Saturday, January 2, 2010

Lucky 2010

Fireworks are everywhere in Thailand. As the brilliant moon rose glowing behind a horizon of beautiful round granite boulders, we discussed the possibility of seeing them the last night of 2009. Probability, 99.99%. We were not disappointed, even out here in the Similan Islands, 69 miles from Phuket, the 9 dive boats in our anchorage came stocked with them. We were counting on them to wake us to ring in the new year and they did not disappoint. At midnight, we were jolted awake by explosions of light and me joyfully screaming "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, happy new year!" You see, I have a superstitious ritual that I hopefully succeed with every first day of every month, the first of the New Year being most important. I have to say and Gar has to say and any one else around me has to say "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit," before saying anything else that morning for good luck for the month or in this case, the entire year. Thankfully, Gar woke enough to respond with a sleepy chorus of "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit". Now we're sure to have good luck for the entire year, fingers crossed of course.

This year we could use it. We've got a short 360 mile hop to the Andaman Islands (leaving tomorrow morning), two 1400 mile ocean passages across the Indian Ocean, a journey through "Pirate Alley", and 1000 miles up the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. In the next 6 months we've got a lot of sailing to do and a lot of places to see.

We started the year off strong with what we hope will be the first of many new returns back into the ocean world we love. After having a hike around the island and spotting potential good snorkeling sites, we took off in 'Super Dingy' to see what lives here. Slipping into clear blue water with damsel fish fluttering around the surface like fairy glitter and spying old friends like masked angel fish, giant parrot and unicornfish, and silly round puffers reminded us we were home. Swimming beside boulders awash in the sea's swell we spied a 4 foot moray eel visiting a cleaning station. Mouth agape, he looked a little like he was smiling. Gar spotted some jacks, snapper, and grouper in deeper water, a little taste of what we might be dining on if we're lucky fishing in the Andamans. I watched a gigantic puffer dance with a cleaning wrasse and remora.

It's the first time in way to long we have stuck our faces in water we could actually really see through and it made us realize how much we missed it and how excited we are to be able to be snorkeling and hopefully diving a lot in the next four months. Each part of our journey up to the Mediterranean will have it's challenges. Perhaps most difficult will be to remember to enjoy the journey. We realize if all goes as planned we will have less than a year and a half to soak up each and every aspect of our sailing adventure before completing the circle under the golden gate bridge. I want to appreciate the officials who may take 3 days to check us into the Andamans. I want to love flying across the ocean under a cloak of stars for days and days no matter how uncomfortable the seas are. I want to remember what it feels like to be exhausted and to have arrived safety in an atoll that may be under water in 50 years. I want to be able to safely pass through pirate alley and be grateful for our luck and rabbits. I want to be able to see the desert glowing in all of her stark glory and wake up early to drink it all in. I want to appreciate earning every mile that we may have to fight against headwinds for up the Red Sea, not only to arrive at our final destination but also to take time to appreciate the stunning reefs and landscapes along the way. We are so lucky and I want to feel that way when things get hard and exhausting as well as when things are beautiful and easy.

We wish you a spectacular year filled with grace, health, beauty, laughter, good friends, deep love, and good luck.

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit.

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