Greece wasn't part of the original sailing plan, but when you have less wind than expected, you end up using your motor more than expected. When you end up using your motor more than expected, you end up using more fuel than expected. When you're using more fuel than expected, you need to adjust your plans to make a refueling stop, which is exactly what we planned to do. Yesterday. (Or rather, the night before that. When we got approached by the Greece Coast Guard. But that's a different story.) Our plans of stopping in Crete for a few hours - a day to check in to the country and refuel - were quickly disbanded when we were told that we couldn't enter Greece in Ierapetra because it wasn't a port of entry. And we needed a transit log. And there was a system coming in and the nearest port of entry was 40 nm away. So they filled up our jerry cans with diesel (as a boat in distress, Port Police is required to help do that, at the minimum), and off we went to Sitia, where I'm writing from now. Though there was an urgency for us to get to Sitia, the sail was pleasant. I took my first early evening shift and caught the sunset and moonrise--it was incredible. Even with the changes in our plan and the roadblocks we kept encountering, there's still this beauty to the sea, a calmness and stillness that will make even the most dire situations a tad bit better. And at this point, there really wasn't much for us to do except embrace the moment, and laugh.
So, how's sailing, you ask? Sailing is pretty cool--and complicated! I'm really lucky, insanely lucky, that I'm sailing with these guys. They are seriously amazing. Not only are they incredible sailors, but they're patient with my million questions, stopping to teach me how things work along the way. (Often time having to do it a few times because while I like to learn, it takes me a little bit to grasp things sometimes.) They give me chances to make my own contributions, minimal ones, at best, yet make me feel like I'm part of the team. Sometimes when I ask what I can do to help, it's simply to be supportive. When sailing, you're sailing 24/7, which means someone always needs to be on watch. My shift is from noon-3pm every day.
Why? Because it's consistent and it's almost guaranteed that someone else will be awake at the same time so I'm never 'alone'. When it comes time to raise the main or tack or jibe, I'll sit there, patiently awaiting instructions on how I can lend a hand. Sometimes they need it, sometimes they don't. Even when they don't, there's always something to be learned. It's quite beautiful actually, watching the two of them move about, pulling lines, talking back and forth--it's like a melodic dance where the two of them are incredibly in sync and graceful. They make it look easy. Yet when I get up to coil a line like they showed me, what looked like a rhythmic smooth motion when orchestrated by them turns into a clumsy amateur uncoordinated mess when I take the reigns. But instead of letting my frustration get the best of me, they'll stop me, patiently explain it again, and help me until my uncoordinated mess took on the shape of somewhat neater coils. Yup, I'm a lucky one alright.
Even with all of the learning and the great big sea and the fact that we're on this really cool bad ass boat, sailing isn't what people think it is. I think Chad put it perfectly when he told me the other day that sailing is cool and all, but it's really the anchorages that make it fun. I think I agree, but I'll get back to you with a more conclusive answer. For now, I'm learning a lot, enjoying the journey, getting some reading done, doing a lot of writing (journaling/blogging/letter writing) and getting in some thought and reflection as well. I'm taking things as they come, finally forcing myself to enjoy the moment, confront challenges as they appear and let the rest just be.
For those of you wondering, yes, I did get seasick. It wasn't as bad as I thought (I was really sleepy and threw up twice). Not bad considering I never did end up taking the Dramamine I bought. The toughest part was not having an appetite or thinking I could keep water down, putting me at risk of getting dehydrated, which would just make things worse. Fortunately, by day 3, I was feeling much better, my appetite returned and I was able to eat normally again. We'll see how the rest of the seas treat me. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best, right? Right.