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Sunday, August 10, 2003

August 10, 2003 Shifting Patterns of Yacht Movements

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wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Brilliant II

The shifting patterns of the coming and going of yachts also have an impact on the cruisers that sail them. The cruisers brought together for a few days or weeks in these remote places where they share a bit of island paradise, bond with each other, and become friends, often for life.

Then inevitably they part, going their separate ways, maybe to meet again in another port or at another island, or maybe not.

In the Lousiades we met a young couple, John and Maureen and their son Dylan, on Brilliant II, from Hawaii. After a week or so sharing adventures in a couple of anchorages they became our friends. Then one day John announced that they would soon depart for Darwin, and then were going onward to Thailand. Our plans would take us the other way, north, not west.

Late that afternoon, when I was back aboard Wings, I came up on deck for a look around, just as the sun was about to sink behind the hill in the west and the colors were deep and intense, as they are late in the day, I saw John on deck on his boat, anchored just ahead of us.

The white boat from Hawaii lay swaying in the swell. Beyond, the beach was white against the deep blue of the bay and the coconut palms danced in the trade winds that came over the hill that afforded meager protection for the bay. I saw the younger blond man working on the foredeck, bare to the waist, his dingy alongside with the motor already off. I knew from these signs that Brilliant II would leave in the morning.

I went to the bow and hanging on to the forestay I hailed the other, "Hey John, where you going with that boat in your hand?"

John shaded his eyes with his hand and looked aft, trying to make sense out the words which had blown away in the wind. Finally his voice came faintly through the trade wind moan from the rigs of the two yachts, "What's that you say?"

"Looks like you're off in the morning," I said.

"Yeah, time to be going if we're to make Darwin this month."

"Well, you've got a fine breeze."

The two of us stared at each other silently across the water.

The younger man was now on his stern rail and he rocked with his boat, one hand on the backstay, his shock of blond hair as bright in the sun as his tanned skin was dark. The wind continued to blow.

"We'll call you from Darwin," he said finally.

I waved and turned aft and went below, where Judy was lighting the stove.

"She'll blow tonight," I said. I tapped the barometer and watched the pointer sink.

My wife's answer was lost in the noise of the wind.

Two hours later the moan had turned to a howl and when I went back on deck to let out some more chain I looked forward again. The white boat was lost in the darkness and had no lights showing.

Might as well be gone, I thought,

Might as well be gone.

The next day we left ourselves, for the outer lagoon, and we caught a nice Mackerel on the way.

Click here to see all the photos From the Louisiades

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Papua New Guinea

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