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Cruise Day Five – St. Maarten Sailing

on February 2, 2014

I hope that the travelogue-ish posts aren’t boring all of you. Inside each day I feel that I learned something more about myself, something pertinent to my recovery efforts, or at least something relevant to where I’ve been, where I am or where I’m going.

On the fifth day of the cruise, we arrived in St. Maarten. You might have noticed that I like excursions that involve water and boats of any kind. For the day I’d signed up for the America’s Cup Regatta trip. I thought this meant that they would put us on a sailboat and race us around for awhile. I was pretty excited when I realized on my morning walk that we had a nice wind blowing and the conditions would be great for a sail. Oh the excursion was so much more than I expected. It turns out they would split the group of 30 people into two teams of 15, put each team on its own sailboat and then have us race each other! Psych!

On this excursion, we were joined by singer-songwriter Anita Cochran, Suzanne Alexander from the Great American Country television channel, and a couple of their friends. Nice women. We chatted in line before getting to the tender boat that would take us to the sailing vessels. A couple of them have a trip planned for the Keys so I gave them my contact info later in the cruise in case they want to visit the dolphins where I work.

It turns out that I was on a different sailboat — True North — and they were part of the team sailing Stars and Stripes. Trash talking ensued when we were on the boat going out to the sailing vessels. (Ok, I might have instigated some of the trash talk but everybody else on the excursion quickly got into the spirit and the good natured teasing. Someone on one team or the other would say something smart alecky and everyone would laugh.)

We were asked if we wanted an active job, a semi-active job or a not-so-active job. Does it surprise any of you that I wanted an active job? I was assigned the role of being one of the primary grinders. On the vessel we had to work the four person cranking gizmo that raised, tightened or let out the foresail. There were two experienced crew members and a captain who gave us instruction and cued us when to get set, which direction to crank, and when to start and stop. Other people on the team had jobs like main grinders, time keeper, winch wenches, etc. All of us had parts to play to race the boat.

It was exciting, fast, beautiful, and hard work! Lots of arm and shoulder effort to work those cranks, let me tell you, but we were up to the challenge. The race went for five legs and, toward the end, Stars and Stripes was coming on fast, but we squeaked out a victory. Talk about exhilarating! Everybody on both vessels talked about how this was one of the best excursions ever.

We met up after in the ship’s store. As badly as we’d all trash talked before the race, we were gracious in victory, realizing that everybody worked freaking hard and gave the race their all. Anita told us we all better come to her show because she would definitely talk about the race. However, she joked that if we came in making the L sign on our foreheads for Loser, the rest of the audience might think we meant her music. I assured her that, for all that I am an inveterate smart ass, I would never disrespect her or any performer on stage.

Later that night, she performed with Ty Herndon. Great music and performances! I was behaving myself, applauding their performance, when Ty mentioned that Anita had spent the day racing sailboats. Someone from my team way on the other side of the lounge yelled out that she’d been on the losing boat! Anita said, “I thought we weren’t going to go there, Mary.”

Ack! Blamed when I was being so good. Caught up in the moment, I jumped up defended myself. Ty announced that he’d lost all control of his show and the rest of the audience laughed. I saw Anita afterwards and she pointed out that she couldn’t actually see our faces but shouldn’t have assumed. It was a pretty funny moment.

At dinner that evening, I’d sat with a half a dozen other people including two friends who were traveling together, a married couple from Oklahoma, and a woman I’d seen earlier at line dancing class. We were all talking about the excursions we’d done and I mentioned the sailing. This lead to a discussion of other excursions on other trips and I talked about ziplining and hiking the crater in Hawaii. One of the women asked, “Have you always lived life on the edge?”

It was such an interesting perspective from someone who didn’t know me and knew nothing of my history. I liked the image of being seen as an adventurous woman. I decided to share just a little bit. I told her that no, I had not always lived this way and that, to be honest, two years ago I couldn’t have done any of these activities because of my obesity. “So now you’re making up for lost time?” she asked.

I don’t know that I’ve thought of it that way, friends, but as soon as she asked I realized that, to large extent, that’s exactly what I’m doing. Making up for lost time and making the most of every opportunity.

The late show that night was by Wade Hayes. I remembered his hit songs from several years ago, but hadn’t heard much about him in recent years. I was surprised when he talked about being a medical miracle and said that it was, indeed, a miracle that he was alive. It turns out that in 2012, he was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer that spread to his liver. Multiple surgeries and chemo treatments helped him battle and he survived. He was only 42 with no history of this cancer in his family! I was incredibly touched by his story and loved his new song Live Your Life.

I truly feel like I’ve received a lot of important reminders and life affirmations on this cruise. More than just being entertained and having fun, I’m taking in these messages and this energy. I want to internalize them so that they enhance and contribute to my commitment to recovery. I want to keep living my best life, every single day.

4 responses to “Cruise Day Five – St. Maarten Sailing

  1. Hope says:

    That sailing trip sounds amazing! I am loving your travelogues. 🙂

  2. Skye says:

    I love these posts, too! I’m interested both by the stories of your adventures and your connections to others as well as the insights you’ve been gaining. And I love that others who didn’t know you before see you as an adventurous, life on the edge person!

  3. kipper43 says:

    Mary I am sooo impressed with your adventures and deep thoughts about how you are handling everything! I think this personal cruise you took was a self awareness confidence building no holes barred adventure. Your comments you received from acquaintances on the ship prove that you are conquering and accomplishing all that you want in life! I have learned so much. Maybe I should find a cruise and set out by myself and dig deep inside. Thanks

  4. Susanne says:

    These travel logs are not boring at all! We’re not travelling this year, so it’s fun to hear what others are doing.

    I love your reaction to being seen as an adventurous woman. Sometimes we forget who we are 🙂

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