Wednesday, April 15, 2009

By-the-Wind Sailors

Have you noticed that the younger generation, the ones in their twenties and early thirties now, are such adventurous people?

My Beloved's daughter Sarah went on an exchange program to Germany in her junior year - of high school! - and returned speaking perfect, fluent German.

His daughter Katie went without a blink to Europe with her cousin Molly at the tender age of 17, knowing not a word of any of the languages they would encounter there, and traveled around for more than a month on a shoestring.

Young friend Jodie zipped off to Peru for a year after graduation and spent time high in the Andes helping Peruvians and sampling local delicacies such as guinea pig.

Fairy Godson Mark set off lightheartedly to explore Spain as a high school student and then took on Germany in college before he had much German to smooth his path.

My Fairy Goddaughter Pamela sky dives and loves it, as does her cousin Pete, who is also a pilot. These youngsters think nothing of adventures that I wouldn't dream of taking now, much less at their ages!

Last week, however, we had a visit from a young couple who have topped them all.

First, Jim built
a 30-foot wooden sailboat with his own two hands, including melting lead to pour the keel, bending the wood planks for the hull, and doing all the beautiful finish carpentry in the cabin. Then, to prove Carina was seaworthy, he set sail with a friend for Ireland! Carina is lovely but she doesn't have an engine, electricity, or refrigeration! They navigated with a hand-held GPS unit and a satellite phone, clear across the Atlantic and back again. He taught me that if you keep your beer in the bilges, it will be cooler than the ambient air. Did I mention that he sailed back alone?

He met Sarah somewhere along his travels and they decided to set sail together, so they sailed Carina from Cape Cod to the Virgin Islands, across the Caribbean to the Panama Canal, through the canal and out into the Pacific, down to the Galapagos Islands, headed for New Zealand. At that point, they heard that they would not be granted work visas in New Zealand, so they changed course for the Marquesas and ended up, finally, in Hawaii. Again, with just the hand-held GPS and the satellite phone, sometimes in legs that lasted up to two and a half weeks! I have it on good authority that one must be very careful when landing tuna for dinner as large sharks will take a big bite of your intended dinner and give you serious rope burns while doing so. I also learned that, when one is miles and miles out into the ocean, one need not wear clothing if the weather is warm enough - there is little risk of being surprised in one's birthday suit.

After living and working in Hawaii for several months, these two by-the-wind sailors decided to return to the Virgin Islands where they hope to put down roots. They sold Carina and flew in to town to stop with us on their way to Lake Tahoe, the Grand Canyon and points east. At dinner with us and Katie, they had their brains thoroughly picked by young Andre', who is dreaming of a circumnavigation of his own!

This amazing generation, I can't wait to learn what they accomplish with their confidence and their huge sense of adventure.

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Blogger namastenancy said...

What utterly amazing young people! Given the state of our poor old world, I think we are lucky to have such as these to navigate the treacherous waters of the coming decades.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009  

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