Palm trees, beautiful anchorages for sailboats, tranquil turquoise waters, and lovely sandy beaches are among my favorite subjects to paint. The scene in this painting is of nowhere in particular, just an idyllic tropical setting from my imagination.
While I was painting it, and trying to decide on an appropriate title, I was reminded of my island hopping days in the year that I spent living on sailboats and sailing about a third of the way around the world.
That was such a long time ago, that it seems like a previous lifetime. I’ve sailed the full length of the Mediterranean Sea, west from the coast of Turkey, visiting numerous Greek Islands, Malta, Ibiza, Gibraltar, Morocco, the Canary Islands, and across the Atlantic to the Caribbean.
The Caribbean was where my most favorite island hopping adventures began. My definition of this delightful pastime is when you can leave one island in the morning, spend a lovely day sailing with the balmy breezes of the trade winds and gentle swells, while basking in the warmth of the sun, and arrive at a different island in time for dinner, or even sooner. Ah, what a life!
This can also be experienced cruising among the Greek Islands, but quite a few of them are further apart and take longer to get to. There are also strong meltemi winds which blow in the summer months that can create large swells and unpleasant sailing conditions. Also, my favorite image of tropical foliage and palm trees are not part of the scenery in many of the arid Greek Islands. They are beautiful, but in a different way.
Some of the lush, tropical Caribbean islands I visited were Barbados, Antigua, Guadalupe, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, St. Martin and St. Barths. Historically, these islands were settled mostly by the British, French, Dutch and Spanish, making them very varied in cultural influences, governments and currencies.
When I returned to the U.S. midwest, integrating back into a “normal” life after a year of living on sailboats seemed like quite a challenge. All that I could think about was getting to San Diego and hopping on over to Hawaii on another boat! But that never happened.
These days I spend a lot of time island hopping in my imagination. It’s not the same as the real thing, but quite enjoyable anyway, and keeps me busy painting the scenes that I see in my head, while enjoying the beautiful San Diego coastal lifestyle.
Oh, and by the way, as mentioned in a previous post, I get sea sick – not while island hopping with the balmy trade winds though. But that’s another story.
Click to find out more about my painting “Island Hopping.”
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