US Land Logs 11, Year 4: Kids, Friends, and Decisions
Date: Saturday, September 5, 2009
Weather: Short Summer-Fall is Here
Location: East Falmouth, Massachusetts

The autumnal equinox is more than a week away, but the weather here on Cape Cod screams of fall. The few hot, hazy days of summer have given way to the cool, clear days of fall. If I added together all the hot summer days we had here on the Cape, I think I would come up with about three weeks, not three months. When it was hot, it was very, very hot, but the rest of the summer was rainy and cool. But despite the strange summer weather, we have had a wonderful time sharing the past four months with our children and grandchildren. When we first arrived in Santa Fe in April, winter was just giving way to spring. We spent time there helping Justin and Jo get a little garden started. And once we arrived here on Cape Cod, we worked with Heather and Jed to plant and harvest a fantastic backyard garden. We have canned and frozen green beans, made a variety of different kinds of pickles with our own dill and cucumbers, made pesto with the most aromatic basil I have ever smelled, eaten fresh kale, broccoli, Swiss chard, tomatoes, and lettuce, and enjoyed zucchini in a variety of ways. And we are now just beginning to taste the crop of Brussels sprouts. When we return to Windbird, I’m going to miss walking down the hill to the garden to ‘pick’ dinner. But as the weather changes, green beans give way to pumpkins and winter squash. Just writing the word ‘winter’ makes me shiver, so the time to return to Windbird in Malaysia is drawing near.

Decisions, decisions . . . we have finally set a date for our return to Windbird. We will be leaving Cape Cod the beginning of October, flying to North Carolina to visit with family, and then heading back to Malaysia on October 27. We’ve opted for an earlier return than planned because of our second decision. We are going to leave Thailand in late January/early February and head across the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea and then through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean. We’ve always thought we would make our way home by going around South Africa, but slowly, slowly we have changed our minds. Nothing is set in stone, but we think this is our plan of action.

Many of you emailed when I posted my Ode to Sylvie. I’m still having great difficulties believing she is actually gone, but a phone call from Doug who is now back in Port Vila, Vnuatu, made it all so real. We spent our time talking about his future, but we are all still grieving for Sylvie. In an email this week Doug wrote:

“What’s happened since then (Sylvie’s death) has been a 3-week long police investigation involving local Vanuatu criminal investigators, this because her death was not due to natural causes and the substance MMS she had ingested was deemed illegal for promotion and sale as a medical remedy by the person she bought it from. Australian joint command investigators, who aid in law enforcement in Vanuatu, also became involved. That led to a court order, and eventually to a senior pathologist being flown from Melbourne (Australia) to Port Vila (Vanuatu) to conduct a post mortem autopsy. That occurred two weeks ago. Then — with her son and daughter’s agreement — we arranged to fly her body from Vanuatu to New Zealand for cremation because it could not be done in Vanuatu. Last week I accompanied her body to Auckland by plane, was present for the cremation, and arranged to have her ashes sent to her daughter Aretha in Mexico City. The ashes arrived in Mexico City on Tuesday this week. I’m now back on Windcastle in Port Vila. And we await the results of the autopsy which will come from Australia’s Victorian Institute for Forensic Medicine in Melbourne, sometime in the weeks to come. I’m also dealing with the need to secure our boat against the approaching cyclone season, which may mean sailing it to another country . . . My heart is absolutely crushed by the sudden loss of my dear wife Silvia. It’s so shocking I can hardly believe it. I miss her immensely. Windcastle is empty without her presence. And I know for sure that all of her relatives, friends, and acquaintances, are equally if not more shocked to know that she is gone, and will never be with us again. But like we all know, she will live on forever in our hearts and memories, for she brought so much joy and happiness into the world — and for us who knew her well, and virtually everybody else who came in contact with her, her bright smile and hearty laughter will be remembered forever. The night before her death she had made a big hit with the local Vanuatu villagers in Lamen Bay (Epi Island) where we were at the time, because they found her to be such a charming, outgoing, and loving women, especially to their little children — she was even busy in the village that evening teaching those little girls and boys how to dance. I’ve been told that the villagers have already made a little shrine there to remember Silvia by. As her daughter said to me in an email two days after her death, her mom is now with her God, in Heaven, ‘Teaching the angels how to dance.’ That is one of the many ways I’ll remember Sylvie, who had become the love of my life.” Just the thought of Sylvie teaching the angels to dance brings smiles to my face and lifts a little of the burden of her death from my heart.”

But life must go on and Sylvie’s death reminded us of just how much we miss the people we have met in during our voyage. We keep in fairly regular contact with a few cruising friends and long to hear from those that have sailed out of our lives. We will spend the next month preparing to leave here. Physically getting ready to leave is easy, but mentally getting ready to leave our grandbabies is a much harder task. But by going through the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, we will be within visiting distance by May and at least that is a comforting thought.

So here’s a photo summary of August on Cape Cod, minus the photos from Justin, Jo, and Ziggy’s visit. Those are posted with the August 24 log.

090826 Cape Cod–Jonah's Second Month
090829 Cape Cod–Trip North to Kennebunkport