So I’m swimming, swimming against current, turquoise waters under me, blue skies above. My life is reduced to the content of a one gallon zip lock bag I am holding above my head –credit card, lipstick, a change of clothes, and a pair of flip flops. After 9 days of offshore hardship, I am swimming for my life. Or, at least, for one perfect cocktail.
Previously: We pull out of Charleston Harbor on Xmas day, lose the autopilot two days later, no wind for the next three days (doldrums, motoring wind on nose, steady rain day and night), bottle of champagne shared with crew and Neptune to greet the year of 2015, 25-40 knot winds for the rest of the trip. Boat over-heeling (no third reef), soaked behind the helm within 5 minutes on 3-hour watches. Great captain, great first mate!
Even though I want to look presentable once washed ashore at White Bay, after two minutes of swimming I give up on not wetting my hair – the current is too strong and I am out of breath. I turn on my back to float. Grabbed by current, I float between the sandy bottom of the Caribbean and the sparkling sky; between the 41’ Benneteau we have brought over from Charleston, SC and anchored a couple of yards back, and the open-air bar of Soggy Dollars; between the first mate, who prefers to stay on the boat to sip his first cocktail, and the captain who is already shaking salty water out of his hair as he makes his way up to the bar, leaving heavy, angular footprints in the beach sand.
Floating… my left arm up in the air with my belongings… loving the experience of detachment.
This is the fourth time I am visiting Soggy’s. The very first time (June, 2014), I was thrown out by the General Manager, Tina, when I proceeded to make sand angels in front of the bar (and webcam) an hour after our arrival from a 5-week trans-Atlantic sailing trip. Not drunk, not even naked. Still, Tina threw me out, to the delight of crew and Captain. I still want my pre-ordered surf-and-turf dinner and determined to get it one day…
By the time I walk up to the counter of Soggy Dollars through sand and tourists, Captain already have greeted everybody and ordered drinks for both of us. Mic is tending bar, so I know my Bloody Mary is going to be a killer. No disappointment. “Since I don’t have celery, do you want double pickle?”, Mic asks, grinning, and before we respond, he jams an extra pickle into each of our drinks. Then he steps back and throws his hands up in the air for celebration. Needless to say, the cocktails are superb. It gets better as we switch to Margaritas while watching the sun peak and then take its slow slide down towards the horizon.
Perfect day, other than the slight challenge of swimming back to the boat in the dark, after partying. No true nomad would disapprove.
Two hours later I wake up to the boat moving. In spite of the original plan of sailing to destination the next morning, restless Captain pulls anchor in the middle of the night, taking advantage of transient weather conditions. I’m not worried. He always knows what he is doing, Captain Dave.
I go back to sleep.