Thursday, October 29, 2009

control of the high seas

Dawn breaks over the lagoon as we load Mick’s tri-maran with snacks, sunscreen, fuel tanks and an array of equipment for water activities. Surfboards : check. Stand-up-paddle board : check. Kiteboard : check. Mask and snorkle : check. A day out communing with nature is imminent.

The water is glassy and clear as we motor around the reef and into the open ocean. A brief interlude for a morning surf, then Mick unfurls the “screecher” and we sail to protected waters for a cuppa and cranberry muffins. The water is like Venetian glass, reflecting a cloudless sky over a white sand bottom. I do my best to channel Jacky Onassis or Princess Mary, lazing away a Thursday on the bow.

We push 6 knots across the channel to the leeward side of “Bat Island” for lunch. Sail, swim, eat, repeat. I’m getting the hang of this sailing gig. The coral garden beneath us is undamaged, a rare display in an area prone to dynamite fishing and a total disregard for preservation. Above us looms a grey, gaping cliff face; ancient reef exposed to the elements in another eon.
The westerly on-shore wind has picked up and we punch into the swell under full sail. It is my first real sailing experience since lolling about in tiny bathtubs for school boating. If I stay on deck I can endure fairly rough conditions, but five minutes in the galley and I’m toast.

The red sphere hits the horizon as we enter the lagoon and glide home. The perfect clichéd end to a magic day.

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