Thursday, November 27, 2008

Another Lesson

We are still learning to be patient and flexible. Our time in Papua New Guinea was not what we had intended. Arriving in Kavieng we had a long list of things we had planned to do, obligations we had promised to keep, and hopes to give back and learn more. When we arrived everything changed.

Things in the South Pacific are not like they are in the States in many ways. Perhaps it is the heat that lulls everything into a slow motion crawl, mostly I think it is the culture. We are learning to plan on anything and expect nothing. It is a long process. After many days of trying to connect with our contacts, find the marine biology textbooks we were to deliver, talk to every propane agent in town, and work on our own personal to do list we realized nothing was going to happen as we had hoped.

It was hard for us to accept we were at the mercy of fate and circumstance and that we couldn't fulfill any of the goals we had planed. Reef surveys and trainings would have to be done by someone else, marine biology textbooks would have to be delivered by another boat next season, and we would have to search for someone else to teach us about diesel marine engines running on coconut oil.

Once we let go of our initial plan we made a new one. But when the winds forced us to stay in town one more day we had an honest talk with ourselves. We accepted we are both tired and ready to "be" somewhere for a while. While going to visit some incredible anchorages in New Hanover sounded like a great idea, we realized we didn't have the juice to keep going. We wouldn't enjoy engaging with people in three different villages, we didn't want to patiently go about our business while people watched us, cook, clean, read, and shower, and we couldn't appreciate yet another beautiful place or even the opportunity to maybe get some surf.

In the beginning, I was thinking what you might be. How can you be tired? You are in Papua New Guinea? You don't have a job? You have a great life. All true. But this is our life and sailing is our job. And we are now tired and uninspired. Just saying that I still have trouble accepting it.

Perhaps our initial plans fell through to give us the opportunity to be in Palau earlier, maybe it is to allow us to make it to the "stunning" Hermit Islands before the northwesterly winds pipe up, maybe it is for no reason at all. But like I said, we are learning to be patient and flexible. Being honest with ourselves and being willing to accept our feelings and our inability to change circumstances is all part of it. Unfortunately, I don't think this is the last we'll be learning these lessons.

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