An audio and video podcast of my trip hitchhiking around the world by sea.
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Changing of Tide

Yesterday sucked. The day before was nearly perfect. Today, I’m regaining composure. I’ll begin with the good.

Puerto Rico started wonderfully. After spotting whales and swinging like a crazed pirate from the boom, we continued our day hopping until we arrived Ponce, the second largest city in Puerto Rico. We picked up a couple new friends, Tony and Laura, and rented a car to visit surfing hot spot Rincon. We spent the next three days surfing on locally loaned boards and camping on grassy a ledge overlooking the ocean in the backyard of generous couple who ran one of the coolest bars in the city.

A few days later, we returned to our boat and the next day hopped down the coast to Salinas. Our friend, Christian ( who we met in Luperon introduced us to a fellow coastguarder stationed in San Juan, who in turn offered a place to stay and a convertible to cruise the country. Enough said. Dan and I packed a bag, held out our thumbs and hitchhiked across Puerto Rico. We fell in love. Walking the streets of Old San Juan. Following the majestic walls of an old Spanish fort. Having a cool night-cap to sound of dark waves brushing the shores. Life was good and getting better.

The next day, Kim had to work so Dan and I grabbed our bags. Top down. Ocean breeze blowing. I-pod randomly selecting the soundtrack to our day. First stop-outlet malls. Yes, I know, it’s funny how sailing separation fuels consumerism. Board shorts-check. Running shoes-check. Flip flops-check. On to the marine store. GPS charts and nautical maps-check, check. Next up: El Yunque-Puerto Rico’s tallest peak and rainforest.

We hiked, took pictures, swam in waterfalls, and as the sun set rolled top-down back to Old San Juan. Flagstaff friends can attest I love a good night of dancing. But if you can believe three months and four countries after leaving the states, I had yet to get my swerve on. So we drove right in to the heart of downtown. Parked the car and walked the narrow alleys until we happened upon a Brazilian bar.

Fi Fi was the motherly figure who greeted us at the door and personally prepared a proud Brazilian meal for her two American boys. Meanwhile dancers and drummers introduced the world to South America. Hungry as I was to eat, I was even hungrier to dance. Fi Fi resurfaced on stage and called me up. Now I don’t know all the cultural do’s and don’ts, but I’m pretty sure you don’t deny the woman who made you dinner. So I took to the stage and bouncing to Brazilian beats. A perfect end to a wonderful day.

However, when we walked back to the car we discovered all was not perfect. The convertible top had been slashed and everything stolen. Two i-pods (Dan’s-one week old), shoes, money, $500 in nautical maps, and my baby… the Nikon camera purchased specifically for this trip with lenses, sd chips, carrying case… everything.

That’s where it begins to suck. Money is tight when none is coming in. Now we’re out a few thousand dollars in stolen items and whatever it will cost us to fix the damaged roof and interior.  Nevertheless, money is money, and things are just things. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. The next day, I learned of more troubles back home. For the obvious respect and confidences of those involved I can’t share much, suffice to say things are not well on a couple of fronts. That’s the hard part. I can deal with no camera, but it’s harder to deal with relational distances in difficult times.

Still there are lessons. I’m becoming more and more aware of the burden of love. Often those close will apologize for their problems and “bringing me down” on this adventure. Maybe for some that’s the case. Don’t ask. Don’t tell. Everything is peachy. But life is not always peachy. There are burdens. And in love the burdens are great. If we weren’t close to each other, our problems would be our own. However, the more me care for each other, the more we share each other’s burdens. Caring really is sharing. Good and bad alike. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

That’s life. The tides will rise and fall. Sometimes rocks will surface. And in those times you turn to your crew. You lean on the people you care for and trust the most. You might get beat up, but you keep floating. The tide will rise again.


1 Will and Karra { 03.14.08 at 9:19 pm }

Hey D-
So sorry to hear about all of your stuff missing, and whatever else is going on at home. Let us know if their is anything we can do on this end, we will be in Flag this week, so… Keep up the amazing work! And remember, faith makes things possible, not easy.
Love ya,
Karra and Will

2 Clyde { 03.21.08 at 4:26 am }

Hi from downunder,

Sorry to hear about to hear about your misfortune & also whats been happening back home. I just want encourage you to keep looking to Jesus. The Ausy Doans are standing in agreement & praying. I will be praying for you, Derek as well. I am very proud of you. I will be praying for Gods protection for you and your mates. So until again take care & God bless.
Your Uncle Clyde

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