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February 15, 2003
Curt's Family Comes for a Visit

Living on a thirty four foot boat is hard enough for two people: sharing a tiny bathroom, stepping over each other to get from one end of the boat to the other… even just finding a spot to stretch out and read your book can sometimes be a challenge. But I think Curt and I have worked out most of the kinks with that. And when friends and all their luggage come to visit, it's a little tighter, but we still manage. I'm sure it's far harder on our guests than it is on us. But when you multiply the visitors and luggage to three, for a grand total of five people living on a thirty four boat, and toss in the fact that they're Curt's family, who I'd like to put our best foot forward for and hadn't had much of a chance to get to know before we left… well, I was a bit worried about pulling it off gracefully to say the least. I mean, I knew we'd survive- but I really wanted them to be comfortable and have a good time. I, of course, was the one who was worried. Curt, of course, never gave it a second thought. "Ah- mom'll sleep anywhere we put her. It'll be fine." All I could think was- easy for him to say.

Jeff and Kate arrived first. After a week long visit to Saint Lucia before they met us in Saint Thomas, they'd already slowed down to the pace of life in the Caribbean. Or at least I thought that was why Kate was walking so slow. But alas- no. On the first day snorkeling in Saint Lucia, she had kicked a rock underwater and munched her foot up pretty good. The poor thing was limping around trying not to let it get the party down, but you could tell it really hurt. Kate's first bonus points on their visit was that she opted to hurt herself BEFORE she came aboard Force Five so we didn't have the guilt of having been the ones to send her home maimed. She seemed to be managing fine, so we dragged her on a walk to get some ice cream, thinking that might help her feel better. It was one of the first things I learned about Kate: she really likes ice cream!

The second thing I learned about Kate on their visit, was that she gets horribly sea sick. This I didn't understand. For one: she's a marine biologist. Didn't she have to go on boats at some point during her lengthy education? And number two: didn't anyone point out that we live on a boat? We sail it places. You know, like on the sea? She was coming to stay with us for a five days. My thoughts vacillated between worrying that she'd feel awful the whole time, to being bowled over with flatter that she'd brave the getting sick thing to come visit us anyway. Three cheers for Kate, and yet more bonus points as well!

We kicked around the main town of Charlotte Amalie that afternoon (no pun intended Kate) and did a little site seeing and grocery shopping. In the afternoon, we took them out to Force Five and opted to motor the boat around to the little harbor by their hotel. This way, we'd be closer for our departure in the morning and Jeff thought their mom, Ellen, would get a kick out of looking out their hotel window to see us anchored right outside (a bonus point for you Jeff). As rolly as the anchorage was, I was happy to see that Kate didn't toss her lunch up over the side of the boat while we rolled with the swells that were making their way into the bay. She had survived day one. So far, this was a good start.

Jeff and Curt's mom, Ellen, was due to arrive later that night, and her plane was even later than expected. As we waited back at the hotel, Curt was out like a light, lying spread eagle across one of the beds (points subtracted from Curt's scorecard). That boy's eyelids seem to go down with the sun I tell you. Even as we stood at the gate waiting, he seemed to be on the verge of dozing off. But when Ellen finally came through the gates, Curt was wide awake (looking sort of sheepish) and Jeff, Kate and I knew better than to stand in the way of her first hug of Curt. We stepped aside and let her get a good look at him. We had bets on whether or not there'd be any tears, but I didn't see any. It was a jolly good reunion!

Things so far were good. All parties were in attendance safe and sound. No illness. No (new) injuries. We would reconvene in the morning.

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