08 August 2011

Long, Lazy & Life of Pi

Dear Readers: It has been a while. We left off last with emergency preparations and a well-provisioned sailboat for a Corsican holiday.

Fortunately, the extensive drills prior to departure were precautionary only. Nobody fell overboard. No emergency distress signals were emitted. The EPIRB rested firmly in its holder. Yes, we did see a whale on the crossing, albeit at a distance far too far away to smell. In short, the M-family made it back from Corsica intact– luckily still in the midst of long, lazy days of summer. And hence the reason for the radio silence - there’s just something about slowing down that makes it too easy to grind to a halt.

I must admit that being a self employed blogger, I have (am) the nicest boss. Sometimes too nice, in that there aren’t great repercussions if new posts remain unwritten. (O.K, my hits do go down, but hopefully that is reversible.) Said boss might wave a stick, but I know she won’t wield it too hard. All of which makes it difficult to get back to work. Still, the writing nags – a little conscience saying here’s an idea - you could write about this, you should write about that. A bit annoying, but I realize I missed blogging, and it’s been gratifying to hear from readers that they have too.

The sailing holiday itself was fun. Not the greatest-vacation-we’ve-ever-had-fun, but a good first trip that taught us a lot. It began perfectly - swimming and snorkeling in crystal waters, barbeques at sunset, nights anchored in quiet bays. Corsica ‘isle de beauté’ did not disappoint. 

The weather did. Deceptively at first – hard to believe that warm sunny days without a cloud in the sky could hide such menace. Menace known as Le Mistral. I didn’t realize our magnificent planet could generate that much wind without once stopping to inhale. It blew for almost the next ten of the total fourteen days. The resulting white-capped waves meant either we were stuck in port or one of us (guess!) was seasick.

It wasn’t all that bad – actually the first storm was kind of exciting. We found shelter in the tiny bay of Girolata, which looked almost exactly like the lagoon in Gilligan’s Island. Not a port but a protected mooring. Protected on almost 300 degrees – very unlucky that the wind blew straight from the 60 degrees facing open sea. The beach consisted of a couple shacks and a few surprisingly good restaurants. No Internet, sporadic cell phone, access by land only via two hours on a quad bike, which was highly NOT recommended for tourists. So we were stuck.

It was a bit of a shock, to say the least, to be so completely cut off. Our usual family pace, whether at work or play, tends to be pretty frenetic. And all of a sudden it wasn’t. No places to go, no sites to see beyond white-capped water and a small island inlet. We went on some beautiful hikes and ate a lot.

But we also discovered some ways to pass the time that seldom happen in the ‘connected’ world. Monopoly, for example, is great at whiling away the hours – though with all the M & A’s the M-men came up with, I’m not sure it was the game Parker Bros intended. The boys attempted the almost obsolete, classic boy art of whittling driftwood, and learned it’s maybe not the best idea on heaving seas. They even listened to me read aloud from Life of Pi, one of my most favorite books that I thought rather appropriate for our first sailing adventure. It’s amazing what kids will do when there are no friends around to bear witness. 

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