Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sailing Away

Winter is a killer. That's a sad, sad fact. Obese people wrapped in Snuggies, rolling off the couch as they reach for the remote, tragically smothering in piles of Pizza Hut boxes. Happens all the time. Or maybe just to me and Rick.

But, really. Winter? Why??

There are three perfectly good, totally sweet seasons…why do we need that nasty fourth? Shuffling into our basements in its shabby gray rags, coughing, sneezing (without covering its mouth), whining about the heat and dimming the lights every time we leave the room.

Ann Vanderhoof is from Toronto, so you can imagine the mess her winters dragged in. Her partner, Steve, made the first move. She chronicled it in An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude

His solution was thrown out casually—just another sensible suggestion, like telling me I should crank up the thermostat when I complained about the cold. “So let’s take a break and sail south to the Caribbean for a couple of years,” he said.

And so began their Five Year Plan, which had morphed into the Seven Year Plan by the time they weighed anchor in Lake Ontario, heading east to the Hudson, leaving winter behind.

That Ann was not a sailor thrills me. (Me neither!) That she was not independently wealthy comforts me ( Me! Poor!). And that she was kind of afraid, but still game, well, I find that very encouraging. (Afraid? I LIVE in fear!)

She tells of waiting, stalled by weather, in the harbor at Key Biscayne, Florida for eleven days, watching for a window. Finally, on a Friday, despite the infamous Superstition of Friday, they left port.

“Perhaps that’s why Receta snags a lobster trap on the way into Alicetown, Bimini. Of course, we don’t know for sure that’s what it is – just that we are entering a strange harbor, on a falling tide, in an unfavorable wind, with the current against us, a shallow sandbar on one side and rocks on the other, and suddenly it has become almost impossible to turn Receta’s wheel.”

Now that is gripping literature! Two years of that sort of drama? Count me in!

Is sailing away for years at a time part of our getaway plan? Who the heck knows? The image of Rick screaming “Hoist the boom!” (or whatever) while I bail heroically on the big, snarling ocean fills me with terror. But man-o-man, it sure is fun to contemplate.

And leaving that fourth season behind? Where do I sign up?

Like the other getaway resources I’ve featured (The Grown Up’s Guide to Running Away, HomeExchange.com, ExpatWomen.com), Ann’s book starts my tummy rumbling with anticipation for our own “So let’s take a break and…” story.

2 comments:

Bylandersea said...

Here'a another book you may enjoy "A Trip to the Beach" by Melinda and Robert Blanchard. They move to Anquilla and start a restaurant.

Nancy said...

Thanks Deb - this is one of my favorites, and it has the added benefit of being well-written ;-) Also made it really clear that restaurant work is best left to someone else, anyone else but me.