• close family • small boat • big world •

Christmas in Culebra, a Moment in Time

December 26, 2014

by Greg
At anchor, Culebra, Spanish Virgin Islands

Culebra is a small island in what are
known as the Spanish Virgins, east of
   Puerto Rico and west of the US          
Virgins. There are many unspoiled    
beaches and excellent snorkeling.     

When I was in my late 20s and 30s, time passed of course, marked by career achievements, job changes, vacations, girlfriends, and moves - from group houses to apartments to my own place to shacking up to marriage. But looking back, the days blurred together. Every day was mostly like the next. They seemed numberless. With some exceptions (like marriage, of course, Paula), it was easy to pretend time was not passing. I think I was still planning to live forever.

I only realized this looking back after having kids. As you know if you've had them, kids change, learn, and grow seemingly by the second. And so it's in your face constantly:  time is passing, you are aging, you are mortal. It's easy to realize intellectually that time is passing, but having kids drives it home: time rushes past, and we will never get it back.
The town of Dewey is a quirky little   
place with lots of interesting expats,   
locals, murals and other art, and a sort
of canal running through the middle.    

Cruising is similar for me. Each harbor we sail into reminds me that we can never really be "here" again.  We might return to the place, but the details will be different. We might return to this harbor someday for example, but it certainly won't be with our young kids. The fact that we've sailed into some of these harbors before ('98-'99), intensifies these feelings. The harbors are similar to what they were 15 years ago, but they're not the same. Local hangouts that meant a lot have vanished, others have sprung up, development has happened (and on some islands, turned to ruin just as quickly).

Barbershop mural
With each harbor, we are reminded of the other cruisers we knew back then in that harbor who are not here now. Some are on the other side of the world, some got tired of cruising, some are too old to cruise, and some have died. Time and place: each harbor, each passage, each moment is unique.

What does this have to do with Christmas?  Christmas affects me the same way.  Perhaps it is because it is so kid-focused, each Christmas takes me all the way back to Christmases as a kid and all the Christmases between then and now. I think Christmas lets us (or forces us) to pause and be sentimental, something that many of us might try to avoid through the rest of the year. Each Christmas is unique, just as each moment is unique, never to be repeated.
Mural on school

I am thankful for these reminders; it's one of the many reasons I like cruising. It's not easy to live in the present, but it's all we've got.

I am also thankful to be alive, healthy, and with those I love, and we on Daystar wish those things for you on these holidays and wish you all good things in this coming year.

Wall with bottles

(More pictures below.)

Alley to bar
Road to dinghy dock, Daystar center
Gate art

Looking east through canal from west side of island.


Decorated house

Strange figure (~15' tall) facing west on west side of island. Not sure what he's throwing or who his target is.
Seems to be made of wood.

In canal looking east. Through the bridge is the large protected harbor.

sv.Slowdown said...

Very well pu!. Cheryl and I have been blessed to be able to get to know you and your family during these holidays. Your kids so remind us of ours. Enjoy every minute with them. Ed & Cheryl Carter

Anonymous said...

Hey Greg- sounds like you and the fam are doing well and are happy- great to see and I think of you all often :) I am sitting here at Districts, and thinking of you as Kyle has earned himself a spot in the District final match in 120 weight class. You gave him the love for the sport and we are grateful for that! Calvin is here too, wrestling in 113 match for 3rd/4th place. They both advanced to regionals. I will email you a pic but wanted to let you know- the kid Kyle wrestles is McLean and top 5 in the state........so it may not last long :) But you never know!! Say hi to Paula and the kids- miss you. -Jill