Learn to not sweat the small stuff
WITH the arrival this week of my two crew members, Scott and Steve, my life on the boat took a major turn. I'm having fun now. Even with passage preparation in full swing, problems cropping up like whack-a-moles and sweat pouring off us in big fat drops, we're laughing.
The propane sprung a leak? Haha. We'll probably want to fix that. Batteries won't hold a charge? Oh, those rascals.
Sweat stinging the eyes too much to see? Hah, then let's go snorkeling.
The arrival of my friends with all their enthusiasm about our upcoming voyage drove home an important point. This trip is not about the boat, but about where the boat will take us, and what we will discover when we get there.
Like, for instance, my gang of sharks.
To reward myself for my hard work, one morning last week I joined a local dive boat that went out on daily trips from this Raiatea marina. Since neither the dive master nor the other divers spoke English, and my French is limited to baguette, pate and "frites" (fries), our communication was limited.
Subsequently, I had no idea where we were going, how deep the dives would be or what special creatures, if any, I could expect to see. "Doesn't matter," I thought. "You can't talk while diving anyway."
My fellow divers were slow getting ready, and I was the first to tumble backward over the side. And then I looked down. Six big sharks (sharks are always big when you're alone in the water with them) were swimming straight toward me. "Um, what's happening here?" I wondered. "Do the others know about these sharks? What kind are they? Are they expecting food? If so, what kind of food?"
It was scary not to be able to ask the dive master about these too-friendly fish. I breathed deeply and watched the sharks circle me.
The others jumped in, and I watched the dive master talk to the nervous novices.
Apparently, this shark activity was normal at this site, because we were soon on the bottom. The three gray and three black-tipped reef sharks, as big and bold as any I've seen, escorted us throughout the dive.
Having these kinds of experiences is one of the reasons I'm here. I also came to have fun, and for that, I've chosen the right crew.
"Oh no, not my stove!" our chef, Scott, joked when the propane went on the fritz. Laughing, we scoured the shops until we found the parts to fix it.
Steve, an emergency doctor and lifetime sailor, also keeps me smiling. Besides being an excellent improviser, he's the Don't-Sweat-the-Small-Stuff king. "And it's all small stuff," he always adds with a grin.
So this adventure is not just about the boat. "But it's not just about the trip, either," my Hawaii friend e-mailed this week.
"It's about the spirit that moves you to take this voyage and your willingness to take on the challenges. It's about the discoveries you will make about yourselves."
I would add that it's also about friendship.
We will be leaving Raiatea today, just as soon as we finish a few repairs.