It’s early evening on Monday, August 1st and I’m sitting in the cockpit looking out at the Vasamuseet which dominates the skyline looking north from Wasahamnen. I’m back on the boat after six days R&R – if that is the appropriate term – at our friend’s house north of Rimbo, about twenty minutes from Norrtalje. Their graceful and peaceful country home sits on over an acre amid the rolling fields, forests of pine and birch and pristine lakes which typify the Swedish countryside. It was lovely to enjoy a fully equipped kitchen, a bed that didn’t roll in the middle of the night, and reliable internet. Not to mention their long rolling lawn which unwinds to a glorious lake, complete with fishing dock and portable sauna. And their wine cellar is not bad either.
And yet I’m happy to be back on Arcturus for the last few nights before her decommissioning for the winter. Tomorrow I’m headed off to the Ramsmora batvarv (boat yard) on Ljusterö where the boat will be derigged, dismasted and lifted out of the water. Her engine oil and transmission fluid will be changed, her cooling system winterized and then she will be surrounded with an aluminum frame and covered for the winter, not to see the light of the day until June of next year.
Sitting here my mood is rather bittersweet contemplating the last two months I’ve spent on the boat. But I can’t also help but feel astonished that I’m still here after all this time. I first sailed into this harbor on June 5th and between now and then I’ve had three separate crews join me, in addition to numerous lay days in between spent exploring this fabulous city. Part of me feels very much that the party has now moved on and this is just the fag end (meaning cigarette butt, no gay slur meant or implied!) of a wonderful experience wherein all I have to look forward to is work and admin. And that the fun times are already gone. But another part of me is delighted to have these precious few hours to take stock of what I’ve done, where I’ve gone, and how I’ve turned what was just a dream barely ten months ago into reality.
In point of fact I’m still a little anxious about single-handing the boat to the shipyard – not the sailing, just the departing and arriving – an extra pair of hands for lines and fenders is always useful – but mainly I’m concerned that I get the details of decommissioning done right. If I make a mistake in winterizing the engine, for instance, I might have an expensive bill before I can go sailing next summer. But more to the point, I want to cover the boat up and walk away without a second thought. When I get back to life in California, I do not want to worry about the boat. I want simply to reflect on how I spent this summer, process my emotions and convictions and get on with my life. Perhaps in January I’ll start planning next year’s sail.
I’ve got perhaps one or two blog posts left in me before suspending this blog for the year. So please stay tuned.