Life on the boat includes celebration. It isn’t as though every day is a party, but I try to live as if there are noteworthy, important events that might be missed if I were rushing off to work or even just being at home. We try to enjoy the small things – a bird that comes to visit whether by sea or by air.
There are also the normal big events that are always worthy of celebration. They come on the calendar like clockwork. I have come to realize that these times punctuate our lives. Our forty-fourth anniversary is one date I didn’t want to miss. We evaluate our life together – the year in review and the year ahead. The joke is that men need to be reminded of their anniversary. Woe to them if they forget! But the reality for me is a sense of fortune. I want to celebrate our great fortune. This year was no different. I had a really great restaurant picked out. I had to “stack the deck” in my favor because the end of the evening would include a proposal for another year together. (She said ‘yes’).
This year was different because Beth beat me to the celebration. A couple of days before my big plan, I woke up to a float plane parked just behind Voyager. This is not unusual in that float plane travel is common in the islands of British Columbia. This was a special plane however.
This is a De Haviland DH-2 Beaver. It is powered by a Pratt Whitney Wasp Junior nine cylinder, 450 hp radial engine. This may not mean much to you, but Beth knows that it means a great deal to me. I am a pilot. I love planes of all varieties, but a Beaver is pretty much at the top of the list. They are practical, solid; some say iconic. Even though I have a float plane rating, I had never been in one until Beth said, “You had better get dressed because that is your plane, and it takes off in an hour.”
Needless to say, I had a blast. The scenic tour is usually a shared thing with the company attempting to fill all six seats. We had the plane to ourselves, with an excellent pilot who treated our time as sort of an instructional check out flight. Having the boat gives us the opportunity to tour all around the islands, so we didn’t want the usual air tour. Instead we spent the time with startup, magneto settings (you don’t start a radial with the ignition on at first…), power and flap settings. How fun is that?
Another cause for celebration this summer was a visit from our granddaughter, Fern. As every grandparent will tell you, their grand kids are the best. I am no different. She’s the best! Since she lives far away, our visits are infrequent and too short. But this trip was going to be almost two weeks. Since we’re talking about celebration, I must confess we celebrated her birthday even though it was more than a month away. Usually one week off the real date is as far that is allowed, but we celebrated anyhow.
Retirement has given us the opportunity of time. In our daily routine while working there wasn’t the freedom to go places that were far away or would take too much time to explore. I made the mistake of thinking that those far away, exotic locations would somehow be more satisfying than the work routine. What I’m discovering is that a beautiful setting is great, but there is a longing to share this beauty with with family and friends. Place can be important; those who share your life – even more so. So for us, good cell phone coverage for Face-time with my sister, text messaging with our granddaughter and staying in touch generally is a priority.
Celebration happens regularly on Voyager. Any excuse at all, whether we just made a good anchor placement, a successful dinghy ride where nobody fell in or got excessively wet, or just the end of the day – life is good; we celebrate. Gratitude is good for the soul.