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Aannsha’s Blog #32 – Me and my shadow

Rusty chain

Oh, I can’t wait to get out of this marina!

It’s not that I don’t like it. It’s a lovely marina and a great place to hang around while work is done on the boat and we finalise paperwork. But it’s all getting a bit samey now.

Occasional boats do come and go and we now have a new neighbour, who is a lovely man and a fount of knowledge – an absolute godsend for two newbies like us.

Our broker, his team and the marineros are all likeable and I feel very welcomed here. We’ve even made a few friends; yacht owners who’ve been over from the UK to do work on their boats; a lovely couple who we hung out with a few times when we first arrived and who have now gone south in their yacht; and families who we’ve met either through social media or who’ve walked past our boat. All in all, considering we’re in a land ‘far from home’, we’re very rich in associates and friends.

It’s just, I’m starting to get bored.

It’s certainly not due to a shortage of daily doings. This week we’ve had musical lockers as we’ve rearranged storage for various items, flown the drone (well Baz flew it – I stood and watched; there’s no way I’m going near that equipment; there are so many ways I could crash it - ask anyone who’s watched me play video games on a console!), recorded footage and edited for this week’s video, made jewellery and a video for my personal YouTube channel, been for walks, fixed Barry’s other sandal and replaced the failed metal clip with a stronger home-made copper version to match the other one I repaired a few weeks ago.

The list of completed tasks rolls on.

The luxuriously long, sunny days stretch into one extended panoramic scene of marina life.

The waiting to sail is now becoming palpably wearisome.

Rigging humming sea shanties

Boredom overcomes fear

I never realised boredom was stronger than fear!

When we first bought A B Sea and had conversations about where we’d sail to, I honestly felt scared. In those early days, my imagination conjured up all the possible ways we could crash the boat, capsize or die. Or typically, all of the above together.

I think fear of the unknown has been a large contributing factor. “Unknown” mostly covers what weather conditions we’ll encounter, mooring and anchoring situations (or lack) along the way, and in particular, how we will handle these situations as new sailors. The first two points are a given when you’re sailing. The third can be alleviated.

Since we’ve been living on our yacht, I’ve become familiar with the feel of her, got to know her systems better, felt her calm stability and grown a feeling of trust for her ability to weather whatever we encounter. Watching YouTube videos has aided the technical side of sailing, as both Baz and I have mentally refreshed what we learned on our February sailing course in Gibraltar. Discussing general sailing plans with Baz has also helped. Hearing him talk of his plans to sail cautiously while we learn how we respond to the weather and how the yacht responds to us, has helped fears I’ve had arising from hearing some of the big bold Sagittarian comments he’s made. Such as sailing to Greece from Spain in what has sounded like “five minutes” to hear him talk! These anxieties have been dispelled as we’ve discussed finer details of how we’ll actually make passage in our first few days.

I’ve also found that settling into the yacht as a liveaboard, watching systems being upgraded or replaced and knowing that we actually have a solid, strong, seaworthy vessel which is in as good a sailing condition as she can be has been a huge factor in becoming more confident.

As confidence replaces fear, and we settle into waiting for those final jobs and paperwork to come to a close, I find myself becoming restless. The familiarity of our surroundings is feeling less like a safe harbour and more like a confining comfort zone. Now, despite the unknowns, I find myself looking forward to setting sail and reaching out for new vistas.

Living with a creative imagination

In fact I’m happy to report that those early mental videos that ran in my head of us breaking the boom in an accidental jibe in wildly fluctuating gusts of wind, have been replaced by visualisations of excited, exhilarated sailing as we quickly gain confidence in our ability to sail A B Sea.

Me learning to dive

So much so, I am even beginning to turn my thoughts to my first dives off the back of the boat in my new fabulously-fitting dive gear! If you’ve read my blog and seen the YouTube video of me learning to scuba dive, you’ll remember how diving certainly didn’t come easily for me. In fact, while Baz has been dreaming daily of submerging himself in his much-loved underwater world of scuba, I’ve been challenged to simply keeping my thoughts firmly fixed in the here and now, rather than let them get carried away with all the things that could go wrong underwater! Hearing that a 5m great white shark has been spotted swimming around the Balearics hasn’t helped quell my fears, but I know another fear-based mental pattern created by a fertile imagination when I see one, and I’m not falling for this one.

It’s so easy to actually believe what our imagination is showing us, isn’t it? We get caught up in a thought and before you know it, it has become a full blown movie that we’re participating in. It takes a bit of effort, but returning attention to what’s happening right now, and remembering what is actually real, helps dispel a lot of anxiety. For instance, I know my dive gear is the best. I know Baz as a Dive Master is a great dive buddy. I know I will enjoy being underwater once I’ve tested my equipment. I know that practice makes perfect and more dives will make all the difference to me. So instead of letting my imagination create scenarios of diving disasters and death to accompany the sailing ones that it tried to throw at me a few months back, I’m consciously putting my imagination to better use.

How? I’m working out what piece of wire-wrapped jewellery I’m going to make next! Enjoying editing videos! Re-writing the naming ceremony for our boat, so it is less of an 18th century drama and more of a 21st century ritual! And deciding on salads to make for our visitors.

Sterling silver wire stitched shell

Shining the light on the shadows

Letting our imagination hijack our attention can lead to anxiety, fear and general mental discomfort in the present moment. Focused use of our creative imagination can produce so much of value and bring joy at the same time. Mastering our thinking process is critical to making this work. Sometimes though that’s not always easy, particularly if we’re massively stressed or haven’t spent much time meditating.

In times of mental discombobulation (don’t you love that word?) it can help to listen to guided visualisations, as these actively move our worrying mind into a positive mindset. In case you didn’t know, as a long term meditation teacher in my ‘former life’ I produced guided relaxations that proved popular to meditation group participants and general public alike. I don’t produce these as CDs any more, but I do have a few of the most well-liked tracks available on our website for download. Do pop over and check them out if you’re curious - there are samples available to listen to.

Relax tracks

One day soon we’ll sail

I know that the sea is waiting for us to sail too, because the other day as I was walking along the beach, a wave delivered a perfect sea urchin skeleton right in front of my feet! What a gift! So, as the weeks roll on by and fear gives way to frustration lol, I can almost hear A B Sea’s rigging humming sea shanties. When that happens, I just tell her, “Soon A B Sea, soon!” and turn my attention to my next creative project.

Sea's gift - perfect urchin skeleton

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