Tick, tick, tick –
tap, tap – thweek, whurrr. “What is THAT?” This is a question
often posed in the early morning hours, partly to confirm the noise is real, and partly to verify any concerns are not.
Thus my innocent life continues.
Some time ago, I began to ponder innocence. The definition of
the word includes childlike, guiltless and unsullied, decisively associating this state of being to youth. As
adults we gradually and gladly give up our innocence to be considered worldly, experienced and shrewd. In
doing so, we relinquish the very essence that so captivates us when observing a child; the fascination with all of natures
gifts; the easy laughter at little surprises; the novelty of each new day. I believe there is a longing
to return to this blissful existence, an existence that can only be attributed to innocence.
The origin of my reflection
began shortly after we moved aboard Re Metau. I realized that, while living in a traditional abode on terra
firma, I had fallen into the absentminded routines of an ordinary life. But once I boarded our floating
home, there were so many new things to learn, so many unfamiliar movements, noises and smells, so many foreign ways to adapt.
I often felt like a kid again, looking at everything with a sense of wonder and awe.
This life provides an abundance
of rare surprises. The moonless night sail to Charlotte Harbor on glassy seas wrapped us in a dazzling
bubble of glitter of which I’d never seen before. I laughed in surprise when the parallel stars I’d
observed rising to the east transcended into Ursa Major, the Big Dipper. And I watched with fresh eyes
as this familiar constellation crossed from horizon to horizon. Floating on a hook off Boca Grande, influenced
by the whim of the wind, I was presented with a new view out my galley port each moment. I felt like an
explorer when we took the dinghy over to shore with no map and no idea as to what we’d find. While
motoring home I was comically startled by a needlefish that leapt into our dinghy (though probably not as startled as he was).
then, there was the strange morning noise. Don confirmed he’d heard it too. I
went through my inventory of possible culprits. The staysail sheet was tight, so it wasn’t the block
knocking around. The wind was light, so it couldn’t be attributed to the Solar Stik or the whurr of the Kiss wind generator. The cap rail was not covered in dew, so random water droplets could not explain away the mystery.
I was reminded of the time years ago when Don and I had the Morgan docked at Kelly’s Island. We were awakened to taps and clicks on the cabin top, and were clueless
to the cause. After a short time we gave up the guessing game and popped our heads out the companionway.
It was soldier fly season, and all white surfaces were covered with swarms at sunrise. These wispy
insects were a treat for the seabirds, which were gorging themselves at our floating café, their talons clicking along
the fiberglass as their beaks tapped at each morsel. Our surprised laughter didn’t even disturb them
from their breakfast.
But we’d not been plagued by any bugs for some time, and this noise was different.
We’d have to throw off the covers and investigate the situation.
The exceptionally strong current in Charlotte
Harbor had turned Re Metau sideways to the wind; putting us on top of our anchor and running the chain rode across the keel.
The anchor sail that had previously worked so well keeping us pointed in the right direction had proved ineffectual
in these waters. Ah well, the boat was due to have her bottom scraped anyway. I added
the noise and the knowledge to my repertoire.
I embrace my return to innocence, as it has added a level of wonderment
and humor to my life that had long ago faded. Whenever a mystery is resolved, tension is released and a
bout of laughter usually transpires. Sometimes, the unknown remains, and all that is left to do is admire
nature’s complex secrets. Ultimately, our life aboard has encouraged me to recognize that every day