All I wanted for Christmas was NOT to be in the boatyard marina. Once my hard fought groceries were put away I decided to take Swell down to Thierry and Lili’s house, where I’d be invited for Christmas Eve dinner. There was a nice sandy patch to anchor just out in front. Despite that there were still a few loose ends to tie up on Swell, I warmed up the engine, dropped off the docklines, and headed out of the marina.
I tried to ignore the bad sound coming from the engine, thinking maybe this was how it would sound with the new motor mounts. As I passed the marina jetty, I pulled off the stairs an unveiled what I had desperately hoped was NOT the case…the alignment of the shaft that goes from the transmission to the v-drive was too high. The mechanic who had installed the new motor mounts hadn’t properly tested it. I had just assumed that he certainly knew more than me about it, but whatever the case, a little plume of smoke came wafting up from the place where the shaft rubbed on the entry to the v-drive. UGH!!!
My gut told me to turn immediately around, but I didn’t want to go back to that boring marina! So I stubbornly hoisted the sails and drifted silently in the breath of breeze the 3 miles to Thierry and Lili’s house, dropping the anchor as darkness fell.
“The weather looks fine and surely I’ll be okay for a few nights here,” I thought.
And so it was off to a colorful Christmas Eve dinner with an array of characters and cultures that spanned the globe: Lili is Tahitian, Thierry from Morocco, Diego and Akim were raised on Theirry’s boats all over the world, Fanny and Claude and Aleine are French, and Cesar, Brazilian. Thus the night included everything from fois gras to oysters to carpaccio to passionfruit rum drinks and sushi and fei and coconut cabbage salad and baguettes and chocolate mousse. Plus, the French have a different bottle of wine that’s compulsory with every course, so after the umpteenth bottle, I was obligated to try the sweet riesling and then of course the champagne!?? I arrived back to Swell bloated and spinning and ready for a bottle of water and my pillow. But no sooner did I set foot aboard than did a breeze begin to puff out of the northeast…the worst direction for that particular anchorage. It was quarter to four in the morning and out of nowhere, a bloody squall was upon us?! Maitai Noera to me? I raced about securing loose items on deck and quivering as the lightning struck and thunder cracked through the dark night. So much for a peaceful few days out of the marina…I finally got sleep around 5am and then woke shortly after to my phone ringing. The second time I got up and looked at the clock. It was 7:30am. I groggily answered, “Hello?”
“It’s Jesse. Hey I’m here, at the airport. Can you come get me?” I’d known there was a chance my friend Jesse would be passing through again, but he hadn’t been quite sure when…