I rolled a book, a Toña, and a straw into a small dry bag and clipped it to the center of our paddle board. I propelled myself on the cerulean sea toward an expanse of sand only visible at low-tide, where a handful of tourists had beached themselves on the sand. The sun was draped with shear clouds that lessened its intensity, making the heat and luster of the afternoon bearable; almost comfortable, in fact. I was craving a bit of alone time, and paddle boarding ashore was just the ticket.I detached the fin from my iSUP and dragged it into the drying sand. My inflatable raft became my personal beach bench. I abandoned my few belongings and wandered along the waters’ edge, admiring the pebbles strewn about by the retreated tide. Millennia of twice daily shifts had massaged the stones into marbles, like the ones landlubbers place in the bottoms of large fish tanks. I gathered up four, curious to see how their colors might change if given a few minutes for their salty bath to evaporate.
An ant scurried on my empty green dry bag. I shook it off. Two lemon-winged butterflies tumbled and twirled across the beach, winding and whirling toward the sky as they neared the lush, tropical forest that encircles the beach. My beer was no longer cold, but the texture of the carbonation in the back of my throat felt refreshing nonetheless. I stared out at my boat; our boat. Our home. A lone vessel tucked lazily into a cozy bay. The tide was beginning to flood, and barely more than 15 feet flowed between The Red Thread’s hull and the bottom of the sea. There are times when this all feels utterly unreal. As if I am existing somewhere outside my body; a sense of depersonalization in the magic of this experience.
Tonight the sky looks as if two suns are being laid to rest. Upon the horizon, two spectacular sunsets hurl buckets of paint across the Pacific. A lustful blood orange washes the surface of the sea, while a sky of butter and robin-egg blue casts gold shimmers playfully atop the water. The colors melt seamlessly into in another, as romantic ripples add dimensionality to the hues. The seductive nature of the sea is not to be denied.
Preparing to leave home to go home
I’ve counted down each night that remains before we tuck our home into a marina for a semi-permanent stay…30, 20, 10, 5…2. Just 2 remain. We will tie her securely to a concrete dock here in Quepos, at a well-respected marina. Water will lap around her instead of her dancing through the surf. This boat has a soul; I have really come to believe it. A part of me feels as if we are somehow robbing her of what she longs for most: company to seek the sea. Like the horse who longs for loving riders to free her from the corral and allow her to run spirited toward the unknowns of the horizon, does The Red Thread yearn for us to keep her lines untied? I cannot imagine contemplating the loneliness of a car in a garage, but I find myself wondering how The Red Thread will feel when we are no longer her companions here.
I recognize that there is some aspect of this talk that sounds a bit mad. Maybe more than a bit. I know our boat does not bleed when her hull is nicked. Nonetheless, the ways in which our vessel has been imbued with life and with meaning are very, very real. When she is wounded, we ache. Sometimes we feel disappointed by our own lack of knowledge or by our choices as her crew. During those times, she sometimes becomes a scapegoat for our frustration with ourselves. When I fear she will be lonely without us, I am really worrying about how far away from home we will feel without her.I have always been a bit superstitious and infused meaning in idols. A ring that spoke to me in India (whatever that means). The sense that taking pieces of my grandmother’s jewelry around the world means her spirit travels with me. The silver spoon with rosebuds molded into the handle that personifies my mother’s loving power and lifts my spirit when I put it to my mouth.The Red Thread symbolizes adventure, growth, and love. Neil and I had only been dating nine months when we pulled together every penny of savings either of us had and sold belongings to put a down payment on her. She has become a sort of mascot for our life together. Aboard her, we’ve reveled in our greatest joys, grieved painful losses, and simmered after our most difficult arguments. We have overcome our greatest challenges and under sail, and she is the place where our love has grown the most. She is our home, and leaving her is going to be difficult.