Notice: First Post from Claudine.
I wish I could say that the first time I’ve met Stephane was the most romantic date and that I had the time of my life, just like in the most romantic girly movie (aka Dirty Dancing here). It would have fitted perfectly with this Valentine’s weekend. But it was not… at all! Romance is not in our top qualities, so let’s just skip that part.
I can tell you the first time I went on Stephane’s boat, the Merlou, was my first time on a sailing boat… at all! I had no clue what to expect.
St-Paul-de-l’île-aux-noix is a small village, located at 60 km south of Montreal. As I am a city girl, I don’t have a car and I prefer traveling by foot or riding my bike. So we fixed a meeting point : At a bus terminus of the nearest town; which happened to be in a creepy parking in a industrial zone…and where Stéphane got lost on the way.
I thought to myself:
1) I hope he has better orientation at sea than on earth (Which still need to be determined!)
2) Always tell him to be there 30 minutes earlier.
I’ve always liked to get out of the city during the weekends, it is like a way to escape. I appreciate its action, proximity, cultural and gastronomic diversity but I love the nature for is relaxing effect. The landscape, the cashier at the grocery store who takes the time to talk with every customer.
I had no idea what to expect and I didn’t know at all the vocabulary linked to this universe. At that time, my nautical experience was limited to the ferries in Greece. What I remember from them is their immensity and the music they made while opening the main doors (after many years, I still have that music in my head!).
So I never knew that, what the expression « on the hard » meant ( The boat standing with posts, in a parking of the marina, with a never-ending-ladder to use). Arriving at the boat, Stephane was proud to say that he had put some kind of fences made with rope around the deck (yes, now I know that we call that lifelines) and that he took care to attach the ladder, as for me, is the basic of security. I remember seeing him climbing the never-ended-ladder with arms full of bags, and thinking « If he can do it, I can do it too ».
I remember thinking how small the inside of the boat should be and wondering how people could live in it. I was very surprised, once inside, of all the space and how it was well organized. There is probably more storage in that boat than in my little apartment in Montreal! Everything is in it : chart table, kitchen, living room, bed, wood stove, toilet… which obviously, an evidence for some, was not functional. That’s when he proudly hand me a bucket, and choose a purple one for me. We were at the beginning of our relation and, girls: you will agree with me that’s this kind of subject we try to avoid the longest time as possible…Apparently, not with a sailor! I first thought that I would walk each time to the marina to avoid that bucket. I ended up changing my mind… especially in the middle of the night (the boat was at 10 minutes of walk from the marina, that’s an argument here!). Despite the discomfort I had, I also ended up making my mind that this is one of the most current, even maybe, the main subject for a sailor.
Nevertheless, I did spent all the weekends of last summer on the boat, learning a little bit more about this new world. He taught me how to use different tools I’ve never used before, like a table saw, how to do epoxy or to do electronic soldering. I discovered that I like to work with my hands and I wanted to learn more, even if the first time that I used the table saw the wood exploded in my face, or that I swallowed epoxy dust.
And what about the first time I did sailing? Let’s keep that for another time!
So here I am… leaving my jobs as social worker and trying to give everything in my apartment so I will end only with things I really need, to pursuit this adventure. Isn’t crazy how we accumulate things and stuff over years?!