Thursday, April 21, 2011

What Time Is It? or, The Curse of George Vernon Hudson

One of the joys of living on a boat is ignoring the time.  My watch sits on a shelf for days at a time, and were it not for Indy’s keenly-developed internal mealtime clock, I suspect we would rise, eat and sleep at some very odd hours.

Not that Erik and I had a very good track record even when we were among the Clocked and Scheduled.  Years ago, we spent one of the many long weekends afforded to the German salaryman on Spiekeroog, one of the East Frisian islands in northern Germany.  (You see?  I have many good things to say about Germany, and their holiday schedule is way up there on my list.)  It was a beautiful spring weekend, and we had a delightful time.  But we noticed, in that casual, on-holiday, not-thinking-about-it-very-hard-kind-of-way, that we never seemed to be on the same schedule as anyone else.  The inn was clearing breakfast by the time we descended.  Other diners left the restaurant long before we did.  Minor events, and we chalked it up to us being in vacation mode.

That is, until we had to board the ferry home.  As we approached the dock, we peered out at the water.  There was a small silence.
“That boat looks like it is going away from us, not approaching,” said Erik finally.
I agreed.  The ferry was definitely leaving.  I looked at my watch; we were right on time.  Were they on some sort of holiday schedule?  No one else seemed concerned; we were the only ones paying any attention to the departing ferry.  I turned my head, trying to figure it out, when I caught sight of the clock on the dockmaster’s office.  I looked at my watch.  I looked at the clock.
A lightbulb went on over my head.  “It was Daylight Savings Time this weekend.”
Luckily, there was one more ferry that day, or we would each have had to explain a missed day of work with a very lame excuse.

Time and the wisdom it brings hasn’t helped us; DST continues to catch us napping.  In Norfolk, Erik tried to make a quick trip to a nautical bookstore as it opened.  He stood there cursing as the minutes ticked by and no one unlocked the door until the girls and I came puffing up the street to enlighten him – daylight savings time had bitten us again, this time in Fall Back mode.  In Miami  a few weeks ago, we made plans for a Sunday visit with a family who lived in town.  We were happily lazing around the boat, waiting for our one o’clock meeting... when I realized it was now 12:06pm, not 11:06am as we thought.  Good morning, Spring Forward.

Safe for another six months from our DST curse, we left Key West for Mexico at the beginning of April.  Our winds weren’t very favourable on the three day sail to Isla Mujeres; when things finally picked up as we crossed the Yucatan Channel, Erik couldn’t resist letting the boat run.  His enthusiasm meant we arrived at our goal before dawn, and, as you can well imagine, entering an unknown harbour in the dark isn’t smart.  We hove too, waited, had a pot of tea, and waited some more.  By 7:30 or so on that Saturday morning, the sun was up, and we started to toodle in past the rocks and hail the marina.  Silence.  Well, that was nothing new.  Annoying, but not the end of the world.  We crept along, kept hailing, and still nothing.  We passed the marina a couple of times, and then finally decided to dock and deal with the fallout later.  If the marina wasn’t going to answer, they were just going to have to live with where we put ourselves.  Docked and settled, we started to chat with our sleepy-eyed neighbours, who were only now starting to emerge from their boats.  How relaxed and civilized! I thought.

Well, not exactly.  It was only 6am.

We had lost one hour to a time zone change, and another because Mexico hadn’t switched to DST.  Which meant we were the jerks trying to hail the marina at 5:30am, not 7:30 as we thought.  Nice work, Papillon.  We turned back our clocks, apologised to anyone we may have annoyed, and adjusted to our new time.

Until the next day.
When Daylight Savings Time kicked in again.

After all that, we were right back to the time we had been at all winter long.


bunny9 said...

How could this happen when time & weather are 2 of my favourites?

Carol P said...

Honestly, this blog is always good for a LOL!! Safe travels