I was trying to think of how best to write the next segment in this journey and one thing that kept coming to me was the mates and the great people I have met in my life and have played a part in my story, and I a part in theirs.
Many years ago I left behind everything I knew, all that formed my world, all the people I grew up with (not my immediate family, but everyone else) all the places I had memories of, things I had done and time shared with friends and picked up and moved to the other side of the world. This is something that affected me greatly, and for a long time I thought that that was it, I would never again see these people, and even if I did it would never be the same. There’s been a gradual healing in that area over the years though, as I learn to shed my black and white point of view of things. A major part of that has been having great mates come and sail with me and experience part of my journey. Right now I am sailing with Marc, whom I have known since I was about ten, and having him on board Kuhela is something I could never even have imagined. We have had such different lives and done such different things along the way, but still here we are, sitting and talking and joking as if there was not a day apart between us. To have had both of my best mates come and join me on this trip has been something that I will treasure forever.
For a long time that sense of belonging was something that was missing, I never knew where I fit in really, like I existed in two different worlds and the distance between them was huge, one in Australia one in Trinidad, Now as I grow to learn myself and have people from both these worlds come and travel with me I can feel the distance between these worlds evaporating. To be able to sit and talk about times gone past and discuss experiences and lessons learnt, and to see how funnily enough, and by very different means, Marc and I have both come to the same realizations on so many different topics is truly remarkable. Marc has been the dedicated family man for many years now and I more of the nomad traveler, and yet still we can sit and chat for hours and, between you and me, the level of verbal nonsense is still at an all time high, just as it should be between mates.
Thinking on this point made me think of all the many people I have met along the way, on this journey and previous ones, people that feature in the story of life for sometimes only a day, a month, or for years, they all play a part in who I am and where I am today. I have been so amazingly blessed, I have met, musicians, singers, comedians, beautiful girls, amazing kids, surrogate parents, pirates, mermaids, people who talk different languages, are from different countries, have different cultures, artists, poets, thieves, drifters, tribesmen, healers and so many, many more. We all have our stories and timelines intertwined with so many others, these lines twist and turn trough the fabric of time and sometimes head off in totally different directions before doubling back and crossing paths again, like some amazing tapestry that I guess you could look at as the very illustration of life. Part of the very essence of who we are is in the reflection of others we interact with every day. That’s why even a passing smile can make such a difference.
It has been quite a change of pace from the last few weeks of diving, filming and surfing hard to relaxing and catching up with Marc. I do believe that travel and experiencing things different from what we know as the norm has a profound effect on us. To hear Marc comment on the different things he’s experiencing and the different realities that were completely unknown to him only a week ago makes me remember back to when I first moved to Australia. When I found myself blown away that there was totally other way to do things, or to think, and that this had been going on for many, many years unbeknown to me. When we step out and go to different places it helps to weaken the mortar of the walls we have in our head and slowly we start to see through the cracks.
We spent the time sailing back down to some of the spots I had been to before and checked out both the Jakanali keys and Fred’s island. On the first day sailing down, with a vey low tide, we found ourselves in a patch of shallow water and reduced speed to try to make our way out, but not quickly enough, and with a gentle bump Kuhela stopped moving and sat on the sand indignantly, as if to say, OK now what. This is where having friends in the area comes in very handy and after a quick phone call help was on the way, and Fred and Bruce came down in their panga and got us off and into deep water before the tide dropped further. No harm done, other than some anti-fouling (which keeps the barnacles from growing) taken off the keel. We made the rest of the journey without too much excitement and spent the days diving on amazing little reefs and showing Marc around the many little mangrove islands in the area. The cruising here is so amazing and so easy, there are so many little anchorages everywhere to pull into and explore, and sharing that with friends is even better.
Think marc did have a bit of a shock though as life on a boat is a little different to life on land. Water doesn’t come endlessly form the tap and power is not an infinite resource. He did pick it up pretty quickly though and even though he didn’t believe that it was possible to shower in only two liters of water, by the end he was finishing with water to spare. Its amazing how when you live simply the little things you can do for comfort make such a big difference, remembering to leave the shower can out in the sun during the day means hot water and saves gas not having to heat it, washing everything in salt water first and then rinsing in fresh means more fresh water saved, living simply requires a little forethought and a bit more work, but brings with it a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment of the simple pleasures. Was always a laugh hearing Marc comment that he couldn’t wait to get back home to be the man of the house again, instead of the housewife on Kuhela. I'm sure his wife will thank me.
After a few days of exploring there we headed back up to the south side of Bastimentos Island and anchored outside red frog marina. The timing was perfect as we anchored up just as the guests were getting off the super yacht that had been cruising around for a while and we had met the crew off of previously. They were pretty keen to go out in town for a night and we joined them for dinner and a night on the town. Heading into town on their 38-foot (that’s as long as Kuhela) speedboat which cruises along at 40 knots felt like travelling at light speed after the 5 knots I'm accustomed to moving at. You know it’s going to be a big night when the SS Party ship pulls up alongside with music blaring and crew dancing on board. Marc and I could only laugh at the settings we find ourselves in. Always great meeting new people and having fun and the crew of redemption were awesome to hang out with. Such a good night.
With Marc’s time coming to and end we moved back over to Bocas town and anchored up where we could surf and get into town to get back in touch with Internet and the world. I had one last surprise in store though and on the last day we headed in to see peg-legged Steve and rent some ATVs off him again to go ride some trails. We spent the day flying through the bush, over tree roots and through river crossings, getting covered in mud and loving every minute of it. The trails up in the north end of the island are amazing and we had time to hit them a couple times, after that we headed up to check out a beach on the northern side of the island called star fish beach, though no one seems to have ordered the start fish that afternoon, as we only saw one. A great way to end off the trip and stoked that Marc got to experience a bunch of different stuff on the trip.
I really can’t even fully explain how great it was having Marc out here with me, think it will take a bit of time to process and think that we are both better off for the trip. We shared and discussed things that taught both of us lessons and I has given me things to think and reflect on. This is just another confirmation to me that this whole trip was something I was supposed to do, and by following my intuition it opens the way for great things to happen.