May 8, 2014

What to do when chaos reigns

PRESIDENT OBAMA says there can be no doubt that global warming is taking place right now, under our very noses. I, for one, am not surprised. Since the Earth was formed, it has undergone many climate changes. Ice ages come and ice ages go. I’d agree that we seem to be in a slow warming phase at the moment, though I’m agnostic on the question of how much of it is due to the natural changes that have kept happening repeatedly over the eons, and how much is due to present-day man-made pollution. After all, many climate changes took place way back in time, before there were enough meddling human beings to make any difference.

Anyway, the fact that the seas are rising, and causing a Native American  tribe here in Washington state to figure out a way to move their town to higher land, has me thinking about Plan B again.

Plan B comes in useful in times of man-made or natural catastrophe, caused by politics, financial crises, weather, or whatever. Plan B goes back a long way with me. Plan B goes back to a time when I was living in a South Africa dominated by apartheid, a time when many South Africans expected an uprising, a bloody revolution.

Plan B was always to steal a boat.

We had a boat, of course, a nice little C&C 28, a Trapper-class fin keeler, fast and pretty. But we wanted something a little bigger and more seaworthy, something that could take us around the Cape of Storms and across the Atlantic to America, my wife’s country.
So whenever we sat on the veranda of the Point Yacht Club in Durban with our sundowners, our eyes would scan the serried ranks of sailboats gleaming before us in the sub-tropical sun.
We were very picky. We had to be able to handle her ourselves, just June and me and our 17-year-old son, Kevin. We’d prefer a ketch, for easy sail handling, but a sloop or cutter would be OK, too. We particularly wanted a boat with wind-vane self-steering. Something between 30 and 35 feet. Four berths. A full keel. Fiberglass or steel or aluminum, no wooden hulls, thank you. Been there, done that. Oh, and a engine that was easy to start, because we probably wouldn’t have the engine key. Definitely wouldn’t have the key.
There were usually two or three contenders, and our current choice would change from time to time as new intelligence came in. Kevin was our main source. “They hide the cabin key in a flap of the dodger,” he’d announce after a sail through the ranks in his dinghy. “They have an Aries vane and a 10-foot Avon dinghy with a Yamaha outboard.” We promised him the best berth in exchange for his information.
Come the revolution, when the streets were dripping with blood, and there was shooting and stabbing and buildings ablaze and all that sort of thing, we would rendezvous at Plan B and make our escape, unnoticed in all the carnage.
OK, nobody’s expecting a revolution in America right now, but global warming is a looming threat to our very existence. President Obama  said so. Which begs the question: Where will you flee to when the time comes? What nice, cool, clean, peaceful, country have you picked out?

New Zealand, maybe? The Falkland Islands? Patagonia? Wales, god help you? And how are you going to get there? The airplanes will all be filled with people with much more money and influence than you, remember.  And there won’t be much time to prepare when the crunch comes, and everything goes down the tubes with a big, sudden swoosh.

Maybe it’s time you, too, started working on Plan B.

Today’s Thought
Chaos is a friend of mine.
— Bob Dylan, Newsweek, 9 Dec 85

“Why’s Lulu so gloomy?”
“She got married three days ago.”
“Why is that making her gloomy?”
“Well, she gave all her life savings to her new husband.”
“And where is he now?”
“Dunno. She’s still waiting for him to come back from his honeymoon.”

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, for a new Mainly about Boats column.)


Anonymous said...

This post made me laugh out loud in my family room. I have the perfect Plan B boat sitting in the marina just waiting for my family and me. I've spent a lot of time and money getting her just so. It hadn't even occurred to me that somebody else's Plan B might be to steal my boat out from under me. I guess I need to find a new hiding spot for the key next time I'm down there!

John Vigor said...

Er, thanks, Anon. Um ... you wouldn't care to share the name of the marina and the berth number, would you?

Ever hopeful,

John V.

Tillerman said...

Great idea. I'm off to check out the local marina now to find my Plan B boat.

Anonymous said...

Plan B is a wise thing to be thinking about. Now about your reasoning I'm not so sure.
Yes, we might be in a "slow warming phase", who knows, but what worries people is a FAST warming phase. You see, slow warmings or coolings are no problem, they allow woods and vegetables to emigrate to better places, but they move slowly, seeds need time to grow in new places and move the woods. The change we are experiencing is real fast in geological terms, in less than a hundred years we've had huge change. So you see, the trouble is not the warming per se, if this warming would proceed through a thousand years there'd be no problem, trouble is it's going really fast.