What’s in a Name?

I was suppose to be a Mary.  Right up until my Mother was in the throws of labour at the hospital. If I was born a girl I was going to be named Mary. But then, when asked just before I made my appearance, my Mother declared that I would be called Heather. As if she knew that there was no way that I would come out and grow up with Mary-like qualities. And boy was she right!

Here in Fiji I am more often than not referred to as Kate. The funny thing is, most of the people in the marina now know that the boat is not named after me, but they call me Kate anyway. Funnier still is that I answer to it.

There is a long tradition of men naming their boats after their women. I guess way back when if you were embarking on a voyage that you knew would keep you away from your beloved for months, or perhaps years on end, it was a little comfort to feel as if she was there with you, if only in spirit. Or at the very least to have an excuse to utter her name now and then and not seem sentimental.

In the beginning we had people come up to us on the dock and introduce themselves, shake our hands, look at me and say “And you must be Kate?” And I would wonder if I really looked like the kind of woman who would be vain enough to sail around the world in a small green boat named after herself.

I hoped not. Continue reading

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