Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Memorable Cruise, part 8


To Ibiza

There was hardly any wind. Therefore it was the engine's turn again. Guess what? What little wind there was came from ahead! We were soon to discover a marked contrast between conditions at San Telmo and those as sea. When at anchor we had experienced peace, calm and light, but at sea, there was noise from the engine, the most awful rolling, and darkness after sundown. No longer was there warmth and colour; instead it was a cold, utterly black night with not a star to be seen. The situation was uncomfortable - in fact diabolical. All we could do was to hold on, to avoid being flung about the cockpit. Ahead, there was absolutely nothing, while astern there was the almost imperceptible glimmer of the fading lights of Mallorca. The Autohelm was steering, and in Gordon's own words, we were suffering the most memorable boredom we would want to forget! He even stated the unforgivable sin of the sailor, i.e., he would give up sailing!

I didn't want him to be unhappy, and I felt partly responsible for his boredom, as I knew he was a man who loved stimuli and I wasn’t providing any. I could not fill the gap by engaging him in meaningful conversation. Instead, I found my memory failing as I struggled to remember the names of novelists, poets, artists and their works. Even when it came to the Fine Arts: painting, drawing and sculpture, my specialist subjects, I found myself lacking. Who were my favourite artists, poets and composers? That night, my mind was pulp.

I so much wanted to please. I wanted to share. I wasn’t seeking happiness. I was looking for meaning and purpose. I wanted to be of worth, not merely a useful crewmate. The moment was important. How could our minds meet? Yes, I had Jesus, which makes all things worthwhile, but just then, sailing a boat from ‘A’ to ‘B’ lacked any real purpose, other than misplaced hedonism, which was giving no pleasure to either of us. But, there was the Bible. We did have something in common, for Gordon was able to quote chunks of it, and even I could remember verses I had committed to memory. Our quotes of biblical texts that night brought us the closest we came to a meeting of minds and hearts. I found it strange that I could remember verses, yet all other things were mush.

I shall never forget that diabolical night when Gordon said he believed ‘the prince of the power of the air’* was at work, but as far as I was concerned, the prince with a small ‘p’, made no inroads on Gordon and me.

* Ephesians 2:2

Cala Portinatx

At Ibiza

At 0725 on Tuesday, 16th June, we anchored at Cala Portinatx where there were eighteen other yachts. I was awestruck by the wide variety of rocks that had undoubtedly been formed by volcanic action. That afternoon I rowed ashore and examined them more closely. They had been shaped, not only by geological forces, but by erosion brought about by the wind and sea. Parts of the Island were like a fantasy filmset portraying a strange and distant planet. The sculptures of Henry Moore were impotent and feeble by comparison. I regretted not taking my camera for making a lasting record of those wonderful and weird formations.

As the evening sun kissed the horizon and the sky looked like pink roses, Gordon and I sat at a restaurant table overlooking the cala. He suggested the scene lent itself to being rendered in watercolour - because of the atmospheric fading of hues and tones. I turned my head to see the sunset, and by doing so I cricked my neck. (The pain stayed with me for several days.) My choice from the menu was a mixed grill, but the amount served was so vast, there was no way I could consume the lot! Gordon found the solution by feeding gulls that had stationed themselves on the rocks below, each having his own territory. An emaciated cat also became a beneficiary, but not content with morsels from above, he stalked his feathery competitors to supplement his diet. Time was of no importance as we indulged ourselves eating and sipping mellow wine. Tasty Knickerbocker Glories and flavour-rich coffee completed our repast. We relaxed among other diners, chatting and musing, being a part to the whole, while observing comings and goings.

Our return to ‘Secant’ was not without hilarity, because as Gordon tried stepping into the dinghy he fell headlong into it. He regained his footing, and on his second attempt, successfully entered the dinghy. Could the wine have flowed a little too freely? He rowed vigorously, and I sat too far forward, causing water to come over the bow, which soaked the seat of my pants! Fortunately we found our yacht and managed to board her without further incident.

The next day we moved to Cala Moli on the west side of Ibiza. There, the water was wonderfully clean, which was an invitation for us both to swim.

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