We’ve seen it before. They are scattered all over the world’s forgotten, lost, outback places. It’s usually someplace hot and seldom visited, almost like they just forgot to leave or couldn’t, but you know there’s an interesting story hiding there. It’ll cost you a beer or two, but it’s always worth it. In Central America it’s liable to be ex-NSA or CIA assassin types. In French Polynesia it’s Gauloise-smoking, Pernod-drinking, four-day beard with the last couple of meals dribbled down his flowered shirt, unofficial “tour guide” types. Every anchorage we’ve ever been in has at least one boat looking more like a barely floating flea market than a yacht ready to cruise the oceans.
Entering the tricky pass into the lagoon at Lady Musgrave Island I noticed a small faded red sloop tucked up close to the reef. They always have the choicest spots in an anchorage because they stay so long they take over the best spot as other yachts move on. The decks were piled high with “spares” but this boat had a more purposeful nautical look to it. I noticed that as the occupant moved around inside the little boat would list one way then another. It didn’t take long before a dreadlocked head appeared looking out of their companionway and up popped a well-muscled skipper barely covered with half a flowered sarong, sunned to a deep nut brown.
For the next few hours he never stopped, methodically walking here and there while manually working a piece of line or some such thing. They say his name is ” Shipwreck” and he sports a metal shackle in each ear. He never stopped, never rushed, always took his time. The next day, as I passed by the little red sloop in the dink, up popped a beautiful, very thin woman with long black hair, sunned to that same dark nut brown but she seemed to favor tiny mixed bikinis, or a micro mini skirt just short of the “fine china”. We don’t judge. Some sort of project commenced out in the cockpit for the happy couple. I never saw them talk to each other. I mean, out on the water you can hear a whisper at 300 meters!
Every afternoon they silently assembled large duffle bags full of snorkeling and fishing gear from the bowels of the little red sloop, causing it to rock humorously, loaded them into incredibly narrow kayaks and paddled off in different directions. I assume they were gathering dinner on the reef. It’s a life.
This morning I noticed the usual level of activity in the little red sloop had increased. It’s a sure sign someone is moving on and sure enough they sailed away from their anchor, tacked right past us and out the pass. I’m going to miss that little red sloop.
Fair winds, Shipwreck.