We are sailing

Cid Harbour is a sheltered anchorage.  We share it with four or five other yachts.   As the sun goes down, we see their white anchor lights shining around us.   We dance with them in an evening waltz, each yacht swinging on its anchor chain, back and forth to the music of the wind and the waves.

There is an air of anticipation about the crew.  Tonight is Gilligan’s Island night.  Each of us has been given a character to play from that ancient US TV show.   The identity of our alter egos has been kept secret until now.   Costumes on, we emerge from our cabins and attempt to stay in character through the evening meal.   

Ginger steals the show, with her firey red hair, black evening gown and dark sultry looks.   She makes a fine figure casting fishing lines from the bow of the boat as shoals of tiny fish leap in the moonlight.

In the morning we rise early for a day of swimming and snorkelling at Butterfly Bay.  Time to relax and enjoy the warm sunshine, to slip off the back of the boat into the turquoise blue water and to head off with snorkel and flippers to explore the underwater life of the coral reef.  

The next day the wind is blowing a good fifteen knots and the sails go up.  We are sailing!

Heather proves to have a sensitive hand on the helm, getting the yacht to move at a respectable 7 knots.   Richard tightens up the main to eke out a little more speed, while Max trolls his lines from the stern.   As the sun rises in the sky, the crew get sleepy in the warm sea air.   Suddenly there is a shout and Max is reeling in a glistening blue mackerel.   The boat comes to life with calls of encouragement.   Reference books are consulted to identify the precise species.   Everyone wants to take a look.  The fish is too small to keep and is thrown back to the ocean depths, but the buzz lingers to liven up our sleepy passengers.

We tack down the coast, watching out for other yachts.  We admire the sleek lines of thoroughbred racers that glide past, overtaking us with ease.   A turtle swims alongside, lifting his head on his wrinkled neck to survey the surface before diving back down.  A whale, or is it a dolphin, slips past.

Our destination is Whitehaven.  The fine white silica sand squeaks underfoot as we walk the length of the beach.  Day trippers disappear on to the tourist boats. We climb into the jetty and return to the yacht.   

The evening ends with a huge full moon rising over the water, glowing pink against the azure blue sky.  The reflection of the moonlight on the surface of the water is broken only by gentle ripples in the cool breeze.  

Tomorrow we return to dry land.   Thinking back, it’s been a great few days on the water.  We have had no sea sickness.  Able Seaman Jeffery has manfully tackled every sailing task, proving it is possible to swim from shore fully clothed.  Gourmet meals have been cooked by the ladies in the smallest galley kitchen I have seen.  Entertainment every night has had us roaring with laughter.  

Howard has explored the underwater world.  Max has caught two fish.  Richard has managed the boat and engine in all conditions, forward gear or not.  And I have had a great day’s sailing.

Oh, and the skipper with his blokey ways will stay on the island, with Ginger.

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