We. That’s right. It’s no longer a one-man show. I have a Brazilian Marine Biologist onboard. She has an easy laugh and likes organizing things. My boat is clean and organized and that makes me happy. She swims more than anyone I’ve ever met. She can wrestle a twisted anchor chain back onto the gypsy and doesn’t mind getting dirty. Her name is Ana.
There’s another girl onboard too. She’s called Des (or Dez, maybe). She’s from New York. She’s a chef (SCORE!). She likes wine as much as I do and we’ve had fun drinking too much of it. She brought bagels and cream cheese and Boar’s Head ham to my boat and I can’t think of a better surprise. She’s a gem. Did I mention that she’s a chef? Yeah. We are eating well. Every. Single. Meal. Is. Awesome.
Tomorrow our boat-family sails to Panama. San Blas. I want another shot at the Grouper there. I want a few days of diving the outer reef at The Swimming Pool. I want to sail and remind myself why I’ve been working in the Hellish heat of Cartagena for the last six months. I want to have more of the good problems – too many fish, beers too early in the day, too many friends around, too much Rum the night before, too many reefs to dive. Too much fun.
We left Cartagena, likely my last time in that city, just a few hours ago. I left nothing there, I took nothing with me. Cartagena was a big part of my life. Bigger than I expected. It was so much fun. It was so goddamn hot. It was so loud. It showed me some things about myself, some that I liked and some that I didn’t. It made me happy to walk the streets. I loved the Plaza at night, the women, the Aquadiente and the street food. I loved our pizza place where they treated us like family. Cartagena made me curse the boat traffic. I detested the filthy water. The lady that sold cheap (and delicious) lunch under the shade tree, outside of the marina, became something like my Colombian mother. She made a special meal for me every day, in her personal tupperware and she labeled it “Gringo” – because there was only one gringo that ate there and it was this guy.
We left Cartagena today and I was euphoric. We left Cartagena today and it was sad. I left two people that came to mean quite a bit to me. They meant enough that it was impossible to tell them, but the words didn’t need to be spoken because the feeling was mutual and it was completely understood. We left, they waved, they hugged, they wiped their eyes. I was so happy to leave. Euphoric. I WAS FREE.
Just a Reminder
As if Poseidon himself were watching me leave, the sails were raised and immediately we were hit by a squall. It came out of nowhere. Suddenly we were caught in 25 knots of wind with full sails and the wind just kept getting stronger. Sometimes it takes getting caught with your pants down to remind you that clothes have their purpose. I got caught. Consider me reminded. There was an Oh-Shit moment, followed by some really fun sailing. I bled a little and some sails flapped too much and we hit 9 knots – despite having enough food to feed a small country, enough water to irrigate a small farm, enough booze to supply an aircraft carrier, and enough fuel to power a small country onboard.
The Lost Time
What, pray tell, have I been up to? Well. Shit… Boatwork (so much that even typing that word turns my stomach). My sister visited (randomly) and we sailed a bit and I was reminded how nice it is to have an intelligent and strong family. I’m lucky, and that’s something I can’t deny. I’ve been hanging out with Kenny, who has become a very close friend and who has been shockingly generous with his time and knowledge. I’ve been hanging out with Fernando, who helps me on the boat and has also become a very close friend. We spend time like most men do – complaining and joking about women, complaining and joking about how much bullshit you put up with when you buy a boat. We eat together and laugh together and drink together. I had a fling with a very talented singer at what might be the best bar in Cartagena. I dove and fished and cooked and sweated and cursed and bled and lived.
I lived fully in Cartagena and that is The Truth. But now that’s gone and tomorrow we cross an ocean and go to another country and place ourselves at the mercy of The Ocean, the only God that I continue to acknowledge. Not a huge crossing, but we’re not sailing in a lake and there isn’t a Coast Guard to come a rescue us if we eff up. It’s real.
San Blas, it’s time to suit up. Game time. Two girls and one shaggy gringo are coming to rabble rouse. We’ll be there soon. We’re planning many sushi dinners and many rum drinks. We’ll see you soon San Blas.