"Not only is the universe stranger than what we imagine,
it is stranger than what we can imagine."
Sir Arthur Eddington

Live to Sail or Sail to Live?


Dr. Ferguson
Dr. Ferguson
A few days ago, we took a Jesse James tour to visit Yerette, the “Home of the Hummingbird”.  Yerette is the private home of Dr. Theo Ferguson and his wife, Gloria high up the slopes of the Maracas Valley in northern Trinidad. Dr. Ferguson retired from lecturing agriculture in the University of West Indies a number of years ago and took up photography in and around Trinidad. He was drawn to hummingbirds, a challenging subject, but soon was able to capture beautiful images of these birds. By design, his home is surrounded by flowers and hanging bird feeders that attracts hundreds, if not thousands, of the 17 species of hummingbirds on the island.

Home of the Hummingbird
Home of the Hummingbird

He wanted to share the experience with others but not run a big public park or center and so he and his wife decided to open their home to small groups only on a reservation basis. He gives a talk about the pre-Columbian inhabitants (Amerindians) and about the hummingbirds (with a slide show). They also offer a light lunch in the most pleasant surroundings. It was a delightful afternoon despite the rainy weather!


As Dr. Ferguson, Theo, says hummingbirds are fanciful creatures, and they certainly are. Besides their colorful beauty, they dazzle the eye with their speed and maneuverability, hovering to lick up the nectar and insects that they live on. Because of their energy needs, they “feed” every 15 minutes. This is quite understandable by just looking at them fly around. I commented that given the high sugar intake they are like 4-year-old on Red Bull. Theo figures that, relatively speaking, an adult would need to drink two large swimming pools of nectar (of 25% sugar water) a day to equal the energy input that these birds consume. I think I could fly at that point also.

But this made me wonder. Do these birds eat to live or live to eat? Did they evolve loving the food so much that it then gave them the energy to do what they do and couldn’t stop eating? Certainly, they evolved to the point that it doesn’t much matter to them now. They must ingest that much fuel to survive their lifestyle every day. I don’t think there are hummingbirds today that choose to slow down the calorie intake to live a less frantic life. Or did they find that the only way to survive was to live a frantic life? A competition to the nearest flower, that they won routinely.

Which brings me to my main question. Do people sail because they have a boat or have a boat because they sail? Much like the hummingbirds, I see many boaters frantically sailing every chance they get. They dazzle me with their sailing knowledge and proficiency of travel. I wonder if that inner longing to be propelled by only the wind is like the hummingbird’s ceaseless quest for nectar. Always looking for the next harbor to sail from.

Or they sail because they evolved a peculiar affinity of floating in lieu of a more substantial footing? Has the vessel become an extension of their life style that precludes a more sedentary life?  The earth’s surface is covered by 75% water. Evolution does strange things.

Well I’m sure that if you are one of those who have a boat you may decide which camp you belong to. Evolution dictates the parameters and you may have less influence than you imagine.

Crew's Inn
Crew's Inn

Kalunamoo's aft sunshade
Kalunamoo's aft sunshade

The pool at Crew's Inn
The pool at Crew's Inn

Kalunamoo is alongside Crews Inn here in Chaguaramas being readied to sail the eastern Caribbean for the winter. Final system checks of engine, generator, outboard motor, navigation instruments, communication equipment, refrigeration machinery, sail inventory and sanitation systems. New batteries are awaiting custom clearance before being brought to the boat, while last minute air-conditioner work was completed (new compressor, although we only use it here in Trinidad). The new aft table and sun shade is fitted and ready to go. Maureen has been stocking up on food stores and we’ll pick up fuel on our way out. Some pool time is in order before we set sail and some Shark and Bake, music jams and some rum punches are also in order. We will head north up the island chain and be in Antigua to meet the Salty Dawg Rally cruisers in English Harbor before Thanksgiving.

Do we live to sail or sail to live? Maybe we are like the hummingbirds. At this point, does it matter?

A closing remark. I saw a quote that may interest non-boaters: “Sailing is the most expensive way to travel for free”.  Ain’t dat da truth!  

Current Blog Article: Live to Sail or Sail to Live?

Comments

Your posts are always entertaining! I will miss being with you and Maureen this winter.

 Brenda  10/23/2018

 Reply

Well put Bill.  As someone who loves hummers and boats, I can relate.  Not sure which camp I am in but Brenda will probably think, when she reads the post, that I'm a lot like a hummer.  

See you in Antigua.  Jealous that you are aboard and I'm not. 


Bob

 Bob Osborn  10/23/2018

 Reply

SUBJECT: Re: Live to Sail or Sail to Live? Nice!!!! Miss you guys... starting to think about tarps and moving in closer! Like your sunshade, Blessings, Christina > On Oct 22, 2018, at 7:06 PM, Kalunamoo wrote: > >

 clabue  10/22/2018

 Reply