Saturday, April 16, 2005

Where's the Dinghy? Day 8

or, How We Learned Most of Cruising's Lessons in Just One Week

Day 8 (Saturday, May 8, 2004)

The next morning, we both awoke feeling hungover from the previous night’s wine. The only thing on our immediate agenda was to get the boat back to Conch Charters before noon. All we had to do was negotiate the six miles back across Sir Francis Drake Channel to Road Town, and our trip would be over. Partly because I wasn’t feeling well and partly because it was such a short distance, I didn’t bother to put up the sails. We just motored across the channel and circled around near the Conch Charters dock until someone responded to our call and came out in a dinghy to guide us into our boat’s slip. We worked on packing up our stuff and moving it to the dock until Miles came along to check us out. Miraculously, the only damage was to the boat hook, which was a little crumpled from being bent and straightened, but Miles didn’t notice and we didn’t mention it. He was more concerned with explaining to me the intricacies of our previous day’s impellor problem, which I already understood thoroughly from having experienced it firsthand. He gave us an exit survey to fill out while he poked around the boat. One of the questions was, “Did you circumnavigate Tortola?” I hadn’t really thought about it much before I read the question, but that was exactly what we had done. We didn’t do it very directly, and we certainly didn’t do it very gracefully, but we had managed to make our way around the island and return to our point of origin, safely and on time. We had faced many trials, and we had learned from each of them. I don’t know if Nan would agree, but I felt confident that we could handle almost anything at this point. I was already thinking ahead to our next trip, and ultimately to my dream of sailing around the world.


When people ask about our sailing trip, I tell them that we had quite a bit of trouble, everything from bad weather to mechanical problems. But I also tell them that I never said to Nan, “We’re screwed.” Everything, even the completely unexpected, was manageable in the end. In fact, at one point during the trip, what I said to Nan instead was, “Despite all the problems we’ve been having, I’m having the greatest time of my life.”

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