“There is nothing like a good night’s sleep,” I mumble to Mike as I cuddle up in bed next to him, my head a bit dull from the wine the night before, my shoulders and feet aching from god knows what, my legs and ankles scratched from head to toe.
Mike and I have begun to finish off each other’s thoughts, so we continue, in unison, “…and that was nothing like a good night’s sleep.”
Unfortunately, we say this much more often than we would like.
I’ve been living on this sailboat for almost six months, and have come to realize that living a simple life on a boat will not cure one’s sleeping issues. If you suck at sleeping on land, you are going to suck at sleeping at sea. It’s mostly different things that keep me up at 4 AM, but still I am up, wondering why I can’t sleep. Sometimes it’s obvious. The wind is screeching out there…will another boat drag anchor and hit us? This mooring we picked up, can we trust it even when we dove on it and it looked good? Why are we rolling so much…will the coffee pot stay on the counter? How did I get so many bug bites on my legs and ankles? It’s too hot. It’s too cold. The fan is too loud. Got to pee, again. Oh, and then there’s Kick ’em Jenny, the underwater volcano that may erupt on our way to Grenada this week. No worries though, it’s “unlikely to trigger a tsunami.” Unlikely? Hmmmm…
But then, there is morning. Mornings here bring new hope, new life, new energy. Mike and I pour our freshly brewed coffee (which did not spill over in the night) and have our first cup out in the cockpit. There is bright sunlight and a cool breeze. We look in every direction—the water is gin clear and the beaches are white sand. Turtles poke their heads out of the water for a breath of fresh air every few minutes. In the light of day, we consider how fortunate we are to be able to be so free and live in a place of such beauty.
Morning is when everything changes. Every new day brings new wonders, brings us peace, a sense of awe. Is it even possible to maintain a sense of wonder in the drudgery of everyday existence? It is so easy to find wonder here, living on the sea.
One morning, we jump off the boat with our snorkeling gear on and are surrounded by what must be millions (literally) of small silver, glittering fish. It’s like we are swimming through a mountain of moving molten silver pieces that clear a path for us as we swim through, arms ahead of us and spreading out, like we are parting the red sea.
We breathe in the strong easterly winds, which cool and tickle our naked arms and legs, the air clearing my foggy head.
We swim with the turtles, following them as they gracefully come up for a few gulps of air, and then swim down again to pick at the grass on the sandy bottom.
We see starfish littering the bottom of the ocean, and rays that bump the sand trying to find a comfortable spot to rest (I can relate…)
When we finally get out of the water, there is a cold beer—and nothing tastes better.
We see flamingos on the rocks by the sea, and flocks of birds riding air currents, mimicking the motions of brightly colored kite surfers flying up from the water beneath them.
We feel the strength and power of our bodies as we paddleboard against the current to the beach for a sundowner as the sun begins to set.
We look up at the sky just before bed. I don’t have the energy to get out the app and figure out the stars, but I stare up in wonder, one last time, before heading down to try to sleep.
Exhausted, I crawl into bed. It’s usually before 9PM. My head hits the pillow, and the worry begins…
…what exactly does “unlikely” mean?