“Swallow the anchor” is a nautical term for retiring from sea life and settling on land.
What? The Sailor Dog will be a sailor dog no more? My fault really! Sailor Dog will go where I go and it is almost time for me to live onshore again. At least for a while. The condo unit I have bought off the plan is now ready to move in. The Admiral is strongly in favour for that. Micasa maybe a medium size boat with her 43 foot length but she offers lesser space than a 40 foot container with her pointed extremities. That is not a lot of space as a home. Regardless, we have been living on board Micasa for three and a half years now and that is not a short period of time by any measure.
There are some pluses to the sailor side of me. With more things being offloaded to a shore based home, Micasa will be less cluttered and preparing her for a sea journey will both be easier and faster. This should allow me to sail her out more often. We shall see!
This dream to cruise the seas is far from over. If you understand how deeply ingrained this is, in me. You see, I have spent the best part of my childhood in a small fishing village where our house was literally a stone’s throw from the sea. The sea was our playground. Even more so than that, my friends, the little boys who I played with, were sea gypsies. Their families have plied the seas for centuries as nomadic seafarers who lived their entire lives on narrow wooden boats. Children were born on these boats, and normal day to day lives persisted on them. The children have a love for soccer while the elder teens were more into volleyball and both these passions drew them to land each day. That was my encounters with them. Their knowledge of the sea was simply amazing. I have come to look upon them as living encyclopedias of the sea and all that lives in and on the sea. They knew every living creatures we have encountered in sea, which sea snails that were good eating and which were deadly. The giant sea worm which we encountered which they said were edible (they were sea cucumbers) and the sticky web which extruded from them when stepped upon were sticky enough to glue onto little fishes even when underwater.
I have learnt of the fury of the sea from those early days seeing their boats (put together with wooden pegs rather than nails or screws) being broken apart by storms and their entire worldly belongings strewn into the sea. Came daybreak they would be scouring the shallow waters, salvaging whatever they could of their belongings. The sea was not very kind to them at such times but their entire livelihood comes from the sea alone. It provided their food and whatever excesses were dried off (dried fish, cuttlefish and octopus) and later bartered for necessities like sugar, tapioca, etc. A subsistence level of life and yet such happy people. As I grew older, my family relocated to a bigger town but the sea life and my acquaintance with these sea gypsies stayed with me till this very day, a half century later. As I grew older I started looking more into the lives of these sea gypsies and their intertwined relationship with the sea, both a provider and taker at the same time. How despite of so meagre a worldly belonging, they have persisted to live that sea life and may I add, living a happy life. Much later in my working life, I would sometimes be overwhelmed by work related stress and I would ask myself why I should not be like my sea gypsy friends who could live seemingly free from worries and wandered the seas as they did. Looking back they were indeed living the dream and I have had and still harbours that desire to live as nomadic seafarers just as my Sea Bajau friends did. This desire to be at sea will be calling me back to the sea again, with certainty. Sailor Dog will be sailing again and perhaps much further than she had ever sailed. Once a sailor, always a sailor!
We do have a question in our heads regarding Sailor Dog, a big question. How will she take to land? Ever since leaving the dog shelter, she has been living with us on Micasa and that was the only home she has known. Our land based home will be 30 stories up in the sky. I have had a check around the balcony and the gaps between the tempered glass panels forming the sides of the balcony, are in no way large enough for the Sailor Dog to squeeze through, come what may. How will she react to the realization of being so far off the ground? This we will have to wait and see. I do not doubt that our being there will be reassuring enough for her.
My current work with canvas making for boats will mean that I will be travelling to Raffles Marina each working day. My industrial sewing machines, the tools of my trade are at Raffles Marina. I will be bringing Sailor Dog back to her floating home on each of these work trips. As usual she will be left alone while I am at work sewing canvas and before leaving I will be telling her that I will be going off to work and that she has to be a good girl (by not making a mess) and to look after the boat.
With most household stuff offloaded from Micasa, it will provide me with the opportunity to refresh her interior varnish and to dry dock her as well. Micasa’s anti-fouling is due for renewal after almost 5 years since her last anti-fouling. This will be a major event for Micasa and one which is bound to make a financial dent as well.
Honestly, I am a little sad to close this chapter whereby my only home was onboard Micasa, but the new chapter which will soon begin, will be yet another adventure but the Sailor Dog and I will not be far from Micasa and our lives at sea.
Life is unpredictable, and we owe it to ourselves to live it to the fullest.
Cheers, and we shall be updating you on our new adventure.