How I spent my blaestivation

September 30th, 2010 § 8 comments

According to Wikipedia, aestivation (also known as summer sleep) is a state of dormancy, somewhat similar to hibernation, except that it takes place during the hot, dry days of summer.

On checking my blogroll, I note that I was not the only one to have succumbed to this state of torpor in recent months. So I have coined a new word for the condition: “blaestivation.” After all, if Stephen Fry can get away with Blessays, why not? However, be advised that, should this newly-minted word take off like wildfire through the blogosphere, I shall be claiming royalties. You have been warned.

This is how I spent my blaestivation this year: Sailing. Sailing. And more sailing.

If you’ve been following along with this here blog of mine, you’ll know that sailing would not be my first choice as a pastime, even if the only other options were picking fluff from my navel or watching Snooki* flash her ta-tas on TV. But it is The First Husband’s passion and, if I want to see anything of him during the months between May and October, I really have no choice but to tag along as he sails merrily around Lake Ontario.

And that is what I have done, for almost twenty years. For most of them, I have bitched, moaned and whined, in person and in print, lamenting the fact that, because I was too old to be deck fluff (sailor parlance for the optional blonde gracing the foredeck of most power boats) and too young to be ballast, I had to earn my keep as a winch wench, raising and lowering sails.

Along the way, almost against my will, I’ve picked up more than a smattering of sailing ability, to the point where, although I would not dream of operating our boat on my own, I’m quite competent on navigation, sail changes and operating the helm. In fact, because I’ve taken a few courses over the years and become certified, were we to charter a boat in the Caribbean, as we’ve thought of doing some winter, I would be the official Captain. The Master and Commander has never bothered actually learning how to sail, him being a natural and all.

That said, when we’re not actually in mortal peril, caught in thunderstorms or squalls, sailing bores the bejesus out of me. Once you’ve gone through the minor excitement of leaving dock, tidying up fenders and lines, and raising the sails, there’s bugger all else, until you repeat the process in reverse on coming into dock. For the hours in between, there’s just nothing to do, other than snooze, read, or gaze into the horizon.

This year, because we’ve pretty much exhausted the possibilities of the west end of Lake Ontario, we decided to move our boat from its usual berth in Hamilton Harbour east to Prince Edward County – three hours by road, three eight-hour days by sail. The idea was to make every weekend a long one, Thursday to Monday, spend lots of time relaxing in peaceful anchorages and explore The 1000 Islands.

This is our boat, Slán Abhaile:

She’s quite a pretty boat, with enough room to ensure that The First Husband and I don’t kill each other on a long sail – which, for us, would be a maximum of eight hours. We’re not keen on overnight trips and don’t see the point of spending all day on the lake, docking at a new marina or club, and then sailing off again the next day without a chance to explore.

Our new location, at Waupoos, has been wonderful.  There’s clear water for swimming, a gourmet English pub half a mile from the marina in one direction and a winery and cidery a mile or two in the other; artists and potters abound in the area and the town of Picton, just a few miles away by car, has plenty of good restaurants and a terrific coffee shop and bookstore.

In fact, it’s just a little too wonderful. As The First Husband likes to tell friends back home, we’ve been “waupoosed.” We have everything we need in Waupoos, so why bother going somewhere else? Although we spent a whole month on the boat, between July and August, we sailed to only one or two ports within a ten-mile radius of Waupoos and barely made it into the edge of  The 1000 Islands. All we’ve done is sail around Waupoos Island, anchor in one of the bays for lunch and a swim, and then sail back into the marina in time for a sundowner on the boat or a walk to the pub.

We’ve made a solemn promise to ourselves that next year will be different. We’ll circumnavigate the Lake, starting with The 1000 Islands, travelling along the US shore, east to west, and back to base along the Canadian shore, west to east. All we have to do is make sure we don’t get waupoosed first.

* If you followed the Snooki link and are, or hope to be, a published writer, I really hope you have not slit your wrists by this point.

§ 8 Responses to How I spent my blaestivation"

  • Pop and Ice says:

    I could only do it if promised not to be awoken before 10am and tea and sweets were brought for breakfast. THEN I might consent to being “winch babe”.

  • JES says:

    Blaestivation, is it? You’re pretty safe in your trademark claim that NO ONE other than you has come up with that one. :)

    The Missus and I have traveled so little, especially in the last few years, that I wouldn’t dare suggest that we find one, just ONE favorite place to revisit every vacation time. But the idea has a lot of appeal. The small-town thing especially — we don’t mind not having a lot of Things To Do, as long as there are a couple decent places to eat and hang out. And light for reading.

    (For skeptics of Twitter who might be reading this post, I’d like to add that the several months when Tessa is on the water may justify an experimental subscription. (Especially if the odds of your ever helming a vessel yourself are about the same as mine, which currently stand at 0.))

  • Anne Gibert says:

    Oh, Tessa, that all sounds heavenly. Why does everyone else’s life sound better than one’s own?

  • I love the new word. Much better than S.F.’s.

    Since you are so good at it, would you consider coming up with a linguistically sanctioned escuse for not blogging the whole year round?

  • kiwidoug says:

    Good post. I hadn’t realised that Canada had such good sailing oportunities.

    Here in NZ, by a funny coincidence, we also have a town of Picton, at the head of the Marlborough Sound. Friends who sail say it is a glorious area for cruising.

    I did follow that Snooki link; never heard of her, but from what I saw, it doesn’t look good for media standards. I just cannot understand the fascination of the general public for the characterless fame-junkies

  • wisewebwoman says:

    Oh I’ve missed you, you wicked wenchy sailorwoman.

    And I know PEC and Picton so well, the Da and I spent a fair whack of time down in those parts, magical county.

    Blaestivation has such an “As Gaeilge” ring to it?

    Good word indeed, don’t keep us waiting now..


  • Well it could be worse. It could be GOLF!

    Actually I think you’re a lucky winch wench and would happily swap you my office job instead.

    Glad you’re ok, though roll on the seaboard wireless net! Lx

  • In my view, anybody who spends more than five seconds on a boat is a bloody saint. I’m nominating you for pope. That or Wife of the Millennium.

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