh at the utter hilarity of the situation (which a more
advanced soul would do) or to flip out. I flip out and loudly let loose with a word that rhymes with ‘luck’ (said at least 5 times to ensure the boys learn it properly). I probably look like a cartoon character … head about to explode or blow off. I slide my way across the wet cabin floor to the companionway and go up on deck. The boys’ eyes are huge as they struggle to understand how I could possibly have gotten soaking wet down in the safety of the cabin. I stand there, dripping from head to toe. Matt looks at me, wisely choosing not to laugh. I sit on deck trying to dry off and wondering what the Universe is trying to teach me. Get over the saltwater thing? Don’t expect things to be perfect? Loosen up? I can’t figure it out and give up. Matt and I sit up on the mid-deck while the boys go below to lay in their berths and combat seasickness. I can finally laugh about getting wet and Matt and I talk about the upcoming passages (beyond the day sails, there will be about six 24-36 hour overnight sails). He didn’t sleep much and says he is tired. “What keeps running through my head are the lyrics from that country song ‘you’re gonna miss this …’ I say to him. We sit up on deck and sing it together. It’s a cool moment. Later, I am emptying out my purse because it too got soaking wet and needs to be rinsed. In a pocket I never use, I find a sizeable check given to us as a Christmas gift. I had completely forgotten about it. So … as for the salt water soak (or anything else in life), … Good? Bad? Who knows.