Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

Ape’s Cave, in the Gifford Pinchot forest near Cougar, in the Mount St. Helens, Washington area.

Photo was taken 2001.

2021 and 2020

Two years where it’s easy to focus on everything that went wrong. Instead . . .

What were your 2021 highlights?

Despite a year where little went to plan, and we gave some final goodbyes to dear friends, here are 

Two dozen 2021 events we’re grateful for

  1. We bought an excellent sailboat from friends and left for the Bahamas on it mere days later.
  2. I sold my car to someone who loved it
  3. We turned our RV over to the insurance company of the driver who hit it for significantly more than we paid for it (or expected we’d be able to sell it for)
  4. We buddy-boated the Bahamas with our Seattle cruising friends Chris(topher) and Chris(tine) of Scintilla who we met back in Vanuatu in 2016. (Still lots of post-worthy stuff from that)
  5. We got COVID vaccinations the first day we touched land upon returning to the US (and finalized my shingles vaccination before leaving)
  6. Acquaintances sold us a car when we couldn’t find a suitable one due to the great COVID car shortage
  7. When we decided a big sailboat is not for us after all, we sold our boat for more than we paid for it (and our friends we bought the boat from were happy that they were two-boat owners for mere days)
  8. We house-sat for a friend and fell in love with her kitty, Shiva
  9. I got to experience a bioluminescent kayak tour as well as some other excellent paddles
  10. We took a beautiful east coast fall foliage tour, though the highlights were staying with friends Steve in Asheville NC, Kate in Niagara Falls, Ann in Oswego NY, and Earl and Angela in Knoxville TN, and discovering how pretty my dad’s boyhood home, upstate New York is (Still lots of post-worthy stuff from that, too)
  11. We forged strong new friendships, especially with TA, Judy and John
  12. A stranger loaned us his RV to live in
  13. We adopted Shiva
  14. We got COVID boosters almost as soon as they came out
  15. We are now covered by Tricare, thanks to Wayne’s years of service
  16. A friend sold us his beloved RoadTrek mini campervan when that was exactly what we needed at that time
  17. We got to visit my brother and sister-in-law and nephew in Colorado (and plan to again soon)
  18. Another friend is loaning us his RV as our transitional home while we seek out something longer term
  19. We got to enjoy Christmas dinner with Wayne’s dad and his wife with the promise of more celebrations with other friends in the near future
  20. We are spending time back on our former trawler, courtesy of its current owners, Margaret and Dash
  21. Tee (and Harold) our Collins Beach buddies surprised us with a sweet gift package
  22. Our financial planner explained how and why we should return to becoming homeowners; we expect that to happen in 2022
  23. I got some fun writing gigs (especially love working with Jocelyn)
  24. We are healthy and have each other (and Shiva now too!)
Shiva, finally zonked after a really good play session.

There’s more, but two dozen seems like a good point to stop!

Photo by Mark Arron Smith from Pexels

I wish I could say with assurance that 2022 will be a better year than 2021, but I know better. Nonetheless . . .

We’ll be looking forward to

Some parts of 2022 will be better. We are reasonably sure by this time next year we’ll be well-ensconced in the local community of wherever who choose to call our home base. We haven’t owned our own place, terra firma, since 2008.

We will once again enjoy the luxuries many take for granted: unlimited hot running water, regular flush toilets without counting the one-ply tissues we use per flush, ample electricity, our own land transportation, good wifi and laundry as simple as walking up to a washer-dryer in our own place and using it,

In our house hunting, a realtor noted that she would understand if we did not want to endure the hassle of a washer and dryer in the basement. 

We laughed.

“Here’s how laundry worked for us,” Wayne explained. “We’d load our laundry bag into our dinghy, then take that dinghy to shore. Then we’d walk a mile or so with our laundry, drop it off, and cross our fingers. Later that day, we’d return to pay a princely sum for bleached-out colored laundry, and if we were lucky, everything we dropped off would be returned to us.” Then we’d hump the laundry back to the dinghy, hope it didn’t get a saltwater bath on the way back, because saltwater doesn’t dry, then load it back up into our boat.

That’s when it was easy.

The rest of the time, we’d set up bins and handwash everything using a set of plastic bins. sometimes we washed and rinsed our clothes with our hands, sometimes with our feet. Often we’d use ammonia, which was hard on our clothes, but required minimal rinsing and cleaned them well. Then we’d line dry our sheets, towels, shirts, pants, shorts, dresses, and underwear on our safety lines, making sure the clothespins holding them were secure enough to keep them from flying overboard.

Doing laundry aboard s/v Journey.

Okay, we were comparatively on easy street on our last boat, because there was a small washing machine. We had to drag it out of our forepeak, past the narrow aisle in our settee, then up the stairs into our cockpit to use it where we attached it to a long extension cord. Thanks to ample wind and solar power, we had enough juice to run it. We still had to line dry all our laundry and drag the washer back down into its cubbyhole until the next time.

Even now, while we’re in transition, doing laundry means getting into our car, picking the right traffic window, hopefully not in a rainstorm, and heading out to a laundromat and feeding lots and lots of quarters into the machines.

Still, these are all first-world problems, and when these are our biggest complaints, we count ourselves as fortunate.

We expect to be more connected with friends and family than in years past, though our cruising friends will always be family, too.

I will try to remember this Charlie Chaplin quote: You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down.

This rainbow photo was taken near one of my favorite new US National parks, Capitol Reef, Utah.

As for tonight, we filled our bellies with a particularly tasty batch of Hoppin’ John, now our annual New Year’s Eve good luck dinner. If you’ve never heard of it, here’s a wiki about it and a recipe to get you started.

Overall, no matter what comes our way or yours. we wish you the best New Year possible.