I am not a sailor. A seaman if you will. Not because I don’t enjoy water, I do, but because I do not own a sail boat. It’s really that simple. Of course, this weekend would suggest that maybe that is for the better.
Saturday morning in Stockholm saw a lot of rain. Not the steady drizzle that so often mars the Swedish fall, but actual rain. The kind that leaves you wet and chilled to the bone. I was supposed to go sailing for the first time in the Stockholm archipelago. (On a side note, being a native English speaker it pains me to ask this, but, is it arch as in architect or arch as in arch?) Waking up to see the rain I called my cousin whose friend it was we were going to be sailing with. Sailing was on.
I scrambled to find waterproof gear. Looking through my closet reminded me what kind of outdoorsman I am. The kind that sticks to snow. My gear was all snowproof. Deciding that snow and water are basically siblings, I grabbed an outer shell of a ski jacket and was ready for my day.
The rain continued as we drove to Skärgården. And continued as we parked. And continued as we debated on what to do. And continued as we walked to the boat. And continued as we headed out of the harbor. And continued as we sailed. For hours on end it rained. Despite the rain life was good. The archipelago is an impressive landscape. Or seascape. Or both.
Soon it was time for lunch and the rain had started to clear. Which worked well because I love lunch. We headed to an island where we could park the boat. (I’m not sure whether you park a boat or dock a boat or what you do with a boat. Sailing terminology eludes me in both Swedish and English.) I was asked to jump out first and tie the boat down after the anchor had been thrown overboard.
The first area was deemed too steep even for my agility to navigate. So we moved along finding what looked to be a good place for me to jump ashore. And so I jumped. Only to remember that it had been raining for hours on end. And rocks rounded and smoothed by the ice age tend to become a bit slippery when wet. My feet touched down and suddenly I was clawing at whatever I could find in hopes of maintaining some semblance of dryness. I did not maintain any semblance of dryness. I slid into the water. Fully clothed. Including my jacket. And wallet. And cell phone. And camera.
It took me a couple of minutes to drag myself out of the water. Turns out that sea grass is also slippery and it was covering the rocks just below the surface of the water. Finally I pulled myself out of the water. The others made it ashore. We all laughed. Ha ha ha.
I pulled out my cell phone, took it apart, and laid it out to dry. I checked my camera. The case I use when I take it skiing seemed to have kept it dry. All in all, not too bad. And anyway, I was hungry.
Lunch was had. Conversation was had. The sun came out and started to dry what few pieces of clothing I removed without making myself completely indecent. And that’s when it happened. My cousin walked along the rocks and was suddenly screaming out in surprise. Because she was sliding. And sliding. Into the water she went. I laughed. Then realized she had slid quite a ways and I should probably check to see if she was ok. She was. So I laughed some more.
The Swedish language has a glorious word, skadeglädje, it can be found in German too, schadenfreude. Essentially taking pleasure in the pain of others. And while I wasn’t necessarily taking pleasure in the pain, I was taking pleasure in the embarrassment of others. Because now I wasn’t the only one to slide into the water.
We took some more time to try to dry off then headed back. The remainder of the trip was me shivering while trying not to look uncomfortable and ungrateful. I was a guest and we were on a boat. There just wasn’t much to be done so I tried to place myself in the sun as often as possible.
I made it home to a warm shower and some very wet personal items. I once again took my cell phone apart. I laid everything in my wallet out to dry. I even put my cell phone battery in some rice which is apparently supposed to suck out the moisture from the battery.
This morning I woke up and decided that I would check my camera for damages. Just in case. So I tried the power button. Nothing. Fair enough, the batteries were starting to get old, maybe they had just run out. So I took out the batteries. Only to notice condensation. The kind that actually drops water onto your fingers. Damn it.
Sailing was fun. Having two newly christened metal paperweights is less fun. Today all I can think of is that I should never own a sail boat. Ever.
Before I started writing this blog I never really kept track of my life. Obviously there are pictures and memories but nothing as detailed and permanent as the writing. I used to think I was a normal person. I knew I did stupid things but no more than the average person. Now I have a record of the situations I find myself in and I’m starting to wonder.
Welcome to Sweden. And inadvertent swimming.
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