“Melekalikimaka is the thiiiiiiing to saaaaaaaay, on a bright Hawaiian Christmas day…” Jimmy Buffett’s voice was carried off into the gusty NE winds. It was a longstanding tradition in the Clark household on Christmas, that the Jimmy Buffett Christmas album was played over and over until we all hated every song enough not to want to hear it again for another year (excluding my father, who delights when we all cringe as the first song comes on again). But despite Jimmy’s cheer, the weather was not getting any better. The fetch from the NE winds across the many miles of lagoon was making for some hefty wind chop and a nervous, engineless captain with shallow reef just a few yards behind Swell. So, after recuperating Jesse from the airport in my champagne head-cloud haze, we hoisted the sails and tacked off the anchor and away from the reef.
Rain pelted down. Wind rushed past our faces. Swell heeled into the gusts and seemed happy to be sailing again. It took about 6 tacks, back and forth between the reef, to make it the few miles back to the boatyard. “Ho Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum…Santa’s run off to the Carribean…” sung Jimmy through my new cockpit speakers. We’d heard the album 5 times at least before we made it safely to the dock again. By that time Jesse wanted to kill me if we played it again, so that was that…I was pleased that I’d rightly upheld the family tradition, so we switched it up and prepared to host my friend Caesar for Christmas dinner aboard Swell.