I basically took the Christopher Columbus route from the Canary Islands to San Salvadore near Exuma in the Bahamas with a little sailing education and provisioning in Fort Lauderdale in-between.
I found an unpaid crew position on a 44’ cat there. We had a little fun in the Bahamas, did some hiking, fixed the boat up for the journey to Grenada, and after the first week we realized our personalities didn’t jive. It was a blessing we found out now and not in the middle of the Caribbean :/ Here’s the scoop:
My captain met me at Georgetown. He was docked in a marina. At that moment I had a bad feeling about this. (I have strong intuitive vibes usually). The captain seemed ok, but I felt like I was walking on egg shells to keep him happy and be a good crew member. The boat was gorgeous and he had all of the top of the line accessories. Then things continued to happen that made me uneasy about the whole situation.
First and foremost, I was under the impression that I would not be alone. There were supposed to be more crew, one if not two and so far it was just me. He said the other had fallen through and he was desperately trying to find someone, and was. But, for the situation he was in he was being way to picky for free crew. Not necessarily their experience level, but silly things. He did choose me, tho, who told him I was inexperienced and wanted to learn. I was grateful for the experience and went out of my way to do everything that was needed in the boat that I could do. Clean, organize, etc. and asked for guidance in things I couldn’t.
I then found out that he had barely sailed, but had taken all the classes. He suggested that I said I had more experience. I showed him our correspondence on my phone from before I came. I had told him I wanted to come to learn and gain real-life experience and had just gotten my safety certifications from Bluewater. “I thought you got your power boating certification. Well then you better get some more certifications if you want any future in boating,” he said. I argued, as I do, that I wanted to work interior and would maybe get more later when I have the money and I would rather have real experience on a boat and learn by doing than sit in a classroom and take tests.”
He had done a bit of sailing – just a bit!!! and had his training, but again I don’t think that even compares to real life sailing experience. When things go south and you’re alone, you do not have an experienced captain or crew to help or guide you.
He wasn’t even sure of our sailing plans yet (I understand that it is controlled by the weather, but you atleast have a general direction.) He told me that he was buddy boating with a few other boats, but when I got there and met them they had yet to confirm, also thought he was a bit inexperienced for the trip, and expected him to have more crew.
We did take a small (few hour) trip in Exuma to get out of the dock and in a bay with other boats, so I learned a tiny bit. I got a lot of cleaning done, and some sun, which I desperately needed after Rome. My Tahitian tan had all but disappeared. So, it wasn’t all bad yet.
While grocery shopping for the trip ahead. We got in a little disagreement. He always wanted to go to the far grocery store because it was cheaper, so of course I was all about it, cheaper, walking, but when we got there they had nothing that I eat (no fruit, veggies, fish, yogurt). I wanted to look elsewhere and found it at the closer grocery store. No worries right? I also wanted to go to the market the day before and researched when they had it, but he didn’t want to go and said, “oh, they’re always open. We can go later.” I said “ok?” They were not open and I was stuck on the boat without transport or I’d have went myself.
He then got somewhat angry with me about the groceries and said, “your not always going to find everything you want on the islands.” I said, “I know, I have traveled a bit, but I’ll atleast look.” Then I may have crossed the line when I said a bit perturbed, “you spent a fortune on all the top of the line equipment, (a bread maker, a cappuccino machine, etc.), but get upset with me because I spent a little time and a bit more money (like 10 cents) looking for something I want. It’s my money.” At that moment, I was done with this whole arrangement and figured he was too, so that night I packed my backpack back up, which I only unpacked because he was giving me grief about that 🙁
Next morning, he said this isn’t going to work and offered to give me a dingy ride to land. I said ok, grabbed my already packed backpack and off we went. That’s when the real fun began.
