'Til the butter melts

Pursuing the cruising dream in 32' of sailing ketch

Making others plans

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There is a saying – often attributed to John Lennon (though I have no idea if that’s accurate) – which goes:

“Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.”

There is another saying, most often heard in country music lyrics, (which, by the way, is what you often hear blairing across the anchorage as young men of a certain age and socio-economic status cruise by – alone – in their rather shiny and expensive fishing boats, not fishing) which goes:

“If you wanna hear God laugh, tell him your plans…”

So today we’re planning and laughing along with God – assuming that’s who’s responsible for the weather we’re having.

Florida is stuck in a weather rut. As weather ruts go, it’s really not a bad one. Mostly clear weather, mostly sunny, mostly pleasantly warm (low 80’s days, upper 60’s nights).  Only thing is the wind. It doesn’t stop. And it’s from a particularly unhelpful direction. Every. Single. Day.

North winds. Where I’m from, North winds are an oddity. Wind from the north means a change, a front’s passing or a large weather system is finding it’s way out. Lyrics from a song by the inestimable bard Gordon Bok come to mind:  

East wind’s rain and North wind’s clearing. Cold old Southwest wind’s a fair wind home.”

Well in the New England that’s generally true, but down here the weather never got the memo. Except for a couple brief periods of near-calm as a warm front came through, we’ve had winds from the north and northeast every day but a handful for weeks.


Wind so consistent, even the white pelicans are sitting it out. Well actually in fairness to the pelicans, they seem to be pretty much oblivious to the wind – north or otherwise. They still huddle in large groups as a social thing, and they fly – loose eschalon formation – whenever they feel like it.  I just wanted an excuse to use this really cool picture I took of a little place we call “Pelican Island” when we’re upwind of it, and  something less complimentary when we’re downwind…

Which sort of brings me – in a rambling, Tuesday-morning-with-nothing-to-do sort of way – to those “other plans” I mentioned earlier.  

Nicki and I had planned a short jaunt “outside” today. Outside meaning into the Gulf of Mexico, rather than in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Outside is real sailing. Outside is exciting. Outside is the “real world”.

But when the wind has been blowing stink for a week from one direction, and the waves have decided to get into the act AND that’s exactly the direction you want to go…  We can plan all we want, but attempting to go north today is going to be a pissing, moaning, slamming exercise in frustration no matter how we slice it.  So we’re not.

Instead, a few random thoughts, in the form of seven nearly unanswerable questions:

  1. Now that so many of the 20ish white men down here are listening to the music which – in my youth – we identified with late-teen black men, what are the late-teen black men listening to? 
  2. Why is it nearly impossible to find an FM radio station down here that isn’t broadcasting either Bro-Country, or a bible-thumping misogynist?
  3. Why is “Bro-country” so popular among the 30-something men who clearly have some means, considering the boat they’re driving, and why are they alone in that boat, slowly cruising it back and forth past the docks and other boats, broken-hearted songs playing at a level meant to be heard a half-mile away, looking sad…
  4. Why do people buy sailboats, and then never sail them, even in near-perfect sailing conditions? (This question was voiced recently by a friend who sailed by several new-looking sailing vessels on a passage along the coast, all of whom had their sails tightly furled and were motoring in great discomfort due to the perfect sailing conditions previously mentioned. We see it all the time.)
  5. Why do pelicans flying in echelon formation always follow the leader precisely, even when the leader is making altitude deviations for no appearent reason? Are there invisible speed bumps in the air that I can’t see?
  6. What is it about watching a Brown Pelican quit flying and fall headlong into the water that makes me smile – Every. Single. Time. They don’t “dive”, they just quit.
  7. We’ve read that Anhingas hunt by spearing small fish on the end of their very pointy beak. Ok, so how do they get that fish off the beak and into the mouth without dropping it?

There’s your bit of randomness for the day.  I hope at least one of those questions causes you to stop in awe of the universe for a moment. Douglas Adams, eat your heart out.

Author: s/v sionna

Living the dream in 32'. We left Maine on August 18th, 2016, and have gradually worked our way south until we felt warm enough. After spending the summer in Maine, working to replenish the cruising kitty, and rehabilitating an old house. we’re headed back on the boat, bringing Sionna back home to northern waters. Follow our blog here!

One thought on “Making others plans

  1. I love your writing. I totally agree with no 6; I have a whole lifetime of those smiles.
    No 5. Yes, of course there are speed bumps.
    No 4… big dreams, overly ambitious, fear, lack of confidence, laziness or head screwed on backwards. Or waiting to learn to sail.
    Peace, Suky

    Liked by 1 person

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