Port Royal, day 2: odd start, comfortable welcome


This morning Irene and Robert came over from their boat, Flilat I was thrilled that I would have a chance to speak with them! They came to ask Skipper-man to translate a label that is in German. I greeted them, called Skipper-man, and then tried to stick around so I could speak with them afterward. But Skipper-man literally pushed me aside and off the bench, so I was unable to maintain a conversation or set up another meeting. Later, I mentioned to Skipper-man that I was glad they were here and he asked why. I told him, “she has a Mac and she invited me on board to fix some of my problems.”

Then Skipper-man announced we were move to a buoy closer to the land. My hopes of connecting with Irene were dashed but I was thrilled that although we’d still be anchored out, separated by water, it would be more easily swimmable. (One of my thoughts went to: the sooner we moved, the sooner I would get to a bathroom where I could flush without digging deeper into the blister I’d been growing thanks to the malfunctioning toilet on board.)

But a funny thing happened on the just-a-few-feet to the closer buoy — a sail was unfurled. Yep. Not the mainsail, which a normal person uses to sail, but the jib. We were on maneuvers. I was being tested. So much for being informed about plans as I asked on a regular basis. So much for the posted promise that the “crew person” would be taught. The rigging wasn’t smooth, he pushed for insane taughtness. It was clear by the end that this was not going to be easy or relaxed sailing. I was even more worried now. Plus, I could see that I would not enjoy the sailing part of this voyage.

Days later I was to learn something I suspected: the sail the Skipper-man put out was not normal to put up alone. Not only that, but I learned he’d taken at least a year off that sail by thrashing it so hard. Interesting considering that there was so much abnormal financial conserving going on.

But wait… It gets better. We stopped at the “Cow and Calf,” a couple of small coral islands very close by and Irene Robert were anchored there. Looking at them longingly again from the bow, I considered swimming over to them and was about to when we got the order to pull up anchor and Skipper proceeded to circle their boat — so closely that Robert came up on deck and sound a horn. “What’s your problem?” Skipper called out. “You’re my problem!” Robert rightly replied — and Skipper-man kept his tight circle. Now there was no way Irene and Robert would approach again. I wondered whether that was only coincidence and didn’t get a good feeling about it being so.

It had bothered me from the second day that when Skipper-man announced his vessel, he never mentioned me or even said there were 5 aboard. In fact, he said he, his wife, and his children or said 4. Filiat appeared to be my last chance to tell someone I was worried and that opportunity was now gone.

We returned to the buoys by Mango Creek and tied up. We had snorkeled around the cow and calf so we were already salty. I didn’t know what else the day had in store, or what Skipper-man had planned for me, so I decided to swim for shore. To make it a game, I mentioned it to the boy and he mentioned it to his sister. They wanted to swim to shore too. We asked their mother and she said ok after asking if I felt confident it was safe. She watched us go and we made it easily. I was now free to announce my existence.

Sure enough, no one ashore knew I’d existed or that anyone else was on the boat. I was peeved and concerned but didn’t let it ruin my afternoon.

A little while later, the kids’ mother swam to shore too. I felt bad that we had not asked her to join us. Two days later, educated about her behaviors, my feelings about her changed.

We all showered there so we were clean and comfortable for the evening. I was so happy for the invitation to use that outdoor after-snorkeling spring water shower!

Sliding into the kitchen for a while, I met Delia, the cook, and asked her about the price of meals. With her, I tried to figure out if there was a way I could be a customer and not just a fee-loader, without having to pay for full meals for the entire boat family. At the first port I had found times to buy lunch and only had to share my meals with the boy. But how would I work it out here? Delia said she would speak with her boss, Patrice.

At one point later, I asked Patrice how much it would cost to rent a kayak for a while. They were not normally for rent to non-guests, but she said we could work something out in a way that gave me the feeling she was feeling my disconnect. I was still not fully worried about it, but I things were adding up.

We hung out at the restaurant as the owners and guests ate their dinner. After dinner they started to play a dice game, The family was watching a movie and clearly wanted family time these days so I asked if I might join the game. A few minutes later I was laughing and having a great time with good people and a new game. But I couldn’t help noticing the stares Coming from Skipper-man and wife.

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