Satori on Audentes

Following the departure of my visitors, I moved the boat over to Christmas Cove, St. Thomas and resumed my normal routine of boat maintenance, reading, and swimming. Twice each day, a tour boat full of snorkelers would arrive to swim around the bay and observe the marine life. These loud, pasty American tourists would float around my boat for a couple of hours while I tried to remember not to flush the toilet in their presence. I also learned that spear fishing is illegal in the areas that the fishing store employee recommended. Thus, I desisted from any further underwater hunting to avoid a large fine.

With the Boston Marathon approaching, I am saddened that this will be the first time in four years that I have not participated in the race. I have made it a point to go out for a few runs in St. Thomas this week despite the sweltering heat, mountainous terrain, and narrow roads with too many blind curves. On Marathon Monday, I plan to take a symbolic long run on the island; the St. Thomas Yacht club will replace Hopkington, the revelers at Duffy’s Love Shack will take the place of the screaming coeds of Wellesley, and Vessup Hill leading into Red Hook will serve as a poor substitute for Heartbreak Bill.

This upcoming week will also mark the 6-month anniversary of our departure from Cape Cod. After stumbling through the eastern half of the Caribbean for the past six months, I have made some trivial discoveries. The following are the random observations made since our departure in October:

  • A knife, a crescent wrench, and a hammer (the early American power drill) can fix pretty much anything.
  • Transportation ashore is a lot easier when hitchhiking is safe.
  • Ketchup and mustard both go well on pizza.
  • Extremely attractive girls inexplicably prefer Miller Lite.
  • Feta and olives make everything better.
  • The name of the Virgin Islands is a misnomer; I doubt there is a single virgin over the age of 15 on any of the islands.
  • I am not a gifted fisherman.
  • Residents of the Caribbean love to wear replica athletic jerseys from American sports, but it is nearly impossible to find even the largest US sports events on TV.
  • A hurricane is one experience that I would prefer to avoid.
  • My idea of sensual delights has changed drastically. Looking at fresh food in a grocery store is now a form of pornography, taking a warm shower is practically orgasmic, and putting on clothes fresh from the laundry is better than seeing a barely clad beautiful woman.
  • Residents always claim that Jimmy Buffet lives on their island.
  • Trying to fix the engine by reading books and manuals is for suckers. It is far better to go to the nearest bar, pal up to the most homeless-looking man, and casually turn the conversation to sailing. Sailors are lonely people who love to speak at length on any number of sailing-related subjects and will often offer to come out to the boat to take a look at the problem.
  • Shiva without Shakti is shava.
  • Anything that can go wrong on a boat will go wrong on a boat. Problems always occur at the worst possible time.
  • Sailing is not cheap.

I cringe when I think of our ignorance in the past, sailing through Navy war games without the VHF radio on, hurtling through the thick fog at 7 knots while dodging lobster traps, and trusting cruising guides to be accurate. It terrifies me to think of all that I still don’t know and what damage I am doing to the boat as I write this. A less cynical and more religious man might believe that God was watching out for our good ship. I’m not sure what to attribute the unbelievable string of good luck to, but I hope that it keeps up.

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