Staying Alive!

It’s hard to find in the civilized world themes of passion to write and converse about. Sparse and fickle is the material with that clear-cut touch of the extraordinary, material that lends itself to be easily plied and molded so as to attract and retain your attention. Much less are there stories that naturally rip through the grey and greasy veil of superficiality to compose prose that could claim to be able to truly entertain you. Everything seems to have been said and done. Everything has the smell of the stale and lame. Rules and regulations coax any outburst of spontaneity into the rigid realm of reason. Planning is paramount all over and the concern for safety overrules the longing for joy and bliss. And then there is the money! The only motivator left for civilized man after his and her natural drives have been curtailed to a neurotic mess of conditioned reaction, saying yes to this brand of toothpaste and no to that one of shampoo.

The most outstanding impression when arriving from up in the islands back to the Eurocentric realm of this abandoned colony of the crumbling British Empire down at the bottom of the earth, is the absence of the smiling faces. Gone is the radiant happiness; gone is the generous gift of joy! The faces around us are now hard, grumpy and etched with bitterness. The gaze no longer wanders freely fueled by innocent curiosity. It is now guided with the whip of envy and avoids any direct encounter. We have returned to a world of conflict and competition, where greed rules over grace and the unceasing thirst for power has trampled down and flattened all hues of concern and compassion.

It is, of course, hard to stay aware of the brutality innate in our society of commerce and consumption for more than the fugitive glimpses of truth we all suffer every now and then. The soothing propaganda flooding out from all kinds of screens of like a never-ending tsunami wrecks havoc with our perception and destroys our sense for what is and what isn’t. Not that it is only “their” fault. For certain we are creatures of habits, after all, and today’s horrors and offenses are tomorrow’s normality. It is therefore of utmost importance to inspect our beliefs on a daily basis with a keen eye for the fake and with the burning valor to discard whatever smells of Pinocchio’s sprouting noses.

Anyway, apart from nurturing ties to the few friends we have made here in this land of long white clouds and nocturnal, flightless birds, we have become a sort of exploiter of the exploited. We do what we can to stop the drain in our cruising kitty and sometimes manage to fatten it up just a bit. And for our lovely floating home Aluna this sizeable island has become a serious pit stop, where the wounds of her maritime battles are healed and bad experiences trans-morphed into engineering improvements to her functionality.

This for me means that it’s back to the building mood. Only vaguely do I remember nowadays the five years spent under a big grey tarpaulin in the shade of a giant Redwood tree at the eastern end of the windy San Francisco Bay, contemplating the jet planes descending along their straight line towards the tarmac of Oakland International Airport every fifteen minutes or so, piecing together slabs of plywood, according to a very smart plan, little by little creating this huge functional structures that has brought us half way across the globe. But there are others still making headway through this exercise in stubborn persistence, like my pal Neil up in the rain-drenched English heartland, who’s on the final stretch of a beautiful build of one of Aluna’s sister ships with the archaic sounding name of Gleda, to be launched in the merry month of May of this year.

The next couple posts are therefore going to be about a couple of major home improvement projects of the maritime kind. It’s been quite a while since I have been physically building something and not just completing maintenance chores. The engineering hemisphere in my brain immediately set to work by testing procedures, weighing options, running calculations, estimating durations and making an enormous effort to coordinate all of the above.

Good fortune had it that our good friend Ted was away for some well-earned vacation and I was looking forward to having his shop in the back alley of downtown Opua all to myself. He happened to be out an about, doing some quality sailing up the coast, after having hung on a mooring for the better part of the last couple years. With that the stage was set for some serious whirlwinds of sawdust, sticky slurps of epoxy, noisy machining, aching bones and muscle pain, and slow but steady progress towards the emergence of functional parts for the wind-engendered propulsion of our vagabond lifestyle.

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2 Responses to “Staying Alive!”

  1. nhawkesford Says:

    I’m betting it won’t take much to re-awaken those dormant building genes. I reckon it’s like riding a bike eh?
    Have fun with the mods!

    • alunaboat Says:

      It is like riding a bike! You do get better at it the more you do it. I’m about ready to tackle the tight rope… 😉

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