|Stepping the mast after transiting the Erie Canal|
Once we decided we were really going to do the cruising thing, I began pouring on the steam in my personal fitness routine. It wasn't enough just to keep moving. I figured I was pretty fit for an old guy, but I wanted to be sure that I had enough strength and stamina to handle a 42 foot sailboat. I upped the ante on the weights and aerobic exercises. I even went so far as to go to a physical therapist to strengthen a knee that once in a while felt like it might give out on me. This was all going very well. Then one day, lying on the mat at the gym doing some exercise which was supposed to strengthen my butt muscles (the therapist said this would help my knees) I happened to catch sight of loose, wrinkled skin hanging from the crook of my arm. My god, I thought, that's just what an old man's arm looks like. That can't be me! The sight was made worse by the fact that I had been going through slides taken on our year aboard Escapade, 27 years ago. While I was never what you would call a hunk—I had what in my school days was described as an isomorphic rather that a mesomorphic build (you young ones, look it up!)--I still thought I looked pretty buff in the pictures.
|Jim and Dennis Kittel displaying their catch|
That image was enhanced by the fact that my slender but well toned body sported what in those days we called a healthy tan. Ever since the day while walking along the beach in Barra de Navidad, Mexico, I started getting little rosettes on my arms from the sun, I haven't dared expose them to much sunlight. That, and the fact that I've already had a squamous cell carcinoma removed from one ear (ending my dreams of becoming a movie idol) means that I'm going to have to keep my body pretty well covered while we re-explore the island paradises. Angie says that's probably a good thing.
|Angie wearing her Bahamas tan|