Romance at sea
always been fond of saying that the only real gear failure we've
suffered during all our years of blue water sailing is birth control.
three kids on the boat, a non-boating friend once asked: "How
do you...uh...when do you...uh...isn't it...uh...don't they...uh..."
Couples have no guilt trips about arguing and fighting in front
of their children but they get squeamish about the sounds of love.
Obviously, we do our best to wait until the kids are sound asleep.
Most people, whether house bound or boat bound, have figured out
this trick. It's in the Parenting Handbook. It follows the section
on seduction and birth control.
without children in your twenties is different than cruising with
children while in your thirties and forties.
naked in the tropics is different than sailing in the Arctic with
70 pounds of foul weather gear covering your body.
question: If Jaja and I had gone to the Arctic in our twenties,
rather than to the tropics, what would the status of our family
probably no difference.)
13, 1990. Bay of Islands, New Zealand: My friend Gordon and I spent
a half hour free-diving in 25 feet of water for scallops. We found
about ten each. It was a pathetic haul. The only thing that kept
us from diving longer was eminent hypothermia. The next day, Valentine's
Day, we anchored in a different spot. Jaja went for a swim in the
shallow bay. Fifteen minutes later she returned with a couple dozen,
very large scallops. She very proudly exhibited her prizes.
Valentine's Day! I guess it takes a female touch!"
season closed yesterday."
Jaja said. "That's OK. When the season opens next year I'll
start one day late."
wedding took place on Barbados. The West Indian Magistrate was a
tall gentleman, about 60 years old, very dignified in a three-piece
suit, but full of that island jive. Although it was 1989, his office
was straight out of the 40s. The furniture was solid oak. The breeze
from a free standing, oscillating fan ruffled papers on the desk
as the fan made its journey back and forth. Although the windows
were covered by wide Venetian blinds, the strong tropical sun infiltrated
through the cracks.
I was happy I was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and flip-flops. Jaja
wore a casual looking, light blue beach-dress thing. Sandals.
yo witnesses?" The Magistrate said.
and I looked at each other. "Witnesses?"
behind his desk, The Magistrate called his secretary. "Yo!
Miss Trudy! Come here, Girl." Miss Trudy was about 20 years
old. She had island jive built into her walk. The Magistrate shook
his head. "Mmmm-mmm. Well, we need one more. Where's that boyfriend
of yours? Yo! Dennis. You there, Boy?"
security guard sauntered in. Island jive. They all had it. Although
Jaja and I had just spent 6 months sailing to Barbados from England,
and we were deeply tanned and sun bleached, we felt commonplace
and unremarkable next to the locals (like we were just plucked out
of an Iowa suburb). Jeez, these guys were hip.
we pro-cede?" The Magistrate asked simple questions that we
had to repeat, concluded by "till death do us part". The
urbaness of the situation was relived by our two witnesses. Dennis
kept pinching Miss Trudy's butt and she was doing her darndest to
look insulted. She would giggle and slap his hand. The Magistrate
paid no mind. He just blazed on, recalling the words of sanctity
now pronounce you man and wife." He smiled a genuine smile.
"Congratulations." After a moment's pause, he looked at
our witnesses. "Now you two, get back to work."
glare of the streets in Bridgetown blinded us. We angled toward
a pub and ordered a pitcher of pina colada. Married. How cool.
comes love...then comes marriage...
do you suppose we should call our families and tell them the news?"
We had considered inviting our families down for the elopement but
the one thing we did not want was a Production. We did not want
to think about how much everyone was spending, and we did not want
to feel responsible if they didn't like Barbados. We just wanted
to get married. We knew our parents and siblings would be disappointed
that they weren't included, but this whole White Wedding Thing with
all the trimmings seemed such a farce. After all, we'd already been
living together for a year.
parents took it well. They understood our position. They said they
would throw us a party the next time we were all together. For wedding
gifts they sent checks. Instead of staying a year in the Caribbean
to work, we had enough to provision DIRECTION and sail to the Pacific.
Fourteen months later Chris was born in Australia. The circumnavigation
And sunrises too.
There's no one I want
To sail with but you.
Bottom paint's blue
The best thing to have
Is a husband like you....
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