Swimming Naked

According to the New York Times, the investor Warren Buffett once gave a famous warning: “It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked.” Maybe that is why many now seek what Paul Simon sang some time ago, “a time of miracles and wonder”.

Kalunamoo in Rodney Bay Marina

We are in St. Lucia on the dock at Rodney Bay Marina having some engine work done (again!). The work done in Antigua in November worked fine. That concerned the freshwater side of the engine cooling system. The saltwater side of the cooling system now needs attention. This entails cleaning out the oil cooler, heat exchanger, transmission cooling pipe and raw water pump. It sounds more complicated than it is, but it is more a preemptive work than a “fix it” problem. But it does bring up the topic of “being prepared”.

The Volvo TMD31A, heat exchanger low right.

There is no question that I like to swim naked. Literally. No, pictures will not be posted. Although living on a boat makes this eminently possible, the other sense of swimming naked – not being prepared – needs some exploring.  In that sense some people still question our chosen lifestyle. After all, we are in our (very) early ‘70’s and most people of our ilk are seeking the easy life of the sunset years. Living and cruising on a sailboat sailing foreign shores and islands is not exactly a rocking chair on a porch existence. Questions of sanity arise all the time. How are we preparing for the future?

Are we naked to the challenges that exist? We know our limitations and experience has taught us the reality of life on the water. It is not all pretty sunsets, rhum punches and naked swimming. There’s bickering, breakdowns and bailing. We keep our heads above water (mostly) and watch the world turn. We prepare for the predicted winds while a miniscule virus spreads havoc across the globe. We analyze the boat’s diesel engine’s performance, anticipating future problems, while crickets defy extermination. Our political sensibilities are confounded by a tweet.

The advantage of growing old (is there another way?) is that experiences constantly increase. And that is the best preparation of what the future will bring. It is amazing to see how many people buy big new boats and set off to circle the world. Many not having sailed offshore at all. Are they prepared or will they sail naked? Well, they must decide that themselves. They get high marks for initiative but hope they are fast learners. Then there are those who live to prepare for every eventuality and never leave the dock. Sadly, too many succumb to an eventuality not envisioned. They would never swim naked.

So, the question remains, are we prepared? The short answer is yes. The long answer is that life has to be more than being prepared, more than being worried about all eventualities, more than only taking the easy path. Humans have the ability to envision themselves beyond their own existence (as alluded to in the last post) but the Achilles Heel of that is that we can also envision our failure. That vision of failure shouldn’t discourage us in living each day in the best way we can. Can we be more prepared? There is no limit to being “prepared” but panicking never solves anything. Bottom line – wash your hands, enjoy the sunshine and sometimes swim naked.          

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