Weeks 25-28 — Rollicking times on the High Seas

The feeling of force and speed was so pervasive and constant I got the feeling that we were on a runaway train, unable and unwilling to stop. Of course I knew something had to happen, but the tiredness brought on by the motion, the all-night trip and the rough bashing into and over the oncoming swells and wind lulled me into a complacency that tricked me into thinking it would be okay to slam right up onto shore, across the street and deep into a neighborhood before finally grinding to a stop, intact.

Safety was not an issue, specifically the sea-worthiness of Corazon, and how could it, as a Frenchman I recently met pointed out that I was timid. Specifically, he said timid people are not afraid during or after, only before: that’s me. Jackie, according to his explanation was brave, meaning she was not afraid before or during, but after. Cowards, his description concluded, are not afraid before or after, but during.

I can tell you from first hand experience, being timid is damned peaceful. Bashing head-on into 25 knots of wind and 10 foot seas at 8 to 9 knots can be a little disquieting, especially in a boat with two hulls that rarely agree on whether to roll, yaw or pitch. But if you’re not afraid, you think about the noise and the motion and the speed: not about the boat ripping apart or the hulls collapsing under the shuddering loads or the 1000-square feet of canvas tearing the 70-foot mast from the chain-plates into a thundering explosion of total failure. While the bashing was certainly alarming, I was absorbed in the visceral present of the motion and the noises, not the near future with a possible outcome that might include screaming, terror and drowning.

And without such weighty things on the mind, I was free to wallow in the guilty luxury of glee: knowing that we were positively spanking the other boat that left at the same time. By half-point at midnight or so, they were not even to be found on the radar.

Despite the hemorrhoid producing wretches, the 80-mile crossing was quite fun as we set the sails at sunset on the north-western point of Trinidad and never touched them again as we forcefully pushed our way due North, past an open-ocean oil rig until we arrived in lee of Grenada a scant 10 hours later. Not bad for a fully loaded boat on its worst point of sail. Off the wind it’s supposed to be twice as fast.

The stars were all there, including the Southern Cross and the North Star. The air was warm and tropical and the trade-winds earned their time-honored reputation. So what if there’s a little puke on the transom? And the dinghy. And the SSB antennae.

A total of five weeks in Trinidad was tough. It’s a hard place with a lot of crime, grim stories in the newspaper and lots of pollution. While it has a reputation as the place in the Caribbean to get boat parts and work, we found the businesses flaky and the workmanship mediocre. There was one exception: the gentlemen that looked after Corazon for the previous owner and for us. In addition to knowing his business, he was also full of rare clarity that made for some wonderful conversations.

The dirty water and the lack of wind meant no swimming or sailing for the kids big and small. It’s tough to be on a boat with two kids and no immediate fun. But we all made it and now we have the riches of the Caribbean in front of us.

We are currently resting on anchor on Isle of Spice, just outside of St. George, a place that’s seen a cannonball or two and at least as many drunken sailors. Jackie and I think it’s despicable that sailors get drunk.

While not crystal-clear, we can see the ocean floor, the waves are small and the wind is always from the east. Prices are about the same as the U.S. and while many of the service people seemed bothered, on a whole, the people are very friendly.

By the way, they are also good looking and fit. Fat people are rare and half of those are from England or the U.S.

The kids are getting along nicely and we are delighted to know there is so much for us to see and do and so little distance required to travel.

For all you suckers that haven’t booked any time to visit this winter, wop your jaws; enjoy the cubicles and the snow.

-steve

1 Comment »

  1. geliga said,

    December 25, 2006 @ 6:29 pm

    Happy Holidays from the Geliga’s
    We are glad you are all well ! I promise you that we are going to visit you as soon as time and money are available to us. I miss you guys tremendously. Your writings are amazing and inspirational. Although I am not there with you (unfortunately), I feel like I am. Thank you for the experience.

    Darren

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