Our hopes and fears

Thu 28 Jan 2010 20:06

Before we set out, I wanted to make a brief list of the things we most hope for, and most fear, about the upcoming trip. I asked everyone to name whatever they thought of in both categories.

Here’s one that we all feel, and which rises above all the rest: We hope to have a great experience, with memories that will last forever. We hope that our bonds as a family will strengthen, and that we'll share challenges and joy and wonder.

     One of the reasons I instigated this trip is that I constantly feel time just racing by. I have an urgent sense that if we don't do this now as a family, we may never get to. Time just rushes on. Our kids were infants so recently, and now they’re nearly teenagers; and soon they’ll be off in college and beyond, having their own lives. And behind that lurks the knowledge of our mortality. So my hope lies somewhere in there – that we create this experience that stops time briefly, that will always stand out as separate from the constant stream of days.

     Anyway . . . on to more hopes and fears:

     Fear: That we will crash or sink while crossing the
Gulf Stream.
     Fear: Sharks
     Hope: That we get to eat mangoes right off mango trees.
     Hope: That we see dolphins.
     Hope: To use our shallow draft to sail the boat up into a mangrove swamp.
     Fear: Unexpected storms
     Hope: To see the swimming pigs at Big Majors Spot near Staniel Cay
     Hope: To snorkel over a huge underwater drop-off “wall.”
     Fear: Sharks
     Fear: Drowning, particularly one of the girls falling overboard.
     Fear: Equipment failure: the outboard motor, or our communications system breaking down.
     Fear: Rough weather, deep water.
     Hope: To swim every morning to start the day.
     Hope: To see dolphins. 

     Fear: I share Lilly’s fear for the safety of the girls, and all of us.
     Fear: Impact with a reef that puts a hole in the boat.
     [By the way, our boat will float even with a hole in it, completely full of water; it will just float a lot lower. The wood hull has about 500 lbs of positive buoyancy, and then I glued a lot of styrofoam inside it, so I take comfort in knowing that we can always cling to the hull and signal on our SPOT Messenger for help.]
     Fear: Theft. If our laptop and satellite phone were stolen (or just quit working), it would be very difficult for me to keep running Breakaway from a distance. We might need to return home. Or, we could go to
Lorraine’s café at Black Point and use her free internet access, and just take day-trips around there. . . .
     Hope: I really can't wait to swim in crystal-clear water and explore the tropical reef environment. . . . And eat some of it. I want to catch fish for dinner, and spear fish, and snare lobster, and gather conch, and basically live part-time in the water.
     Hope (and fear): I want to swim with sharks. The 14-foot tiger shark, not so much -- but I’d like to be able to swim unafraid with some 5- or 6-foot reef sharks, or nurse sharks, or lemon sharks.

Which sort of bookends things: I hope all our fears turn out to be like the "Jaws" poster -- a wild exaggeration of the actual dangers faced.