Friday, June 27, 2014
Not that I left my home unattended: I asked a friend to keep an eye on Papillon. But the problem with asking other cruisers to watch your boat is that, well, they're cruisers. They cruise. And so, a week into my vacation, I got an email that looked something like this:
Hi, Amy. Papillon is fine. I just wanted to let you know that we are sailing to Baie de Prony for the rest of the school holidays. Ellie and Michael on Mountain Goat are leaving for Vanuatu, so I asked Sandy on Inky Waters to keep an eye on your boat. She has my number, and will call if there is an issue. Just to let you know. Enjoy the rest of your trip! Byeee!!!
I did a lot of housesitting back in my teens and twenties. It was easy. Housesitting really means: "could you please feed my cat and bring the mail in?" No problem. I fed many a cat. I stacked many an envelope. But beyond making sure no one had broken in and trashed the place, my duties were limited.
Not so with boatsitting. It is a for-real favor. Yes, fine, usually nothing goes wrong, but sometimes everything starts leaking. Or you need to run the engine and discover air in the fuel lines. You have to be responsible to watch a boat. Even tied up to the dock, my friends had to come by every few days to pull up the floorboards and check the bilge. Before I left, I had to acquaint them with our various bilge pumps. We talked about fire extinguishers, I double-checked that I had shut down all of the power mains and closed the water lines, and still, as I flew from here to there and back, still I wondered whether it would all be as I left it on my return.
When we drove around the harbor, there was Papillon: masts at the appropriate heights, awning flapping gently in the breeze. Phew. It was all okay.
The kids and I hauled our luggage down the dock, and I unlocked the companionway. A cloud of fruit flies swarmed the cockpit. As the girls flapped their arms and made "blerrg!" noises, I discovered a very sad-looking kiwifruit that I had somehow left behind on the stove.
I batted the flies from my face and smiled to myself. We were afloat. Flies didn't even rate a frown.