“That would make a great title for a book. Is your husband an experienced boater?” I sheepishly admitted we'd only just met, and that neither of us had any practical experience.
"Make sure you take lots of pictures, and keep detailed notes." Thanks in large part to her sage advice, you're able to enjoy this now.
"Don't you think one of us should fly down and check it out first?"
"No need, the Survey's great; and it's the best we can afford. Let's not push our luck."
Cap and I would gaze at the photos and consider where we might go; what we might do; how we might not only survive but thrive. We were resourceful; fearless, for the most part; and felt we had nothing to lose by trying. I knew little and cared less about boats except as a means to escape the depression and loneliness of the past years; so based on a few photos and faith in a document, we decided: we wanted King Tut.
We expected to try boating for a year to see if we liked it, without ever discussing what we'd do if we didn't. $20,000 would surely be enough to keep us afloat, and Cap said he could pick up work as a carpenter.
"What will I do?" Paint, he dreamily suggested, and Gauguin popped into mind. We still had the vehicles to sell, and planned on a formal auction for the things we could live without. In our bones we knew that neither of us could accomplish this feat alone and it became our strongest bond; which had to continue if we wanted this trip, and we did, very much.
Actual boating experience was incidental to our scheme. Cap had owned a party-boat on the Columbia River in Washington, and he was a certified Marine Engineer (thanks to military correspondence courses). A trawler would be easy to learn to drive, and Cap was confident he'd be able to handle most repairs; plus as a former chopper pilot he was comfortable with navigation. We'd be island-hopping after all, not crossing an ocean; at least once we got to the Bahamas.
My own experience was occasional family excursions along the 'Jersey Shore on my brother-in-law's racing boat, Volk's Wagon. I always got seasick, but I'd go anyway. Dad loved it. My parents didn't take us camping but rather to museums, plays, historical sights and the beach. Roughing-it meant using paper napkins, but Cap's upbringing in the mountains of California and Oregon taught him useful survival skills. We'd be fine.
Everything was dependent on a boat we hadn't seen, and as the reality sank in I began having second thoughts. I needed reassurance that I hadn't been played for a fool, so during a smoke break I gingerly voiced my apprehension about leaving together (without any real commitment remaining unspoken).
"Either of us can bail at any time," Cap said easily, leaning against a tree, field-stripping his cigarette.
I almost swallowed my own but my heart blocked my throat as I tried to form words. "Bail at any time? What are you saying?"
"Sure. What’s the big deal?”
My chest tightened and I wondered if Tino felt the same just before his heart attack. I returned to my desk like a zombie, and avoided Cap the rest of the afternoon. How could I be so stupid and trusting? What have I gotten myself into?
That evening, following, "What's wrong?" for the umpteenth time, I finally admitted my fear: abandoned on some island with a boat I couldn't possibly handle by myself. Cap laughed and explained he meant we could bail from our jobs at any time, rather than work 6 more weeks as planned. I didn't find it as funny, but despite my doubts I gave notice I'd be leaving the end of September.
|Portraits by Tino Jansen|
"Cowboy boots on a boat?"
"A work pair and one other, but I can't decide which." He owned around ten mostly exotic pairs, including python, ostrich, white snake, rattlesnake, alligator; all broken in. Despite my teasing I could understand his angst, for I was having the same dilemma with my high heels.