An audio and video podcast of my trip hitchhiking around the world by sea.
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Sea Welts

The adventures of sailing continue. When we dream of sailing, we imagine standing at the helm, wind at our backs, sails full, gently rocking to and fro as salted sea mist glistens our brow. It’s beautiful picture, and it’s true! I’ve seen it… a couple times. But to be honest there are a few things they don’t tell you. That’s why you need a guy who will be totally honest with you. A guy who is completely unbiased, untainted with extensive sailing background. A guy like me.

The first thing “they never tell”, I’ve already shared. That whole 6 mile-an-hour top speed thing. The second is a little more obvious but not one I that had fully sunk in until recently. When sailing you are wind dependent. Makes sense. But when you are in an area with 700 islands and even more coral reef, you are severely limited. I never realized just how much waiting was involved!  And that is why with grand dreams of changing the world Dan and I are STILL in the Bahamas. With any luck our winds will change and we will be on our way. We are anxious to get moving, but at least we continue to have adventures.

One came after days and days of relentless wind and rain. Dan, Morning Glory (Dan’s visiting girlfriend) and I climbed into the dinghy ready to take full advantage of the sun by doing a little spear fishing. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before or not, so I will now: sharks love murky water. This fact according to one legendary sailor Bernard Moitessier who himself declared, “ Personally, I won’t swim unless the water is clear…” However, I’m not sure Moitessier has ever been rained in for three days on a 33 foot boat with the Capitan and his girlfriend. When you have, you somehow feel more inspired.

We trolled toward the “cut”, where the ocean cuts through the islands. Stop the dinghy and gear up. That’s when my inspiration drops a bit. “Has anyone seen the clip to my flipper?”  “Did you check the bag?”  “Yeah, nothing…”  “Hmm…” Yeah, hmmm we think to ourselves, as Derek suits up with one fin and a snorkel that makes you earn the air you receive. Into the water we go. Dan and I swim along the reef, Morning Glory staying close to the dinghy to make sure it doesn’t get sucked out to sea.

It could be that we were snorkeling in split pea soup and just couldn’t see. It could be that fish are also aware that sharks like low visibility. Or maybe there was something about Derek’s one finned dolphin swim that scared them off. Whatever the case, there were NO fish. So we keep swimming, and I keep an eye out for fish, Dan and sharks. I’m cruising along the reef starting to settle with Dan at my 9:00, when suddenly I hear him yell: “Meeripphniick! Rahhhbxsnnerrrr!” Simultaneously, I feel a sharp pain in my quad.

My finned leg starts kicking. I thrash my way to the surface, looking for Dan and trying to figure out just what the frick was going on. Upon locating the surface and the air that accompanied, I my eyes begin to dart. First to the leg-no blood-good. Then to the threatening surroundings-no sharks-good. Still no fish and no idea just what had inflicted the throbbing pain in my leg. Finally I turn my focus back to Dan, who surfaces and yells again more coherently, “Lobster!”

I never did see the lobster, despite the next 20 minutes digging around the coral reef. Dan says he saw it and tried to spear it, but there was no good way to pull it out of the hole it was hunkered down in. Eventually we return to the dinghy, some more gracefully than others. Others more gratefully than some. The rain started by the time we climbed back in the ding. We returned to the boat empty handed. But there’s nothing like a cold wet dinghy ride and a throbbing welt on your leg to make you appreciate your cozy vessel. And really isn’t that what life’s all about… appreciating what you have? Even the unidentified sea welts.

1 comment

1 Kathy "O" { 01.21.08 at 2:47 pm }

It’s great hearing about all your adventures hope you are well!
Sounds like your scared…lol

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