Estrellas.  Stars.  The sky was full of them.  Being on Amélie, especially sitting on her swinging mooring in the harbour in front of Andratx, provides a perfect environment to sit and watch them all as they whisper gently as they twinkle.  The night was clear, and the moon was yellow, …. Oh, hang on…those are the opening lyrics to Stagger Lee.  Sorry.  Just sitting there the other night, gazing to the heavens, my mind began to be filled with all sorts of questions. 

“I wonder how many stars there are?”  Counting stars, or more appropriately, trying to count stars can be a bit tricky.  I was going to try to mentally segment the evening sky into sections to make my counting easier, but being on a swinging mooring did make that a tad difficult as Amélie’s position kept shifting as the gentle breeze slowly moved her around.  I then moved on to a different counting method that involved simply counting up one small area of the sky, and then extrapolating that amount by the size of the area in relationship to the entire sky.  I counted as far as 32, and after my clever extrapolation process, came to the conclusion that there are multiple ka-zillions of those little buggers up there. I had even thought of using the Drake equation to calculate how many stars there are in the heavens.  As I once saw online, the equation is N = R* x fp x ne x fl x fl x fc x L, with all those letters and symbols meaning something way beyond my capabilities that night.  Whilst I am not sure, I believe that if you actually run the equation completely, you will see that the answer is indeed multiple ka-zillions of stars. I went on to the next question that popped into my head.

“How many constellations can I pick out?”  Well, I was able to pick out Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Orion, Leo, Dopey, Grumpy, Sleepy and Doc, but the other ones must have been hiding or something.   The next question that surfaced in the maze of brain cells that were admittedly getting pretty worn out from the previous questions, was, “What were the ancients smoking when they named the constellations?’’ but before I could even contemplate that, I moved along to “What is it all about?”  By “it,” I meant “everything.”  Right.  This should have been an easy question to answer, but I hadn’t been consuming mass amounts of vino tinto, which clearly would have enabled me to come up with something that made sense at the time.  Instead, I went to bed.

The following morning, my ability to see the stars was obliterated by our own star, the Sun, which even early in the morning, was blazing down upon the harbour.  After a suitable breakfast (tea, toast, a sliced orange, and a thin layer of number 2 sunscreen) I went on deck to get cracking. 

The past week has been pure, unadulterated bliss.  No sir, don’t get me wrong.  The past week hasn’t been all fun and games.  My days onboard haven’t just been chocker with relaxation.  As I have a computer onboard Amélie, I am able to keep up with my client and writing work.  And on top of that, I have been semi-religiously practising all the Pilates positions / movements / pain-inducements that I learnt on the Sebourn Legacy.  But I have also been able to do what any boat owner does the most of, which is, of course, cleaning.  Luckily, the amount of teak onboard Amélie is about 1/10th of my previous boats, but there is plenty of stainless to polish.  And then there is all that deck space.  This week I did manage to come up with a brilliant way to keep the foredeck clean.  Note to all my boating friends, you may want to make note of this.  What I discovered, through massive and intense research, was that if I would go for a swim in the crystal clear (and warm) water of the sea, and then immediately lay down in the sun on the deck, it prevents any dirt from accumulating on it.  This process clearly needs to be repeated on all deck sections that are exposed to the sun, and in the case of Amélie, that meant quite a few dips in the water.  The things I have to do to keep the boat clean can be exhausting, but I do try to keep a clean boat, so I would repeat the process multiple times each day. 

Of course, this process has been made easier due to the fact that the weather has been brilliant here.  The other day, I did look up from my deck protection duty and did see a cloud, but luckily, it wasn’t coming my way. 

I have also been reading.  Reading voraciously I might add.  As I have a selection of books onboard, whose numbers do seem to increase every time Amazon makes a delivery to Sol y Mar, I did take some time away from my on-deck duties to expand my knowledge of all things important.  This depth of research expansion has included some of the works of Carlos Ruiz Zafon, David Baldacci, and Ian Fleming.  Right about now, my sons are thinking to themselves, ‘oh my God, he is re-reading all the Fleming books for the n-th timeOh my.’  Why save them if you don’t re-read them is my motto.  You, however, might be thinking, ‘’hey, those authors don’t write about business stuff.’’  Clearly.  But to quote someone, ‘Man does not live by bread alone;’ or in my case, by business stuff alone.  Besides, I write about business stuff, and to read about the beliefs and assumptions of others could cloud my brain.  Can’t have that happen, can I?  Especially when there are all those stars out there that need counting.


one of the vistas from Amélie


the vista from the other side of the boat



let's see....1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14....


feeling good I didn't attempt the equation


ooooh, an underwater photo of my bow-thruster, ooooh



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copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, James B. Rieley