“We need to go back and grab four life jackets.” I said, as we pulled away from Sonrisa in the dinghy to go pickup my precious little sister and her chum from the airport.
“No, you don’t need lifejackets in a dinghy. No one wears life jackets in the dinghy.” Andrew replies. So, we head out across the bay, hugging the shoreline. It was a calm morning, beautiful and sunny. I drive on the way over to the airport, so I can start getting the hang of driving the dinghy, too.
“Hey, is that the coast guard?” I looked across the bay and saw a Coast Guard boat pulling over another cabin cruiser.
“No, that’s just SeaTow,” Andrew replies. I look on, uncertain. We are going to get in trouble for not having our lifejackets. I just know it.
We carry on, gather our passengers and head back for the return trip.
As the Coast Guard pulls along side of us, I grumbled a First Mate Grumble: “I told you so….” and the college students snapchat their experience. The Coast Guard was very nice, and explained that they are just concerned for our safety. They followed us over to a nearby dock, and all four of us piled out of Grin (that is the dinghy’s name) to walk a back to Sonrisa. I nagged the Captain all the way back to Sonrisa as any good First Mate would do. Lucky guy.
The party was scheduled to start at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, but by 4:00 p.m. on Friday our closest family and friends were already gathered at the pool in a festive spirit.
On Saturday, even more people joined the festivities. We procured more kegs, chips and salsa and oreos. I tried to order sandwiches from Subway, but they wouldn’t do a party platter without a day’s advance notice. I should have known that. I fretted about the fact that we did not have proper party food, but the prospect of driving around to grocery stores and ordering meat trays last minute seemed like too much. So, each man was left to his own devices.
Much like the Catch-You-Later-Vegas-Party, I never felt like I had enough time with any one person. Again, I was overwhelmed with how much fun these people are. I have such a great group of people in my life. We all talked and laughed about old times, caught up on what is new, and dreamed about what we are all doing over the next few years. My heart is warm and happy again.
My lovely right hand woman extraordinaire and her husband are both from Hawaii, so they are people of the sea. Upon seeing them, they both gave me a big hug and wrapped the most beautiful flower lei around my neck. The flowers gave the sweetest perfume I have ever smelled, and each time someone gave me a hug, the flowers were crushed just enough for me to smell them again. Once upon Sonrisa, Adrian tore lengths of banana leaves, tied them together and secured them to Sonrisa's bow for good luck.
Some people brought the most thoughtful gifts. A washboard bag for my laundry (one of the things I never got around to buying!) buffs (a headband/neck warmer/hat-thingy of awesomeness) sunblock (very necessary), wine (also very necessary), movies, music, and headlamps for hands free lighting, including two with very good joo-joo already built in from prior years of offshore sailing.
Silicone, bailing wire and Hurricane strength duct tape, “because if it can’t be fixed with duct tape, bailing wire, and silicone you are….in trouble.” A beautiful, leather bound journal for my log book, and almost every Jimmy Buffet album ever made.
We are clearly well prepared now.
Sunday, February 28, 2106 arrived. We all gathered at the boat around 10:30 a.m. I was so nervous, I felt like everything was happening in a blur. I’m pretty sure I made no sense for most of the morning. My dad gave a toast that made everyone cry. My dad always gives the best toasts, at which everyone cries.
We offered champagne and rum (Sailor Jerry, of course!) to Neptune.
Hugs all around, and then “kick the tires and light the fires, Boss!” We started Sonrisa’s engine and prepared for castoff. As I back out, our neighbors to the rear are also sitting on their deck photographing our grand event. “Hi Guys! Bye!!!” I take a quick photo of everyone at the dock, give them a wave and then pull away.
We pause at the customs dock to see if we need to check out of the country (we don’t). Then, we put up our sails and sail out of the harbor. In the meantime, our friends and family walked to the end of the island to see us off from shore. In unison, they all shout:
Our sails fill with 10-15 knots from the Northwest and we sail straight out of the bay. Our dock neighbors and friends, Mike and Nancie follow us out of the bay in their dinghy.