I suppose in the hierarchy of life, all of us are searching for something. Society has come to adopt so many prerequisites to our individual quests that we are intrinsically distracted from the fulfillment of our purpose. In our collective and unbending course for the Promised Land, we all find unexpected detours…
Until three o'clock in the morning, the rum flowed. Music was provided by one of the village elders who commandeered my guitar and played the only song he knew many times over. Intermittently, we would interrupt him with big rhythms on a large drum which must have created an eerie vibration at the yacht club meeting across the bay. None of its members came to investigate the source, but given the nature of human curiosity, it was undeniable that somewhere very near, someone realized that they were at the wrong party.
The three amigos all went to our own wallets, quickly discovering that between us, we had twenty-three wrinkled, sweaty dollars to our names. There wasn’t a bank around for tens of miles, and it was up to me to go and smooth things over with the little old sailors. I climbed over the fishing vessel and took the dirt road toward their house wondering what I would possibly say to make our meager offering equal a day’s work. When I arrived at the door, Serge answered and welcomed me inside once again. As I looked into his deep seafaring eyes, I realized that there was nothing I could say to make this right...
Our final days in the Pacific Ocean were filled with bliss, introspection, and a quiet excitement for the journey to come. There were thousands of ocean miles in our wake, and we had become more than a crew. We were a family. Each of us looked out for the others as a brother or sister and we shared a profound trust.
I’ve always been fond of the phrase, “Be careful what you get good at.” Had I thought of it at the time, I may have been more cautious. Youth and innocence are a fog of their own and I was overcome by them. I wanted, more than anything, to know the feeling of being one with the sea. I wanted to see her nuances in the distance, to anticipate her moods and movements, to feel connected to every horizon. I wanted to be a goddamn pirate captain of the twenty-first century.
I guess if you’re trying to cross the Pacific in a raft, it’s best not to be distracted by a girl in a bikini on a million dollar yacht. All of us in life must make decisions that define our path. Destiny after all, is a fancy conjunctive of action and circumstances. None of us can truly know the struggle of another, but we all share in the great human enigma. The fragmented feelings and moments of many are all one great story in the end.
The place was something out of a Tarantino movie. All manner of dirtbags and vagabonds were present. Bikers, surfers, travelers from all over the world were mixed at tables around buckets of beer. Santana came blaring out of one massive monitor in the corner of the place. The Wild West was alive and well in Barra Navidad, Mexico.
The first thing on my agenda after the boat was secure and we completed the formalities of customs and immigration, was to find a pay phone. All of this was taking place in a time before international calling plans and smartphones. We didn’t have Facebook, or twitter, or emojis. I needed to call my mother and let her know that I was alive. In subsequent passages, it would become my rule that the first thing I did on arriving in a port, and the last thing I did before leaving, was to call home. I always fudged the number of days estimated for a passage upwards by about fifty percent, knowing that if something went wrong, I wouldn’t leave my mother thinking the worst had happened.