We have said goodbye to Billabong. I never thought I'd be sentimental about a boat, but there is no doubt that I'll miss the 'ol girl. She is a great boat, but more importantly she allowed Chris and I to see parts of the world that would've otherwise gone unexplored. Aboard Billabong we learned more about ourselves and each other in 5-1/2 years then we probably could have in twice that time. But still I can't seem to shed a tear. Actually that is not entirely true, when we first received the offer on her (and I was still quite pregnant ... aka emotional) I woke up one morning and pretty much sobbed, yep uncontrollable sobs. It wasn't so much for Billabong (sorry Billabong), but rather for the end of an unbelievable journey, and end of a lifestyle that I had grown to love. I had thought that as we moved our belongings off Billabong I would be emotional, that it would be hard. It hasn't been though. Actually the whole things feels a bit unreal, like perhaps it hasn't hit yet. Chris seems just as unattached as I do. My guess is that three months from now it will hit us both, and for me it will be a very emotional moment.
The new owners, Bill and Caroline, are terrific. They are the perfect match for Billabong, and I find myself surprised that I care so much about the match. I suppose it is because I've watched as Chris has poured his time and energy (and yes, even some of his heart) into Billabong, perfecting this and sprucing up that, such that I am thrilled to have Billabong transferred to a couple who appreciates all of this work and who acknowledges its value.
Saturday, August 1, we had a little ceremony...
well ceremony might be a strong word, but we struck the colors (translation = took down our American Flag) while Bill & Caroline raised the Australian flag. We also strung together all of the flags from the 25 countries we had visited and hoisted them up the mast for a photo op. It seems amazing that we have visited so many countries, however when I look at a world map I realize that we have still seen so little! This ceremony of sorts seemed to make the transfer official. It feels a bit odd to step aboard Billabong and no longer be her Admiral (as Chris calls me). It didn't really hit me that she was no longer "my" boat until just the other day when, after finishing a little maneuvering practice with Bill & Caroline, they served us lunch ... food and entertaining visitors was always a big thing for me aboard Billabong, and this was the first time that it was I being served rather than scurrying around doing the serving. A very strange feeling!
My dad, aka Grandpa Dave, mentions that perhaps Chris and I are not as emotional as we could be because of Jake ... Jake, as he says, is our new Billabong. He is probably pretty close to the mark. Here is his "five cents worth":
Today we went to Billabong to take some pictures and to strike Old Glory so that Bill and Caroline could raise the flag of Australia. It was a sort of ceremonial Change of Command.
First Chris ran up the courtesy flags from all the Nations they had visited in their trip. It was a very impressive string of flags. Then Chris struck the Stars and Stripes, handed it to me and I folded her and put her away for the Myles family. She will always bring great memories and I think good fortune.
I expected the turning over of Billabong to be considerably more emotional and maybe even a little difficult for KT and Chris. I kept looking for signs of loss, but I have not seen any. Then during our brief ceremony something became very clear to me. Jake is the active ingredient to the change here. In an emotional sense Jake has replaced Billabong. Chris and KT now have a different boat to sail.
Jake was here before Billabong had to leave. He needs the attention of the crew every bit as much, maybe more than Billabong. This has made leaving Billabong seem a natural step. Jake has brought a new challenge; family.
So, while I am sure the kids will shed some tears and miss the lovely Billabong, Jake has brought some pretty strong winds of change for this crew and has given them no time to morn.
I am reminded of the comic strip Peanuts and how Lucy would set up a Psychologist Stand (like a Lemon Aide stand). The sign said 5 cents. So, that’s my 5 cents worth.
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