February 2, 2003
Greg and Heather's Stuff
We were due to pick up my cousin, Greg and
his fiancé, Heather at the ferry dock on Saint John
at 4:00 that afternoon. Curt and I pulled up to the dinghy
dock early, thinking we might manage to squeeze one drink
in with Second Kiss and Ripple at a nearby patio bar where
live music was playing. As we approached the dock, we caught
site of a couple in love: obviously fresh off a plane if their
skin color was any indication. Half stripped down to their
swimwear, beer koozies in hand, they were frolicking in waist
deep water next to the ferry dock with ear to ear grins on
their faces. Behind them sat an enormous stack of luggage,
a cooler, and a stack of groceries as well. I knew it before
I really knew. It was my cousin Greg and his fiancé
Heather. My first thought was how did they get all that on
the plane, and my second thought was, how are going to get
all that on the boat?!
From the beginning, my correspondence with
Greg about his pending visit was different from previous guests.
The routine had been fairly simple with Cary, Nate, Gus, Amie
and the rest. We told them what island we'd be visiting on
a particular date, pick a bar and a time to meet them, and
show up as agreed upon. They all heard the same speech, "Don't'
bring much, because you're bound to bring more than you need.
Flip-flops, swimsuit, a coupla shorts and shirts- maybe one
sundress or button down shirt." But with Greg, there
were numerous emails back and forth about what they could
bring, what we had to eat, if we wanted to join them in Saint
Thomas and take a cab to the Costco, where we were going to
meet in St. John, what airline they were taking, and so on.
My Caribbean-time-acclimated brain was overwhelmed. I tried
to keep it simple. I picked a time and place to meet, and
we would figure out the rest when they arrived.
I began to worry that perhaps they were
expecting to come down for a luxurious charter experience,
and thought I should prepare them for our lifestyle: the limited
amount of space, no icemaker, the not-so-cold-refrigerator,
showering with the sunshower, etc. I described it as a bit
like camping, though maybe not quite so rough as all that.
Curt and I have chosen a simple boat, and a simple lifestyle.
Less amenities mean less to fix, and more time to play. We've
learned to make simple meals so there are less dishes, less
produce to go bad, less leftovers to manage. This is not to
say I don't often miss the luxury and amenities at home, I
would be lying if I said that were true. But for this time
in our life, and from the experience of a year at sea, we've
found less is often best.
And so I marveled at what lay before
us. A cooler filled with salmon, filet mignon, rack of lamb,
fresh vegetables, bagels, cheeses, spreads, etc. waiting for
our delight. They even brought their own spices. Cases of beer.
A case of bottled water. Ice and more ice. I can't remember
eating this well even when we lived in one of the finest culinary
centers in the world, San Francisco! I wondered how this was
going to go. I wondered where we'd put it all. I wondered if
I should cook their food, or if they'd want to cook it themselves.
It seemed inevitable they'd have ideas on how they liked their
meals. I suppose we would see soon enough. I felt as though
perhaps we should start eating right then and there to start
making our way through all that food before it went bad!
Instead, we opted to enjoy a little
reggae with Second Kiss and Ripple, and then go back to Force
Five to lash their cooler to the deck (as there as no room
for it below). We kicked the week's carnage off with the filet
mignon under a beautiful starlit sky from our mooring in Caneel
Bay and laid plans to sail to Jost Van Dyke in the morning.