Yesterday, members of our local Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla did a “dock walk” on the three docks on the Kona side (leeward) of our island. We were handing out information to boaters about what the auxiliary does, who we are, and extending invitations to join us.

Wow! Did that ever bring back memories – and made me homesick!

In the late 1970s, when Flower Power and Free Love were languishing, I flirted with trading the equity in my house for equity in a new 37′ O’Day sloop-rigged sailboat. Within five months, I became a “live-aboard” with fifteen-year-old son, my youngest child.

We christened our new home Lothlorién, for the sanctuary in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy to which the Elf King and Elf Queen transported Frodo and his friends at a critical point in their adventure.

In Tolkien’s story, it was within the Lothlorién that all their healing and protection took place, while all the dangers and threats were forced to remain outside its borders.

Our Lothlorién was that haven for us, our personal sanctuary of peace, safety, and healing. We needed the storms of life to remain outside. We often invited our friends to savor that sanctuary with us for a day sail, a weekend cruise, or sometimes longer.

Tolkien’s famous quote was our motto – “…not all those who wander are lost.”

Characters who don’t know much about boats always ask, “How many does she sleep?” That’s the wrong question! We sailors usually respond by saying that a sailboat will “drink six, feed four and sleep two.”

There may be room enough to sleep an army by spreading people out over decks and into hammocks, but you abandon all carnal comforts in doing so. Naturally, this can depend on just how close you are with the friends you bring along, too.

My boat basically was designed to sleep six, but six people really wouldn’t do that if they wanted to remain friends after the cruise was over.

One summer, I hadn’t gotten paid for about three months. The insurance company that reimbursed us for most of our clients was undergoing a major change in their computer system. None of us in the clinic where I worked were getting paid on a regular basis. My boys and I were hanging on by a thread.

So what does a girl do when the going gets tough? She spends a week moored at the Isthmus of Catalina Island with a good book, and leaves her troubles behind.

We were really living a good life, in spite of having no money. I had a bag of masa, a hunk of cheddar cheese, a few eggs, and stuff like spices. The boys were diving for abalone and fishing. What else do you really need for food?

We made lots of homemade tortillas with melted cheddar and scrambled eggs, along with plenty of fresh fish and abalone. That’s when abalone was still plentiful in California.

Someone taught us how to eat raw abalone. Instead of pounding it like you need to if you cook it, you cut the raw meat into pieces like shoestring potatoes. Dip it into a mix of soy sauce, ginger, and anything else your taste buds desired, and munch! It’s a wonderful treat!!

Once, on Catalina Island, when folks from our local sail fleet had a cookout, my sons and I showed up with fresh sheepshead, abalone, and hot tortillas.

Everyone else was roasting wieners and opening cans of beans. Even though we didn’t have money for hamburgers or wieners, we ate well – and we were the envy of everyone else.

When I feel bogged down with Life, I sometimes think about what fun it would be to live on a boat again.

A hui hou!

7 thoughts on “Lothlorién”

  1. Oh, Lucy, I love this post. Especially this part “Our Lothlorién was that haven for us, our personal sanctuary of peace, safety, and healing. We needed the storms of life to remain outside.” I so need a Lothlorien right now, as I’m dealing with a nasty divorce. I’ve moved into a cute little apt thats got high ceilings and lots of light and right now it feels like a safe santuary to hide out in while the storm of life rage outside. We all have our stuff don’t we?? Hope you weathered today’s tsunami warning well. Ann

    1. The tsunami turned out to be very small, but watching the surges go in and out of the bays was fascinating. I’m just glad it wasn’t as big as expected, and the evacuations gave everyone some practice for the next “big one.” I’m high enough that I wasn’t concerned, but many of my friends live and/or work around the coastlines. Maybe wherever I feel “safe” is my “Lothlorien!” It sounds like your new apartment is that for you.

  2. Yes, to live aboard and eat well. That is definitely an envy. My boyfriend’s mother & step-father live on a small boat. They bought an old navy boat and turned it into a wonderful/comfortable home. They are currently sailing in Florida. I keep trying to convince then to move to the Big Island with us, but they don’t want to give up boat life.

    1. I sold my boat about 15 years ago, just before I moved to the Big Island. I knew the water wasn’t always compatible with necessary sailing conditions. I also think I’d gotten too old to handle some of the inevitable emergencies alone. I enjoy my acre, but even now there are times when I really miss boat life. You’re always “home,” no matter where you travel.

  3. O, the memories. Was I really ever that young? I remember that feast on the beach at Emerald Bay so many years ago like it was yesterday. Sheepshead, lobster, abalone, oh yeah !!!

    1. Those were great times, weren’t they? Some of those pictures were a little moldy, but it added to the ambience of the blog. The food we ate was incredible, and the sailing even better. Thanks for sharing those days with me!
      Yo ma

  4. I love that you took time to commit you memories to writing and were willing to share your pics with us.

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