Monday, October 09, 2006


It's 10:30 and 82 degrees.
I was asked to write about living in a marina for a friend and I found this picture. It is one I look at each time I rant about not having enough room to store my clothes, or when I find out Orion's water tank is empty just when I need to rinse shampoo out of my eyes.
Those times.
The times I accidentally leave the hatches open in the pouring rain. Those times the wind whips through the shrouds so hard my boat heels right at the dock making me seasick.
Those times.
I pull up this picture on my computer and remember why I chose to live on a boat.
Last night there were so many stars I blurred my eyes searching for comets and identifiable constellations.
It is this time of year we look in the sky for Orion's return. The constellation our vessel is named after - The Great Hunter.
In Hawaiian "Maiaku" is Orion's belt and his sword is "Nakao."
The story of SV Orion is a unique one. Several years ago while bound for Oahu, she was caught in a storm four- hundred miles off the coast of California. In the emergency, Orion was abandoned and left to sink or drift as fate decreed. She was presumed sunk.
Months later she was found bobbing in the waves just off the Big Island as if she knew where she was supposed to go. Although used as a floating hotel for colonies of birds, she was none the worse for wear. A replaced boom and sails, a good cleaning and a secure slip were all she needed.
She was the first boat we looked at.
"Too small," I said at first. Only later, after seeing many other boats, I realized how very roomy she was.
Then when I heard her story, well, I knew Orion was the boat for us.
I think about her lonely journey without a captain. I wonder where she went and how many more storms she weathered, and crashing waves she endured.
I think of this when I scrub her teak, polish her stainless, clean out her lockers, and find another soft gray feather left behind.
And I think about the birds on that voyage.
Leaving their feathers behind.
A testament to where they have gone.
I think my writing is like that.
Words like feathers left behind.
A testament to my existence.

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