On birthdays

Venice009At noon, central Venice is unbearably crowded. Morbidly obese Amercans named Chuck and Darlene with Very Loud Voices; bewildered and tired backpackers with dangling sneakers; Japanese parties with matching cameras and all making V signs; huge unidentifiable groups following guides with banners held high, and wealthy over-blinged Russians. It is much better at midnight.



Yes Chris, I know I’m just another tourist like them, but they don’t seem to mind and I do. It’s time I went to sea again.

Sipping a tiny, palate-cleansing ale by Rialto market, the bright flowers and the comings and goings of commercial vessels on the canal give me much delight. How dear old Dave would have loved this.


Scrolling through a raft of birthday greetings I find myself wondering how long Tainui’s extravagant journey can continue, given the looming senescence of her skipper. Last year’s birthday was on Lake Onega in Northern Russia. This one has been wonderful. And next year’s? Buenos Aires perhaps. Another place in which to mark this relentless, all too rapid passage of time.

Why keep sailing? Because, as we say on Tainui, then you die. And I’m just not ready for that journey yet.

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