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.
When I awoke and emerged from my little cabin which was something of a tomb, I was momentarily blinded by the brightness of daylight. That first dark and dreamy night had given way to dawn. Jiorgos was asleep and snoring away on the settee. I popped my head out of the hatch to find Kerstin sitting in front of the dodger reading a book and enjoying considerably warmer weather. The wind had eased and we were motor sailing. I said good morning and left her in her peace, making my way to the galley to fix some coffee.
Off we went. The channel was a blur of lines and fenders. America’s Cup Harbor was a quick reflection. Before we knew that we were gone, the safe water mark was well astern and bobbing in the swell. The conditions were rather windless and we proceeded on a course south of the border under power. It wasn’t long before we acquired an escort. A large U.S. military helicopter followed us most of the way to Tijuana. As we approached the border, off they went, leaving us alone to dream of the far off ports beyond the horizon.
Some of you have no idea who we are. Others, have come to know of these adventures along the way. Some have been a part of them, simply by the magic of life’s coincidences, and facilitated the very continuation of our story by helping us through the very worst of circumstances. Often at these moments when we feel that all is lost, some kind Samaritan is entwined in our destiny who comes to us ever so briefly, leaving our perspective changed forever...
As the last tide of 2017 recedes, and the waxing moon of the New Year rises, it’s a natural time to reflect on past adventures and prepare for new ones. We’ve weathered some more of life’s heavy gales, and its important to remember that everything in life is preparation for what comes next. We look forward in humble anticipation for what lies beyond the next horizon, ever grateful for the experiences in our wake and all of the lessons that they brought. The coming year is a blank canvas with great potential, and an opportunity to begin anew. We have so much to be thankful for. With that in mind, Here is the shortlist of wonders from 2017...