Time is an interesting thing. I remember being a young boy watching the clock when 1 hour seemed like an eternity. When driving up the coast to Brisbane was a marathon and the summer school holidays seemed to go on forever. I now look back on the past year and it has happened in the blink of an eye. I fear life will continue to compress over time and I’ll be 50 before I know it.
This modern life we all lead (well most of us) is so fast paced with 40-hour work weeks. The obligatory hobbies on the weekend, getting regular exercise and cooking dinner pack out the rest of the available time. I can’t imagine how I’d cope with a couple of kids too. At work time is money and 10 minutes doing nothing is too long and so the frantic cycle continues. I often find myself wishing the day away and in turn the week, month and year.
When we arrived on Delos after 2 long flights and a taxi ride up the west coast of Borneo I was in full flight as a modern traveller. I had the trip planned out with arrival and estimated trip times, while filling the rest of the time I had with some tenuous activities.
Sitting in the saloon for the first time I looked around and thought well what now… I think it took me 2 or 3 days to get into the rhythm of Delos, which is slow, as it has to be. For example when you go grocery shopping after work, it might take an hour as you fly through the isles pushing discerning customers out of the way, so that you can get home and unpack them in time to make your personal training session at 6. In Delos world this takes an entire day. Finding the store is the first problem, while trying to decipher a foreign language to find your standard cereal is the next. Once you have emptied the shelves, you have to get them back to the boat. Whether this is by Tuk-Tuk, Boy Racer or horseback, it’s going to take a while. Once your home on the boat, 4 hours later, sipping on a cold one, everything must be unpacked out of its bag or box, washed and stored away.
Another activity that is super simple at home is getting fuel. You pull up to the bowser, pull the little tab under your seat to open the flap, plug the hose in and pull the trigger. Then just use some fancy “on the bowser payment system” and hey presto you’re off again.
In Delos world, one must first borrow any Gerry cans he can lay his greasy hands on. Hopefully you have made friends and someone has lent you their car. As you venture off into the unknown streets searching for a depot that will give you some super cheap diesel, try to remember what directions you took (It’s a bastard having 400 liters of diesel slowly leaking out of poorly sealed lids and no-where to go).
When you finally find a fuel station and unload the Gerry cans on the concrete, the pump attendant looks at you and asks, “How much you want?”
“Fill them up mate” you reply with a smile as his head drops. 20 Gerry cans later you pay the man and start loading them into the car. Now, try to find your way back to the yacht club (we used a burning pile of leaves as a guide of which street we were on, it must’ve been ‘burn all your leaves day’, I saw at least 4 piles by the end of the day), unload the Gerry cans, walk along the Jetty and pass them all into the dinghy. Drive the heavily over laden dinghy out to the boat and hold on as the waves move the dinghy up and down. Lifting 20x20kg Gerry’s over the rail and onto the deck will definitely keep you in shape. Once on deck all 400 liters is syphoned into the tank via a Baja filter. Then it’s back to the yacht club for round two. Brian and I powered through this routine twice in Brunei and had 700 liters onboard by lunchtime, but I can see how this could drag out to a day or two without the help from awesome friends.
On Delos perception of time is different and the future is not limited with plans. For example when my mates are planning to use a couple of their 4 weeks of leave a year to go on a holiday they say “well, we’ll spend a day here then be on the road early so we make it to ‘blah’ by 8am. Then we’ll quickly run around like headless chooks for the rest of the day looking at things and taking selfies”. Meanwhile on Delos Brian lives by the seasons taking a month here and two months around there. We would often ask what the long term plans are for Delos and Brian would reply, “…don’t really know, we’ll see what happens”. I love that.
In Kudat we hung out with a heap of great people all living on the same schedule, all moving at there own pace, all with smiles on their faces and living the life they dreamed. Meeting everyone has really enhanced my perspective on life and projected me further down this path.
Somehow I think the time you have and the freedom to change your plans is the most important part of cruising. I enjoyed slowing down, truly MEETING new people while enjoying their company, going to the shops all day and then hanging out in back alleys buying beer. These are things that don’t happen in ‘normal’ life. Having the time to exist in the present and not be constantly planning every hour of each day is a real pleasure.
I had a hell of time on Delos, but it was too short a time. Though, I’m sure there will be another time, when I have more time.