When I was growing up my dad often used to talk about selling everything we owned and sailing around the world for a year. Although it never happened as my mum wasn’t sold on the idea, it instilled something in me. Maybe it is what created my restless soul, one thing is for sure it has left me with a dream. To live on a boat and sail the oceans.
So when I saw the Colymbus sailing into the bay as I was windsurfing, I sailed up close as it’s only crew member, Michel, waved at me asking if it was safe to drop anchor. He was a little shaken up due to a close encounter on the bombora where, as I would later find, he very nearly ran aground.
I’d recently read a book, Alone on the Wide Wide Sea, about a girl who had sailed from Australia to England solo. Here was my opportunity to meet someone doing something similar and to pick his brain might I one day make the opportunity to be in his position. The following day I sailed out to him and hollered hello. He greeted me with a smile and welcomed me on board. Seeing him up close, he looked weathered, but had that glint in is eyes that only someone who is truly free has. We sat chatting for a little while, both of us happy for the new company. When I decided it was time to leave, I tried to sail off but found there was just no wind and after a handful of attempts I gave in to Michel’s invitation of rum and cigars.
Sitting on the boat in my wetsuit engrossed in conversation with a stranger, we traded off stories as if we were playing a game of cards,. him about his sailing and a previous life as a biker, me about my travels and adventures, some I had not spoken of in years. We shared memories as we were creating one of my best of the winter. Time was lost and by the time we noticed the wind was up it was too late, we were a bottle and a half in and there was no way I was sailing back to shore. It didn’t matter, there were more stories to tell and the situation made the one we were writing that much better. He told me how he traded his old life for this one, leaving nothing but a mobile home in Canada and setting sail with little experience of the open waters he would encounter. His journey had seen him almost loose everything in a hurricane which sunk his boat and washed him ashore. He managed to salvage the boat and most of his belongings with the help of the Mexican military, but had lost most of his electrical items and a toe. His plan was to continue down the Baja coast to La Paz where he would leave the boat and return in November to continue his journey.
I ended up spending the night in my wetsuit on the boat and waking up to the most amazing sunrise and fresh coffee. There was just enough breeze for me to attempt the sail back to shore. Though not enough to quite make it and I ended up swimming the last few hundred meters landing myself about a mile away from camp at a place we call pinball alley. Two of the winter campers came to meet me there and help me carry my gear back. As we walked along the cliffs to camp I told him his story and they told me how they were entertained by the whole event.
The following day I paddled out to Michel before he upped anchor to take him some fresh water and reading material to see him through his journey south. He made it to La Paz a few weeks later and left me with the idea of joining him next winter to learn how to sail and fulfil a dream.