My last few days there were fantastic. I stayed at the Exuma Beach Resort right on the water. After my dingy ride to shore I met some amazing people who were waiting for their rental car and offered me a ride. My room was overlooking the beach – Coco Plum. I couldn’t check in yet, so I’m hanging around with my heavy backpack and met some amazing people who were headed into town. They said I could leave my bags in their room and asked if I wanted to join them to go to the market. I did and we became best of friends my few days there. I also went out that night to a little bar down the beach and met another great guy who lived on the island with his wife. We also became good friends and he ended up taking me to see more of the island. My last few days there made up for the previous four with the new boater.
I was still on the fence about my next destination and hadn’t booked my flight yet (was considering Panama).
In the midst of all this an older man I had met at the marina who was docked down the way said he had heard what happened and I could stay with him for a bit. “You didn’t come all this way to just up and leave.” he said. I kindly declined.
“HMMM…. :/ …What do i do? Where do I go?” I had pushed my Thailand trip back once again for this and couldn’t change that without spending $350 more dollars.
God truly does work in mysterious ways. I did need to renew my passport soon. I did need to sell everything in my storage unit and quit paying a fortune. I did need to see my family, especially after November and the passing of my dad. I just needed to go back to Ohio before Thailand and a stewardess job. So, I booked my flight to Cleveland two days later. There is no way I could have done all those things if I would have stayed. So, it’s good we butted heads. I’ll have plenty of time to see the Caribbean and hopefully get paid to do it while following my yachting ambitions.
And about my Italian: He texts me all the time. Hmm. Who’s this remind you of? He says he thinks we met for a reason. He just felt it. Blah, Blah, Blah. (It is nice to have someone to talk to that is far away. Same with my Frenchman in Tahiti.) Maybe I’m only good far away :/ Maybe I’m too much in person. Then, we continued to chat for weeks until he sent me some pics. And, I noticed something. A ring maybe. On his left hand. I said were you wearing that ring when we met? He said yeah, you didn’t notice? (Which I usually don’t. Apparently I should start looking.) He continued, “We were having some issues and you were so perfect. I really think we met for a reason.” I said, “good, thing I didn’t let you up then. I don’t do the married thing” He said: Don’t worry ….I will always be married or vedovo. I love my wife….as I already told you…but I also love making love…..which with her it has become a lottery!!!!!
I then put on my therapist hat and said: “Well then find ways to spice things up and make her happy and I bet things get better.”
We continue to talk, but now I hear from him a lot less. I don’t know why I always get the married ones. Maybe because I’m a free spirit and they think I might be fun for a bit. Ugh. I’m pretty damn happy alone – I don’t know why guys try to convince me otherwise.
Maybe a small part of me does want to find my Prince Charming, but I don’t feel I should have to look. It’s supposed to happen naturally. Right? So, since it hasn’t come my way, I’ve learned to be happy with myself, my future, and not wait or even want. If it happens, it happens. I’m not avoiding it or pushing it away. But, if anything I want the real deal – Happily ever after! Not quite fairytale romance, but…..close
I am pretty convinced, tho, it just doesn’t exist. Period.
Now freezing in Ohio (it is getting better slowly) back to running, selling my stuff, and soon off to Thailand, not for fighting, but to improve my fitness game in a little more peaceful way, yoga. I’ve been playing personal trainer/bodybuilder forever and love it, but as I get older 40 :/ I think I need to start moving in a less physically demanding, but still challenging direction. I have had yoga teacher training set up in Koh Phangan since last year. I was originally supposed to go in November after French Polynesia, but Covid put a damper on that. I have since changed my date about 3 times and paid a fortune in flight change fees, which my travel insurance won’t cover. Ugh. And it is still going to be a mess, but gets better everyday. I must get Covid Insurance and originally had to quarantine for 15 days. But, now with the new regulations, fully vaccinated, I don’t have to quarantine. I’ll be in Koh Samui just long enough to get a few essentials, and get my party on, before heading to Koh Phangan for a month of intensive yoga teacher training.
Then, Koh Tao for my PADI Open Water Diver certification and finally, Antibes, France to hopefully find work on a Yacht. Wish me luck.