My Father’s Son

I am my father’s son.

Dauntless in the Vieux Basin Honfleur, France
Dauntless in the Vieux Basin Honfleur, France

I do like the finer things in life. Too bad we see these things so late in life.  When the Buddha referred to enlightenment, he probably meant just that, old enough  to be over youthful  self-centeredness to now have the vision to see those things around us as they truly are and to appreciate and be grateful for what we received from others. To recognize the things we may have distained in youth: duty, honor and respect are in actuality, the core of our being.

I suppose my thoughts have been directed this way because we are docked in the old basin in Honfleur, a day before the 6th of June,  D-day.  Even though it was 71 years ago, there are more American flags flying here then I have ever seen in all my travels in Europe over the past 40 years.  I think because along the Normandy coast, these people, or their parents, great grandparents, actually witnessed Americans dying to liberate them.

It’s more personal, not an afterthought like in the rest of Europe where they take such things for granted.

OK so let’s talk about the last few days before my editor cuts me off.

But indulge me and let be start at the end.

All’s Well that Ends Well.

I‘m wearing my blue pinstripe suit for the first time since leaving New York.  It feels good to be dressed.  Oh, I’m wearing it with a sweater and tee shirt, so it is casual, but still, I feel good. Being alone, I have fewer occasions to dress well.  I like dressing for Julie, as she does for me.  And just like clothes, she would appreciate this restaurant as much as I do.

I have just had one of the best dinners I have had in a long time, certainly since Spain and Italy, at La Gambetta in Honfleur, France.  As I sat there, watching the meticulous setting of the tables, the level of service, savored the marvelously prepared dishes, I thought of my father.

A Perfectly Set table
A Perfectly Set table

My father first came to France sometime in the mid-1960’s.  I think.  At least that’s when I was first aware of it.  My parents were from the generation that kids didn’t have a need to know everything.  But mom always talked about how much father loved France, clearly the food,  and the wine, as he did bring home a case of wine from the Chateau du Bost, and women.??

Maybe it is as simple as the sense of well being and caring one gets form being in a restaurant that only has a single seating all evening.  The focus is on the diners at hand, not what the future may hold.  This is the norm in most of europe and everywhere in France, Spain and Italy.  I understand more Dutch then French, yet the French always treat me well.

30 hours earlier, we had just finished docking.  Adjusting the lines took another hour.  Being on too short a finger pier is always challenging, as is the fact that our beam of 16’ is really wide for Europe. We may be the fattest boat in the harbor.  But we had come through one lock, one bridge and a night on anchor unscathed, so I was ready to celebrate.

It wasn’t till we were firmly docked, as I took my celebratory shower, I luxuriated in the sense of another job well done.  The first phase of the summer cruise was over.  Dauntless and I were on the continent.  We had dealt with the boat yard, we had dealt with the bottom paint, we had started the installation of the Wallas heater, and the bus heater.  The lazerette was clean and organized. The Electroscan had been replaced by the Purasan and the Maretron system was not only giving me the correct data, it was even talking to Coastal Explorer. I had gotten the water maker up and running with the new auxiliary pump and new switch system.  Life was good.

Larry and Karla were enounced in their cozy hotel room in Honfleur. They deserved it, as  I had worked those two like a rented mule these last three weeks.  Dauntless was never cleaner, nor brighter than the day we bought her.  It was wonderful to have old friends, Larry I met on T-3 in 1973, and I was grateful to have another 4 hands to help with all the jobs to be done.  All our visitors for the rest of the summer will benefit.

Yesterday, I had also finally gotten the tides and currents right.  We hauled anchor at 05:00, currents were changing at 06:00 and we needed that full 6  hours of favorable current to get to Honfleur (just south of Le Harve) at a reasonable time.

We made such good time, 7 to 9 knots, that an hour out of the mouth of the Seine, I could reduce the rpms to 1200 and still made 6 knots to arrive at the lock for Honfleur with time to spare.

Dauntless In Honfleur
Dauntless In Honfleur

We had had 7 to 10 knots winds on our nose all day, but less than 10 knots, even with a current that is against the wind, meant the waves were only 1 to 2 feet.  Best seas we have had for the previous three weeks.  Our 10 hour trip took 8.

And quite different than the debacle of the day before, where we did 48 miles in the first 6 hours, then took 3 hours to go the final 6 miles, and then it got worse.

 

Published by Richard on Dauntless

I’m an eclectic person, who grew up in New York, lived overseas for many years and have a boat, Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen trawler yacht. Dauntless enables me to not only live in many different parts of the world, but to do it in a way that is interesting, affordable, with the added spice of a challenge. Dauntless also allows me to be in touch with nature. As the boat glides through the ocean, you have a sense of being part of a living organism. When dolphins come to frolic, they stay longer if you are out there talking to them, watching them. Birds come by, sometimes looking for a handout; sometimes grateful to find a respite from their long journey. I grew up on the New York waterfront, in the West Village, when everything west of Hudson St. was related to shipping and cargo from around the world. For a kid, it was an exciting place of warehouses, trucks, and working boats of all kinds: tugs and the barges and ships, cargo and passenger, they were pushing around. My father was an electrical engineer, my mother an intellectual, I fell in between. I have always been attracted to Earth’s natural processes, the physical sciences. I was in 8th grade when I decided to be a Meteorologist. After my career in meteorology, my natural interest in earth sciences: geology, astronomy, geography, earth history, made it a natural for me to become a science teacher in New York City, when I moved back to the Big Apple. Teaching led to becoming a high school principal to have the power to truly help kids learn and to be successful not only in school but in life. Dauntless is in western Europe now. In May and June, I will be wrapping up the last two years in northern Europe, heading south to spend the rest of the year in Spain & Portugal. Long term, I’m planning on returning to North American in the fall of 2017 and from there continuing to head west until we’re in Northeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, where we will settle for a bit. But now, my future lies not in NY or even Europe, but back to the water, where at night, when the winds die down, there is no noise, only the silence of the universe. I feel like I am at home, finally.

2 thoughts on “My Father’s Son

  1. It was a great 4 weeks, Ricci. I will be forever grateful for your willingness to share the entire experience from navigating and problem solving to grunge work and celebrating the large and small victories that each day delivered.

    Hope we left you and the Dauntless in better shape than we found you. Give my regards to Ms. Kim and BucketHead!

    Karla

    1. Thanks to you and Larry, Dauntless was able to get underway, leave Ireland, cross the English Channel and slog our way up the coast.

      You’ll have to go online and catch the last episode of Queen of the Office, it was good and satisfying.

      Save some time for Dauntless this winter and spring.

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