Life at Sea – Part I

YachtWhen Bryan invited me to accompany him on a Barefoot Yacht Charter for ten days in the Caribbean, I had visions of Goldie Hawn in Overboard (pre going overboard). I imagined scenes aboard superyacht White Night in The Bourne Identity (less the gunshot wounds). I envisioned cruising in style with James Bond aboard the luxury M3 in Casino Royale (before Vesper dies).

And so I went out and bought a new bikini. And gold anchor earrings. And ordered two pair of adorable new Sperry’s online. I pre-planned my outfits for each day, complete with matching headbands, figuring that if my hair was going to be windblown, it may as well be windblown in style.

Instead, I discovered that living aboard a catamaran is essentially roughing it. It’s camping at sea, with hand-pumped toilets, no showers and rationed fresh water. Prior to the trip, I’d shaved, waxed and dieted for the perfect, pristine bikini body. But by day three, I’d grown oblivious to my leg stubble and peeling sunburn as I smeared on multiple layers of deodorant. I no longer concerned myself with further sun damage, since the rays surely couldn’t penetrate my skin’s countless layers of dirt and grime.

I will say, all of those color-coordinated headbands turned out to be useful in mildly masking the greasiness of my unwashed hair. Actually that one white headband I threw on every morning at the crack of dawn worked wonders when I went aboveboard to hoist the sails before getting drenched by seawater from gale-force winds.

Despite not having a proper shower for over a week and living in perpetually damp clothing with a sheen of salt on my skin from my “Caribbean baths”, I actually had a great time letting go, letting loose and learning a new skill. Once I got used to leaving my makeup bag untouched and sleeping in a stagnant cabin on salt-encrusted sheets next to a man who almost never kissed me goodnight, I adapted well to the life of a sailor. It was kind of freeing.

But as fun as it was to unplug for a while, I’m grateful to be home. I remember afresh why I used to commit to volunteering abroad at least once a year. Living in a third world country has a way of righting my perspective and making me thankful for my very many blessings. Now I can add to that list of blessings the ability to skipper a keelboat. Life is good.

Authentically Aurora

Dating a Double O

Vesper James BondI think I might be dating 007. Bryan owns:

5 houses,

4 guns,

3 passports,

2 vehicles

and has taken at least 1 FBI training course.

And we just booked tickets together to get our sailing certifications in the Caribbean. If I disappear, it wasn’t the Bermuda Triangle. It was Bond. Bryan Bond.

Authentically Aurora

P.S. In all seriousness, I wouldn’t go on this trip if I didn’t trust him implicitly. And my parents will have all of my travel documentation and itinerary, just in case. And my Special Forces older brother could take a Double O any day. So booyah.

Coldfinger: Ice Cream in the Aston

Goldfinger AstonBryan likes to surprise me, so I had no idea where we were going when he picked me up in his Aston Martin on Sunday afternoon.

He was wearing a lavender pinstripe dress shirt, and I was still in my knee-length church dress, so I had visions of a 1950s soda shoppe experience when we pulled into the parking lot of an ice cream parlour. But Bryan told me that we were getting our ice cream to go, so we selected our flavors and got back into the car.

Bryan held both cones while I climbed in and fastened my seat belt. “Where are we headed?” I asked, eyeing my chocolate peppermint ice cream as he handed both cones back to me so that he could drive.

“I thought we’d go to a nearby park. Walk. Talk. Eat ice cream.” He turned to look at me and grinned from the driver’s seat.

I smiled back; then looked down as his sweet-cream-with-raspberries ice cream started to trickle its way down my right hand. I hesitated; then asked, “How do you feel about me licking your ice cream to keep it from dripping on your leather seats?”

He shrugged. “That’s okay by me. The park’s pretty close, so we should be there in just a few minutes.”

Melting ConeBut we didn’t have a few minutes. At first, I made sure the ice cream dripped onto my bare legs rather than his leather seats. I was glad I was in a short dress (skin is easier to clean than fabric). But there was no helping it. Eventually ice cream started running down the sides of my legs onto his Aston Martin seats.

I apologized. He apologized. I felt badly about getting sticky ice cream on his fancy seats; he felt badly about getting sticky ice cream all over my bare legs. But after a minute or two, I stopped apologizing and started giggling as my James Bond hurtled his way down back roads, trying to get us to the park before there was no more ice cream left in either cone.

And as I started giggling, he started chuckling. Soon we were both laughing uproariously as ice cream melted all over the place. When we got to the park, Bryan grabbed a gym towel from the trunk, opened the door for me, and took both sticky, melting cones so I could escape the runny mess and towel off.

We stood together beside Bryan’s car – his Aston Martin – laughing as we leaned over the grass and tried to eat what remained of our ice cream without letting the droplets land on our feet. I’m sure we looked like a couple of school kids as we dipped our various appendages into a park fountain to wash off, and continued on the rest of our walk, sticky but happy.

Authentically Aurora