Sunday, May 12th, 2002
Sailing with Sean and
Saint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles
Saturday morning, Curt and I were working
on some boat chores when we heard Sean and Jo call out to
us from the dock. Seems they had just returned from the bank.
The final money transfer had gone through and they stopped
by to congratulate us. We were now full-fledged boat owners.
It was very sweet, because you could tell how sad they were
to report the news, though obviously they had wanted to sell
the boat as well. With this news, we asked if they'd like
to come out for a sail with us the next morning. Just for
a few short hours. We'd go out the 9am bridge opening, and
come back in with the 11:30. They seemed happy at the invitation
and agreed to meet us aboard the next morning.
I don't know how things got so tense so
quickly, but somehow everything just got off to a funny start.
In hindsight, I think I should've gone over what our plan
was with Curt beforehand much more completely. You know: the
order of how and what to do pulling away from the dock, who
would steer, who would trim sails. Or better yet, we should've
sailed some together before having Sean and Jo join us. I
felt badly, because it turned out to be more of them showing
us "the ropes" so to speak, than a relaxing sail
for them. I'm certain Curtis thinks it went fine, and Sean
and Jo may've as well, but maybe being the rookie has left
me feeling more insecure than usual. At any rate, in the end,
it ended up being a lovely morning once we got going.
Upon our return, we sat in the cockpit chatting
and Jo invited us up for a little barbecue and offered us
a hot shower. Curt and I were both so grateful for the invitation
and of course accepted (it's not like we had any other big
They stopped at a market, Lido's, on the
way to their house. I hadn't realized how much our view of
grocery shopping had changed until we walked in and fell all
over ourselves to see a not only fresh produce, but a wide
variety of it as well. Granted, one tomato cost roughly $2.50,
but at least you could buy one if you chose. They had artichokes,
asparagus, and mushrooms. And fresh meat! Of all the markets
we'd been to, we found almost exclusively only frozen chicken
parts, or beef ribs, and fish cured in some sort of salt.
The selection at Lido's was almost like a grocery store at
home. We knew where we'd be spending our Monday morning.
Sean and Jo's home is absolutely beautiful.
It's in a lovely neighborhood and the house is a good size,
but not overwhelming or ostentatious. The entry way and living
room each have a wall that is filled almost entirely with
big glass doors that open out onto a patio where we found
their dining room table. With the doors open, the whole house
seemed almost not to have walls. If we hadn't known better,
we might've thought they were showing us their beautiful home
on land to talk us into selling them their boat back.
Sean barbecued steaks, and Jo prepared squash
just they way they would've on the boat (I've since tried
to replicate her dish, but my attempts aren't even half as
good). Curt and I had remembered to grab a bottle of wine
as we left the boat earlier, and we had it with our late lunch.
It was a great afternoon, and we listened to many exciting
stories about the adventures they had had when they were out
cruising - crossing the Atlantic, a trek through the Andes,
the characters they had run across throughout the Caribbean.
And the funniest by far was their visit to the U.S. and their
attempt to buy an RV for a cruising adventure by land. It
didn't last long though, as the RV blew up.
All the while Jimmy Buffet played
in the background and we'd occasionally pause the conversation
to reflect on brother Jimmy's wise words. And just as one
bottle of wine would be polished off, Sean would grab another.
"Here we are now. Cheers! What do you say we have just
one more bottle?" It was just perfect as I knew Curt
was enjoying the day as much as I was, and neither of us had
any desire to have it end (and apparently neither did Sean?).
The afternoon wore on into evening and we found ourselves
on the veranda staring at the Caribbean Sea and a sky brimming
with stars. I couldn't resist mentioning Curt's nightly quest
to catch a glimpse of the Southern Cross and how he hadn't
been able to track it down yet. Of course (wouldn't you know),
Sean was able to point it out without blinking an eye. It
was one of those moments (of which I found few at home and
yet find many here) that you know you'll remember forever.
I believe Curt's dad calls them "defining moments."
I don't know if I could make-up a more fitting story for Curt
to see the Southern Cross for the first time, than from the
man who has passed our boat on to us. The boat which will
carry us safely on our adventures and show us all sorts of