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Girl Sailing Aboard the Western Star ~ excerpt of chapter 7

Sailing. Little San Salvador to Cat Island, The Bahamas

The bow pitched and dipped, rose and fell as the space between my toes and the top of the water got closer, and then up we went again. My short legs dangled off the edge of the pulpit as I leaned forward, pushing my body forward against the pulpit rails. I reached my arms toward the water, amazed at its bright blue colors. On the port side, the water is a bright azure blue. The water is clear and clean, and the shapes of the coral below us are just a blur as we sail over them. But off our starboard side, the water is a deep royal blue. It’s like a line formed deep below us, drawn by the currents and probably Hurricane David, plus all the hurricanes before him. Cat Island is off in the distance. We are heading toward her but keeping her on our port side, heading south. I think I will read. It’s a perfect day!

Cat Island, The Bahamas

24.229268, -75.420172

How do you anchor in a bed of sand? The loose sand wouldn’t hold a huge boat in place if the wind picked up. We typically can leave all the anchor chain on the sandy ocean floor and the weight helps hold the boat in place when anchored out. It’s funny, the wind can change in the middle of the night, pushing the boat 90 degrees. You went to bed with the island on the port side, and in the morning, it’s on the starboard side. Some mornings I wake up feeling lost for the first moments until I get my bearings. You might feel the same way if someone came into your room and moved your bed to the other side of your room while you were asleep.

After our anchor was secured, I sat down on deck looking toward the beach. Its pink sand seemed to reach both ends of the world, not a human, boat, house, or hut in sight. I heard two splashes off the dive platform and saw Dad and DJ headed toward the anchor with their dive gear on. The water is so clear I could see every detail of them, their tanks, and each air bubble floating up to the surface. The sound of Mom’s laugh caught my ear from only a few steps away. She was laughing so hard, she had tears in her eyes and couldn’t speak, but she pointed. Two eyes—very, very wide black eyes—were staring at me, and then with a sudden dash, she was gone. I tiptoed closer to where she had darted off. Peeking over the Jet Ski, I noticed BabyBear’s wide black eyes as they met mine. She dashed off to the other side of the Jet Ski. I continued this peekaboo game with BabyBear for several minutes until she was done and sat on one of the cushions next to Mom in the cockpit and groomed herself in the sun. After her short grooming session, BabyBear was off roaming the upper deck, inspecting every inch. She was daring today and even peeked over the side of the boat, looking down into the water at her new friends, schools of fish. BabyBear followed a sound until she noticed the bubbles popping at the water’s surface. This intrigued her, until the two monsters broke surface and BabyBear went skidding around the deck, making her way at mach speed down the hatch. I am sure she hid deep inside the aft cabin. We didn’t see her again for hours. Poor BabyBear, traumatized by the scuba monsters. Well, who wouldn’t be scared of DJ, in or out of scuba gear?

DJ gets to scuba dive, and I get handed a chore—not fair! Swab the deck, Matey! Captain John handed me a mop and bucket with soap and water, so I started mopping and singing. “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, off to work I go, I’ll swab the deck, try not to break my neck, Hi Ho, Hi Ho.”

The thick layers of salt were washing away with each swipe. By the time I was done, Captain John was rinsing her off, and she was gleaming. Job completed and all sudsy myself, I jumped overboard. It was totally awesome. My body, floating free. I rolled over to my back and floated with the hundreds of rainbow bubbles I’d created while mopping. So, this is heaven, or at least how I pictured what heaven would be like.

Girl Sailing Aboard the Western Star – a journal, a young girl’s diary, written many many moons ago. I hope you enjoy the adventure aboard the Western Star!

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