Places in Retro: Part 2. A Boat and Some Water

Inevitably the time of year comes when my imagination begins to slip away from the urbanity and dryness of an inland city and toward the sea. I suspect it will (and I both fear it and embrace it) always be that way. The ‘call to the sea’ is a cliché, and uttering the very words makes my eyes heavy with instant boredom or roll with dismissal. But wonderful life cocktails of pain and pleasure — travel and sailing being two experiences in particular — do have their sirens that whisper in my ear when the sun begins to shine and warm my face. So as I plan my summer, and as the sentimental fool that I am, I’ve collected a few memories that were realized on or near the water. Here’s to more…

Our temporary escorts. One dark night I sat on the bow of our boat, watching these spinner dolphins dart through the water, leaving green rocket trails of phosphorescent algae behind them. And there is a strange power of connection in watching them tilt to the side and gaze at you with a little eye, or in hearing the air escape their blowholes merely feet away.
cape of g_h_
At the southernmost point of the African continent, the Cape of Good Hope. Long on my land extremities life list.
Sitting in a saddle made for a 6-year-old on an uneasy South African horse I had no business riding. I had the nice one, though.
cape town 5
This confident-looking sailor, finally departing from Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town, South Africa (with Lion’s Head in the background) was reduced to a vomiting mess only hours later. Probably the worst night I have ever had at sea, the large swells that rocked our boat at night brought me to my knees, on the first night of our month-long trip, almost incapacitated by seasickness, lying on the deck near the helm, surrounded by a beautiful swash of green phosphorescent algae (and puke). The crew, undoubtedly, were not impressed.
Our catamaran, Kepa II, en route from South Africa to Tonga in the South Pacific, more than half-way around the world. I once sat on the little seat on the bow, waiting for hours to capture flying fish on my video camera.
Onboard, I took it upon myself to be the baker for the trip across the Atlantic from Cape Town to Panama. It worked some of the time. There is nothing like hours of mind-numbing boredom to hone your baking skills.
st. helena2
The island of St. Helena, Britain’s second oldest colony (overseas territory). It is difficult to find a place on the globe that rivals the remoteness of this place. In fact it was the final point of exile for Napoleon I, although his residence wasn’t exactly a dungeon, now under control of the French Foreign Ministry.
A big moment for an amateur sailor: my first gale.
Our boat at the moorings near Jamestown, at St. Helena.
Craggy, intimidating St. Helena on our first approach.


Resting at harbor in Trinidad, after crossing the Atlantic.
An easy day moving along nicely with kite out. Photo taken from the top of the mast.
Yes, that says 75% alcohol. When in Tobago…
There is something terribly exciting about the beaches of Tobago.


We slightly drunk crew hanging with some quirky Tobago residents.


The locks of the Panama Canal.
En route through the Panama Canal, in Gatun Lake.
A blue water sailor’s fear: fast-moving cargo ships.
A scary day off the Dalmatian coast (Croatia) when the wind was stronger than the little diesel engine on our boat.
Our Sunsail flotilla moored at Skradin, Croatia, near Krka National Park.
The end result of a challenging afternoon of anchoring on steep rock. Croatia.
Our flotilla on mooring balls. Croatia.
Stressed out somewhere off the coast of Nova Scotia.
Foggy Canadian sea.

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