Sunday, July 3, 2011


This week Brian sat in the cockpit sewing webbing onto the end of Eloise's safety netting. The strings on that netting feel like small threads to hold in this life that we love so much.

The safety netting will be hung on the lifelines of the boat…more strings to hold her, and us, in.

From sails to halyards, from engine hoists to electrical wiring, so many of the securities of this boating life are fabricated with strings and cords and threads. This reality occurred to me this morning after a night of nursing a sleepless baby with tummy troubles. My sleepiness makes the frailty of our tiny floating universe more salient. None of those lifelines would have made a bit of difference if Eloise had been quite ill.

Nomad is 45.something feet LOA (length overall). The fiberglass, brass, bronze, wires, hoses, paint and strings that move us through water and time are tended to daily by Brian. That's how boats are. That's how all of life is, it tends toward decay, even if we fight to maintain. A vivid example: we hiked up to a resort touted as an "excellent dining experience" in one of our cruising guides. All that we found were two cement water tanks and a small slab of tiled cement with a toilet sitting on it, entwined with vines, overgrown fruit trees, and spider webs. That resort used to be someone's livelihood, now it is almost gone, destroyed by the jungle.
These structures we entrust our lives and our family members' lives to - whether boat or house or other establishment- are easily overrun, easily taken from us. Some days they feel fragile, these safety catches, and other days we rest in them confidently as if they would last forever.

Two days ago, Brian assisted a sailboat with engine trouble as it was towed into harbor. He came back and said, "I guess we're pretty lucky that hasn't been us yet." It's true, Nomad has crossed the Pacific easily, with much good weather, and minimal breakage to parts. When we sit around with other cruisers comparing crossings, broken gear stories, etc, we very much realize that our journey to this point has been unusually simple. It could be luck, but luck is also a frail, unreliable safety net.

I have come to believe that the prayers of our friends and family are more powerful than the strings, the fiberglass, the luck. Not because we are special, not because we deserve it, but because people have asked God on our behalf for safety and for him to take care of us, he has. I'm grateful today for the continuous kindness of God and for the ongoing prayers of our friends and family.

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