Thursday, June 24, 2010

Days of our lives in Israel

Time is really strange when you are traveling on a sailboat. Sitting at anchor for days waiting for a weather change, sailing on an overnight 24 hour passage that would only take you 2 hours driving by car, and the hours it takes to just get the simplest jobs done in a new port is all such a different reality then most peoples day to day lives. Having come from a country that is based on a set of cultural beliefs of working long hours, eating fast food, and making money to achieve the American dream and buy the newest coolest stuff, life cruising on a sailboat seems almost a paradox. There is no doubt about our continued struggle with this reality. Nicole and I have it in our genes and from our American upbringing to be hard-working and active, but living on a boat you sometimes have to let go and just learn to accept a slower pace of life.

When we first got to Israel, we were our usual busy busy beaver-selves.
Trying to get all our broken parts sent out and fixed, attempting to tackle cleaning DK of the layers of dirt from the Red Sea , and also doing our best to make connections with Israeli family friends who knew we would be soon arriving in their country. And we did all that at first running here and there and seeing people and dealing with our boat. And then we CRASHED. We didn't realize how tired we were mentally from the trip up the Red Sea. With all our constant boat problems and dealing with the subconscious anxiety all the way from Oman, it finally hit us that we needed to stop for a bit and not be social and not be busy and not try to fix anything on the boat, at least for a while.

We have been in Israel now for a month and we are so thankful we chose to chill out. Right now we are staying in Nicole's family friends', Hemi and Anat, work apartment in downtown Tel Aviv and loving it. Having a place off the boat in the middle of this hip city with AC, fast internet, a good shower, and a cozy bed is total luxury for us. We can walk to the beach in about 1/2 hour as well as walk outside our door to sample all the great hip Israeli cafes, falafel joints, juice bars, and shops in this part of the city. We've been enjoying our time catching up on photos and writing, taking long walks, eating great food, and settling into the long summer hours of life in the Med.

Not only have we had some quality chill out time in Tel Aviv, but we have also managed to be good tourists. We spent a couple of days out in the Negev desert, crossed the border into Jordan and explored the ruins of Petra for 3 days, bobbed in the most salty buoyant water on the planet in the Dead Sea, trekked up at sunrise to the sacred ruins of Massada, and spent 4 days in the holy city of Jerusalem exploring this crazy fascinating city. The history and current reality of this country have been extremely interesting and are deserving of a couple stories soon to be written on the website.

On the boat reality side of our life, we have also managed to fix and clean up DK to an acceptable level again. After dealing with the most disorganized courier company ever, FedEX Israel, with over 12 hours on the phone to at least 10 different customer service personnel over a two week period, we finally managed to get both our wind generator and charging regulators sent to the U.S. for repair and back in our hands in Israel again, all working. That really sucked. But thankfully after over 3 years sailing all over the world, this is the first time we have had to deal with a company like this in sending parts back and forth. Hopefully also the last.

So DK is starting to look good again. Charging system is fixed, watermaker membrane replaced and working, wind generator up and running, all our sails are newly stitched up and a new panel replaced on our torn mainsail, instruments are all up and running, autopilot hopefully working now, chafed lines swapped out, yanmar engine serviced, new antenna replaced on our satphone on deck, and Nic, the winch cleaning superstar, meticulously took apart all 8 of our winches and serviced every part of them in about 12 hours of work. Coated with dirt, grime, and Red Sea sand, they were all in awful shape coming into Israel.

We are almost outta here. We will be back on the boat still with a few last projects to do before we take off sailing again enroute to the Dodecanese Greek Islands. Hopefully, with a good weather forecast we will pull out of our slip on Monday, June 28, top up some diesel, and head north towards Rhodes, Greece. By that time we also should have some stories of Israel and our photo albums uploaded as well. Enjoy!