What a difference a week makes!

Learnativity

by Christine Kling

Bula bula! from Vuda Point Marina in Fiji. For my blog post last week, I wrote the headline, “What’s next?” I had finished my novel and in that post I explained how I was feeling somewhat at a loss as to what to do with my time and myself. I had no clue then that what was next for me was 3 flights and 19 hours of travel to get from my boat in Merritt Island,  here to the island of Viti Levu where I am joining a boat for the roughly 2000 mile passage north from Fiji to the Marshall Islands. But when this opportunity presented itself, my refrain changed from “What’s next?” to “Why not?”

Yes, I know, the friends and family who learned about this trip in the last few days were all shaking their heads and wondering at the wisdom of flying three quarters of the way around the world to go sailing on a boat with a fellow I’ve never met. I get that, but hey, life is a risk. I don’t want to be sitting around someday saying to myself, “If only I’d taken that chance.” I love sailing and I’ve had a hankering lately to get back to making some long passages. Part of the Write on the Water philosophy is that if you don’t go out there and grab life by the throat you won’t have nearly as many good stories to tell.

Vuda Point boatyardSo, here I am. The boat is the sailing vessel Learnativity, a 52-foot steel cutter-rigged motor sailor built in Victoria, British Columbia and launched in 1994. The captain Wayne has been sailing singlehanded with his sweet little dog Ruby since his departure from the San Francisco Bay area in 2008. And he has been a reader of this blog, so that says he must be of good character, right? In fact, he’s been quite the gentleman, and as two experienced sailors, we settled right into the jobs of getting the boat ready to go with a short trip to the fuel dock and a tour of the boatyard. They are prepping for hurricane season here and the sailboats in the yard are put into these holes dug into the ground to accommodate their keels. There are no stands, they just rest on the tires on the ground, so there’s no way they could blow over. I think it makes the yard look like it’s full of dwarf boats.

MarketYesterday, we traveled all around various shops, markets and grocery stores getting the mounds of provisions for what will be a good three week sail when a few stops are factored in. Given that the last time I was in Fiji was in 1976, it has been quite an amazing experience to see how this country that once had village-life as the predominant culture has entered into the 21st century. There are now more cars than carts on the roads and electronics from cell phones to computers seem to be as common as they were in Thailand and the Philippines. The one thing that hasn’t changed though is the smiles on the faces of the Fijian people.

Wayne has a satellite phone, so I should be able to send in my weekly blog posts (no pictures, though). Like this post, however, they may come in at any point over the weekend. So I will do my best to keep you all updated on this grand adventure that will hopefully feed my need for long passages and new adventure stories.

One last word. Several years ago I was invited to a library luncheon in St. Pete at the fancy Don CeSar Hotel. It was a literary tea with the requisite finger sandwiches and I sat at a table with a crowd of lady library patrons. The head of the woman on my left only came halfway up to my shoulder and her face was thick with pink powder. She smiled and introduced herself then leaned in close to me and in a scolding whisper she said, “I’ve read your books and that Seychelle character of yours — she’s reckless.” I thought about that comment for many weeks after that and finally, I went to the dictionary and thesaurus and tried to understand the word. Here are some words that are supposedly synonyms:

adventurous, audacious, bold, daring, venturesome; hasty, headlong, hotheaded, impetuous, precipitate, rash, wild; blithe, carefree, happy-go-lucky, madcap, slaphappy.

So you know what? I decided I didn’t mind Seychelle being called that and it turns out she’s not all that different from her creator.

Fair winds!

Christine

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About Christine Kling

I have spent more than thirty years living on and around boats and cruising the waters of the North and South Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Caribbean. I’ve written articles and stories for many boating publications including Sailing, Cruising World, Motor Boating & Sailing, and The Tiller and the Pen. When I was married, I helped my husband build a 55-foot custom sailing yacht. After launching her, we sailed through the Panama Canal to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands where we chartered for over two years. While in the islands, I received my 100-ton Auxiliary Sail Captains license. It was that sailing experience that led me to set my first nautical suspense novel, SURFACE TENSION (2002), on the waterfront in Fort Lauderdale. Featuring Florida female tug and salvage captain, Seychelle Sullivan, the first book was followed by CROSS CURRENT (2004) and BITTER END (2005). The fourth book in the series, WRECKERS’ KEY was released in February 2007. At the end of the 2010-11 academic year, I took the motto of this blog to heart. I quit my day job as an English professor at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale (just when they offered me tenure, I said no thanks and took early retirement). I was living the dream of full-time cruising on board my 33-foot Caliber Talespinner on my very tiny pension and whatever I made from my books having parted ways with the big publishing establishment. I self-published two books on my own: a small collection of four short stories entitled SEA BITCH: Four Tales of Nautical Noir and my first stand-alone sailing thriller set in the Caribbean, CIRCLE OF BONES. In 2012 I was offered a publishing deal with Amazon's mystery/thriller imprint Thomas&Mercer and they reissued CIRCLE OF BONES. The sequel to that book, DRAGON'S TRIANGLE came out in June 2014. And as for me, I'm no longer a singlehander on my little boat. I met Wayne Hodgins in 2013 and after a whirlwind Skype courtship, I flew to meet him in Fiji and we sailed a nearly 2000 mile passage to the Marshall Islands for our "first date." We now sail together aboard LEARNATIVITY, a 52-foot motor sailor with our family including Barney, the Yorkshire Terror and Ruby, the Wonder Dog.
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6 Responses to What a difference a week makes!

  1. Aggie says:

    So excited for you! I’ll be following along on the charts. Can’t wait to hear how the trip goes! Hope y’all have a great time!

  2. Helen Smith says:

    Wow! What an adventure.

    Looking forward to seeing you next year, Christine. Hope 2014 brings you everything you wish for.

    Fair winds!

  3. Have a wonderful trip Chris – look forward to pics when you get to the other side. Best from Janet. hugs, dave

  4. NanSea says:

    Being ‘reckless’, taking risks, grabbing life by the sheets and sailing off into the blue …. envious and thrilled for you! You have a true adventurous spirit and your readers, like myself, reap the benefits of your experiences through your marvelous musings. Fair winds, reef early, safety first.

  5. Sean Holland says:

    A woman with sand between her toes and far horizons to explore! Definitely kindred spirits. May you enjoy fair breezes and calm anchorages!

  6. Nick Chiappini says:

    I am not envious I am not envious I am not envious. Well , maybe just a little bit.

    Have lots of fun and stay safe!

Comments are closed.