Life is Good. Time to Go.
Our delightful bar manager, Sade, had just delivered a pair of Negronis. She beamed a dazzling smile at Chantal and said, “You look gorgeous tonight.” Chantal was wrapped in a dyed skirt and top that her sister made and imported from Malawi. Chantal and Sade have been engaged in a style contest for months, both appreciating the other’s sartorial panache.
Beneath a giant mural of Bob Marley, the band—a two-man, Simon & Garfunkel-meets-Carlos Santana incarnation—rocked everyone on to the dance floor. Old white people gyrated and shuffled to the sounds of the 70s. Cool breezes washed into the open bar, punctuating the pastel sunset. People hugged. They whirled and they twirled and they tangoed.
Chantal looked at me and said, “This is just great. I could stay here forever.”
“I know,” I said. “Me too. That means it’s time to go.” She nodded in agreement.
We have spent many months in this bay, at these marinas, eating this food, drinking this wine. We know the bus routes and the bus drivers. We know the boats coming and going from the boatyard. We know all of the children and all of their names, every handout in every town. We are comfortable.
Time to go.
The boat is ready. Ish. No boat is every fully ready to sail. All sailing is a perpetual shakedown cruise. Instead, there are degrees of fallibility that sailors are willing to endure. We have windlass issues. (Overcome by pulling up the anchor by hand, if necessary.) We have toilet pumping issues. (Overcome by peeing off the transom.) We have refrigeration issues. (Overcome by drinking warm beer.) Safety is paramount, but sailing is inherently unsafe. It is the true test of putting yourself in the hands of dee Almighty.
Why leave? Why quit the cheap-cold beer-constant entertainment-close circle of friends lifestyle? It’s not because the grass is greener, or the water is clearer, or the breezes are fresher. It’s because there are different grasses, different waters, different breezes, and we want them to blow over us, to drip from us, to scent us. We want to hear different voices, different accents. We want to taste new foods, see new sunsets.
Sailors spend a lot of time at anchor. They talk of where they have been, the problems they have faced, the solutions they have found. They talk of where they will go, when they will leave, and how they will get there. They drink and they smoke and they laugh. They are gregarious and reclusive. They are smart, and they are willfully ignorant. They come together and coalesce for a moment in time.
And then they go.
They slip their moorings on the morning ebb, splitting the glassy waters, easing past Calivigny Island, past the reefs, past the breakers, past the young men in colorful speedboats trailing fishing lines. They pick up the trade winds, fill the headsail, cut the engine, haul out the main, and they are gone.
And now we go.
Not because we want more. Not because we want better. Not because we want anything. We go because we move. We vibrate with the colors of the universe. It shuffles our feet to a different frequency, playing the tunes of our past over and over in different arrangements, re-quilting the tapestry of our lives. It is the gravity of who we are. Fighting it costs only money. Feeling it costs only love.
We are satisfied with what we have. We are grateful. And now it is time to go.