Wednesday, January 6, 2010

All at sea IV

I was the first one to awake on Boxing day. I was always the first one to wake up on the boat for some reason. I would step over bodies, making my way up to the deck and my favorite spot on the boat-- the hammock-- to watch the sun rise over the Caribbean. I loved that quiet moment. There were so many bodies on board, and several of them quite loud, that this time before they all woke up became my favorite time of day. Sometimes I would read, sometimes I would just drift through my thoughts. Kathryn was frequently the second one up and we dove into the sea, swam to the island, and walked around it to take in any and every aspect of it.

By the time we swam back to the boat everyone else was up and coffee was being served. Dennis immediately poured the last of a bottle of rum into his. This is when I realized that my captain would be in some state of perpetual intoxication at all times in our days to come. I do think he lays off a bit when he actually sails though.

Mode of operation on Dennis´s boat is pleasure. There´s swimming, snorkeling, eating, drinking, partying in any and every way. At around noon we set sail for a new island, one Dennis had never been to before.

This was my day of raging heartburn. My malaria medication is extremely acidic, so you´re not to take it before laying down. I´ve obeyed this so far, but on this morning I tried to swallow it without water to wash it down. Just too lazy to go get a glass of water. I will never do that again. I was uncomfortable for the entire day and the day following. Add this to 50+ raging sand fly bites and there´s a high level of physical discomfort. So I took it easy and stayed on board while the crew took the pathetic dinghy, which is practically like swimming, to shore. I watched this group of youths circled around Dennis and thought what a life he has! Always moving in the center of a different group of vibrant young people on their way from and to great adventures. Always making new young friends and setting himself up as the ringleader. He does his best to make this sailing trip a Great Adventure, and I´ve got to say that it is a very different experience than I believe a lot of people get when they pay for this particular trip. I´m very lucky in that respect. He´s always up for anything fun and is reckless enough to try anything.

The sunset this day was particularly beautiful. I witnessed it from the hammock, the water and sky was infused with vibrant orange. Schools of flying fish sped past the boat-- I can´t believe how far they go above the water!

The next day was finally the day for the previous crew of the boat to set off for Panama City. Dennis set out in the morning to take care of everyone´s passports at Porvenir, and the crew lazed about waiting for his return... for hours. This is typical with Dennis. He gets distracted. And you never know where he is or what he is doing. All you can do is wait for him to get back. I was actively refusing to feel anxious about all the time steadily marching by as we sat in the water. I think everyone had given up on his getting back in time for them to get to Panama that day when he finally arrived at 3ish. The crew was really reticent to depart, some of them had grown very attached to the boat. Kathryn, Lani, and Joe were definitely sad to see them go. But I really enjoy small groups of people as opposed to a giant party, so I was kind of glad.

Our plan was to sail to Sapzurro, just across the border into Colombia, where Dennis and his partner, Captain Jack, had set up a new hostel. This is where Kathryn was heading, as she will be working at the hostel for a couple of months at least. We would spend New Year's there, followed by our sail to Cartagena, Colombia.

Dennis decreed there was a storm and we should not set out til morning. I never saw the storm, but as there was no rush to get to Sapzurro because of the imminent holiday I didn´t mind too much. Some friends arrived, and I´ve got to say that Dennis's friends are always an... interesting... group.

The next morning we set sail. And, dear readers, I loved being on a sailboat. But I do not love sailing. I don´t get motion sickness. Ever. But sailing is a completely different story. On a scale of calm sailing to rollicking sailing, 1-10, we were at 6 or 7 the first day. It was a 28 hour trip to Sapzurro, and I slept for the entire journey! I still can´t believe it. Granted, at the beginning I took one anti-seasickness pill, and those just knock you out. But it couldn´t have lasted for that long. I´ve never slept so much in my life. I just kept waking up, looking at the clock, and rolling over to doze and then sleep again. You see, the secret to avoiding or treating seasickness is to lie down. For some reason it helps a LOT. And the rocking of the boat eventually rocks you to sleep.

I don´t believe Dennis slept at all during the journey.

At this point, completing the journey to Cartagena, another 30 hour sail, does not sound in the least appealing.