I certainly miss living on a sailboat. The freedom of sailing from port to exotic port. The camaraderie among the yachtie community. The healthy isometrics of balancing against port and starboard tacks. The utter breathtaking beauty of the ocean in the moonlight and at sunset and sunrise. The satisfaction of working the boat hard, then relishing a well-earned, home cooked, satisfying meal. There’s nothing like it…..
However…there’s also nothing like hitting a volcanic reef off of Molokini in Hawaii so hard that a 25,000 lb. yacht BOUNCES BACKWARDS tossing five sailors and a heavy cooler around like sand dollars. I was one of the least injured of this crew since I was sitting in the cockpit flush against the cabin when we hit. Still, I acquired an eye-popping blue, green and purple bruise that completely covered my thigh from my right hip down to my kneecap.
Our captain, who had been resting his chin on the edge of the bimini while steering, chipped four of his front teeth. One guest, a dear, tiny friend who I called Mouse, went flying headfirst down the companionway hatch. No kidding, I thought she was a towel or something flying by. I grabbed her and halted her deadly flight. She only suffered minor scratches where my nails had dug in. Her husband hit the side of his head on the bimini and lost his hearing for two weeks. He also got his foot stuck in the handle of the flying cooler.
Our first mate, who’d been midships on the deck getting ready to hoist the main, disappeared. We thought we’d lost him overboard but we found him dazed and bleeding on the foredeck near the jib stay. He’d injured his back; all the skin was scraped off his spine. He was thrown about six feet forward when we hit. He scraped his back on the spine of the wooden sabot we had strapped to the foredeck.
Needless to say, after checking that the keel had only been scraped and not ripped off nor had we damaged the hull, we beat it back to Lahaina, Maui, dropped anchor, rowed to shore and consoled ourselves with mass quantities of Margaritas and tequila shots. What a motley crew we were. The captain was lisping, the first mate was hobbling, Mouse’s limping husband kept saying, “Huh? What?” and I looked like I’d tangled with a mad bull in Pamplona.
In hindsight, would I do it all over again ? OH HELL YES!
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