Developing Allergies

January 19 – 20, 2020

Some people are allergic to cats… but, is it possible to develop an allergy to cat owners?


The twenty five or so miles to Roatan was a brilliant sail.  Why was it brilliant?  Well, because we were actually sailing.  

Sometimes you’ve purposely gotta keep the bar a bit low.  

Trying to thread the needle between no wind and too much wind, at the time we left Cayos Cochinos it looked as though we had erred on the side of no wind.  

But when we managed to coax six and a half knots of speed from Exit in winds of less than eight knots, it allowed us to smile and feel like we were doing something right.

As an unexpected bonus, we noticed that the wind indicator now seemed to be fully functional.  

Spraying it with WD40 after climbing the mast outside Livingston had proven ineffective at freeing it before.  And yet, getting the crap beaten out of it by twenty to thirty five knot winds for a day and a half had proven to be just what was needed.  Sometimes things just have to sort their own shit out.

Arriving at Roatan proved to be uneventful, and we were surprised to only find one other transiting boat at anchor in French Harbor.  West End held no interest for us.  Our timing ended up perfect as three other sailboats arrived not long after we had set anchor.  At least they gave us plenty of space.

Chris and Laura, managers of the nearby marina, could provide hours of entertaining conversation and endless hospitality.  

However, an ulterior motive for our Roatan visit was also a trip to Eldon’s grocery store.  One of those provisioning opportunities of rare occurrence… the sound of an imaginary harp chord seems to magically radiate out as the doors open inward, inviting you to spend the afternoon in an air conditioned wonderland of food and decadent consumables.  

It had been nearly four months since we had done a major provisioning.  Oh ya… here.  

So this is where the law of averages comes back on us for having spent only $100 during the first third of the month.

Sour cream… foot scraper… shiitake mushrooms… gin… boneless pork chops… sour cream… Swiss cheese… wine… bagels… cream cheese… Johnsonville cheese sausages… . sour cream… Jack Daniels.

You are finished when nothing more will fit in the cart.  Enough to warrant the taxi we were opting for.

After returning to the marina at which our dinghy was tied up at, and then having to wait for another impeccably timed deluge of rain to subside, we loaded everything we had purchased into the dinghy and headed out.

As we approached Exit it became immediately evident that, during our absence, two catamarans had arrived and decided to snuggle right up next to us – one on either side of us… for fuck sake.

The first one we passed was too close.  The second, twice closer… for fuck sake.

We groaned and hoped they would recognize their obvious proximity offense with a bit more time. As it turned out, instead of them recognizing the obvious, it was us recognizing that they were oblivious… close, but a very different word.

Our closest live aboard friends and kindred spirits have very different reactions to similar situations.  One couple would simply pick up anchor and move; no words, just a middle finger held up high on the way past.  Another would stand at the bow and blister the fiberglass of the offending boat with the heat emitted from a furious stare.

Before I had time to research proper Parliamentary Procedures, Kris had both nominated and seconded me as Ambassador of Neighborly Relations… damn.

I hopped in the dinghy, reached across, and grab their transom without even untying.  Okay, that’s an exaggeration. 

The woman who was on deck called out to her husband inside that the neighbors were here and wanted to talk to him… nice.

When I politely explained that I didn’t want to be a jerk, and realized that they had already gotten settled in, but would really appreciate them giving us a bit more room, especially considering the forecasted winds, the first thing out of his mouth was – are we any closer to you than the cat right on the other side?

Okay…um…fuck you.  

The cat on the other side, the second one to land right on top of us besides this guy, which is also way too close, is still twice as far away from us… does that mean this guy is fine? 

Hell no!  At best, I’d say the other cat which is twice as far away, has owners which are maybe half as big of assholes as this guy.

In the end, after a lot of sighing and thinking, he said simply, okay.

Conversation done.

Then we watched him, multiple attempts for over a half hour, trying to crab walk the cat around at the end of its anchor chain using the engines.  Each time, he’d maneuver the cat as far away as possible, shut down the engine, and drift right back to the same spot… what a moron.

He finally seemed to realize that it was not gaining him anything and he gave up that strategy.

For the next two hours, he struggled to reset his anchor in different locations.  Not a very happy guy. No help from the other two people aboard.  Not much sympathy from us.

The next morning the wind had shifted and everyone was spun around.  The cat that had moved was closer but still at a reasonable distance.  

Now the other cat was right on top of our bow… arrrrrrrrgh!

As I focused all my energy on trying to emit devastating beams of fiberglass melting fury from my eyes, a woman walked out on deck and nonchalantly said – we’re pretty close to you, huh?

Perceptive, at least.

Really close.  Too close… was my equally perceptive response.

I’m worried about moving.  I dragged last time here and I’m concerned about getting a good holding.

Which makes me think to myself, even more reason to not be on top of us…

However, it comes out as – when the wind shifts, we’ll be right on top of you.  Doesn’t seem good.

I followed up with – if you’re gonna make us move, there’s not much we can do about it, but…

That appeared to be enough.

As the cat prepared to raise anchor, a second person appeared on deck and asked us, what’s with the exit sign on the side of your boat?

Kris and I looked at each other, shrugged, and said we had no idea.  It was there when we bought the boat.  We assumed it just showed us where to get on and off… 

We asked her what was with the weird Spanish words, Vida Libre, on the side of their catamaran.  She indignantly replied – well that’s the name of our boat, of course.

We looked at each other, then back at her with surprised looks on our faces and just watched as they motored over to the marina.  I’m not sure if she figured it out by the time they reached the dock. 

In the end, the two stupid cats should have been happy as Larry, as we were the poor bastards who ended up dragging our anchor the next day when the wind kicked up.  Had either of them still been on top of us, it would have been a complete cluster-fuck.  It turned out to be just a major pain in our ass, alone.

I don’t know.  I suspect some resistance from the medical community on the cat owner allergy theory, but it certainly seems worthy of additional study…

Author’s note:  In the interest of fairness and full disclosure, we do have a number of dear friends who live aboard catamarans and I have never experienced anything more than a sniffle while in the honor of their presence.

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