Eleanor Tims, aka Ryllis Tims
Mon 16 Feb 2009 12:27

I remember setting off, years ago, from the Canaries, to cross the Atlantic, urged on by the stirring strains of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries.  If I could set this "Finale" to music it would have to be the most sombre funeral march ever composed.  Siegfried, perhaps.

I always hoped and even believed this day would never come, that somehow I would pull through, that somehow a whole lot of money would fall into my hands, that somehow I could get Avanti into good and safe condition, that I would realise my dream, my hoped-for way of passing the end years of my life.

Not to be.  Avanti has been on the market since November and recently several people have viewed her.  She is now the property of a very nice man, Bob Cheetham, lives in Cornwall, who is going to do her up, make her beautiful again, and safe.  I have removed all the boaty bits Bob didn't want, that I thought I might be able to sell, and I can tell you that doing so has broken my heart.  I have been stocking Avanti up for the last 8 years, making her into more than a boat: I have made her perfect, made her into a floating home.  Everything one could wish to find in a home, there it was, on Avanti, from egg cups to Christmas decorations, from hair curlers to an impressive medical kit. And so on.

Well-meaning friends tell me "Now you can clear your debts".  True, but at a, to me, unacceptable cost.  Or, "Now you can afford to take nice holidays".  True, but "nice holidays" are not for me. 

This is what is for me:
living, not on land, but on gently moving water, warm water, sparkling sun-lit turquoise or azure water. The sun, the warmth, both day and night.  The quietness  of not being among people, cars, streets, radios.  Just my dinghy, gently nudging the hull.  Sometimes with only the sound of birds' wings, the lapping of water along the hull, the wind.  Catching fish, watching turtles, parrots, howler monkeys .... The soft white sands of a nearby beach, the luxuriant tropical vegetation, breeze rustling palm fronds. Beautiful sun-softened fruits. The total relaxation; the peace.

And.... visiting places at only the cost of a tankful of diesel.  No hotel expenses, no travel expenses, no expensive meals. Just the pure simplicity of the boat life.  Yes, there are downsides; boats need maintenance and repairs.  But that consideration is small when weighed in the scale pan, balanced against the wonderful way of life of the cruising yachtie.

Another plus is the camaraderie of the life afloat, and ashore, too: I have made a great many friends, and I have had more help, more kindnesses from them, than one could ever hope for.  I am so grateful to all these good people.

When I said above my heart is broken, that is true.  I feel I am at the bottom of a deep black pit; I can't see a future, because there is no future I want, other than that I planned to have on Avanti.  She was more than just my boat, she was mine, my own lovely floating home. My place in the world.  I feel bereaved, deeply bereaved.

eleanor {CHANGE TO AT} avanticat {DOT} com