Sweet or Salty? Sweet.
Dogs or cats? Dogs (oh my dear Texiedoo)
Coffee or tea? Tea
Mountains or sea? Ummm, can't decide, close tie.
Season? Endless Summer, at least for 2018.
Beatles or Rolling Stones? Beach boys (well, err. maybe tied with the Beatles)
And I'll cut it off there.
On many occasions, my parents have told me that I was their water baby. Even when my lips turned blue they couldn't get me out of the water. To this day, little Linny comes out in full form when I go for a dip, channeling my inner mermaid, I feel playful and care-free, good vibrations abound while splish-splashing around without a care in the world.
It was time for me to shed my mermaid tail for some sturdy sea legs when my dad bought a yellow hulled keelboat aptly named Popcorn, on the Ottawa River. I was 12, and before I knew it, I was tying knots in my sleep, talking nautical, and was known as my dad's secret weapon when it came to race night. Race nights were such an adrenaline rush, the start line and the mark rounding, my dad took it quite seriously to say the least, and I loved every minute! I learned to walk on eggshells working the foredeck, constantly trimming the sails and reading the lay-lines on our upwind tacks, and setting the spinnaker and flying the ‘chute going downwind. Meg and I eventually got our own Laser, a simple speedy little dinghy, which we eventually brought up to our summer camp to teach windsurfing and sailing. Our next boat's name was Deuce Coupe, she had the fastest set of sails in town. Growing up I didn't have a dedicated sport, but when sailing came into my life, I was sure hooked.
I wonder sometimes if listening to the Beach Boys on repeat growing up played a role in my love for the sea? It's likely. Growing up in Ottawa, so far from any ocean, California had me dreaming like nobody's business on many-a-winters day. I yearned to be closer to the water.
After the sloop came into my life, I knew I would take my love for H2O further, always thinking wouldn't it be nice learning to surf? So slowly but surely, I am doing just that. I have a looong way to go and one thing is for sure, I want to keep going. The little girl who never wanted to get out of the water when I was little is still in me. 'Catch a wave and you'll be sitting on top of the world', without surfing himself, Brian Wilson sure had his wits about him even if it didn't always seem so. Anyone who bobbles up and down facing out to sea waiting for the right wave can tell you that surfing is rather addictive, and on a rare uncrowded, warm and glassy rolling day, I could stay in the water forever. If the swell is rip-roaring, or if I'm in Tofino and my arms and legs are in a deep freeze, then rationale kicks in. After many years of being a flight attendant, I certainly get around and have always asked for Honolulu overnights, for obvious reasons. I have travelled far to catch some waves, the wildest and most remote being out alone on the Wild coast of South Africa, with nobody in sight but the image of great whites cemented in my minds eye from a recent shark cage dive. The other night on a nice little wave after sunset in Noosa here in Australia, I overheard a fellow surfer girl say 'I feel like shark bait, it's time to get out'. That was my cue too.
Living on a surf break was the first thing I had written on my dream list before setting out on my year off. I've always wanted to get into the rhythm of the simple life, along with nature, to wake up at dawn, surf, eat, chill, surf, chill, read, surf, eat, sleep. Much of my time in Sri Lanka was just that. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case here in Australia, with a cyclone off the coast creating a rip-roaring salty mess when I was in places I was hoping to surf. But all was not lost, I had many more amazing experiences, and today I leave on another adventure that incorporates two items on my 'bucket list'. To sail on an ocean and to dive the great barrier reef.
I heard from a bosun many moons ago while working at the Nepean Sailing Club that crew is always needed for boat deliveries. This planted the seed that will be sprouting today during this watery pisces growing moon. I signed up to a maritime crew resource upon arrival in Oz, where this opportunity presented itself to me the very next day (with oodles of other tempting offers), delivering a beautiful 37' catamaran up to the Whitsundays. The people I'll be sailing with sound great, all skippers with so much experience, we'll be sailing day and night, taking it in 8 hour shifts. It's the perfect opportunity to learn so much more, and to get a quick glimpse into what life will be like on the ocean without having to commit too much time. I hope to continue where I left off with my pops all those years ago, all the while making him proud.
And then to dive the Great Barrier. Doesn't really need an explanation, other than I wanna see it before it's all bleached away and in ode to someone who really really wanted to experience it, but no longer can.
What better way to experience the reef then to sail my way up there? Two dreams in one go, pretty perfect. Back to the water I go, my endless summer continues, along with the search for my perfect wave.
Where will I go afterwards? Aruba, Bahama, come on pretty mama to Key Largo, Montego, how about them Florida keys or India, Fiji, Bali, Polynesia, NZ, Japan, Vietnam? God/wind only knows...
A little chuckle to send you off.