Captain Cool

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You know how the saying goes, there is that one person who will change your life. It’s usually said in romantic terms, but that’s not always the case. On the 5th of February 2015, the universe decided that the paths of Captain Cool (CC) and I were ready to cross.

I’m not going to lie, my heart dropped a little when the speedboat pulled up to the sailboat. I already knew the captain was Colombian which I liked because I could practice my basic Spanish. However, I was hoping for a captain a bit younger so I could have a good boat romance story for my friends. Anyway, I had wanted to sail since I was young so I decided it was probably best I wasn’t enamoured with the captain.

The islands were beautiful, the crew were so friendly and made an abundance of delicious food. Heaven after travelling for 4 months on a budget. We spent 3 days sailing around the islands which allowed me time to annoy the captain with endless questions about sailing and the sea. I quickly realised he knew everything about everything (I think is) cool. He showed us books about the various fish in the area, gave us an astronomy lesson on a beautiful clear night and was more than happy to answer all my questions, no matter how stupid. It quickly became a joke that whenever I opened my mouth, a series of questions was about to emerge. Luckily CC was more than happy to oblige and I later found out, rejuvenated by my passion for the sea and sailing.

Then we hit open water. Wow, this moment transformed my life. There are no words to describe what I felt inside, only that it was the most beautiful feeling I had never had before. I could think of nothing but how the boat danced over the high waves, the pattern of the waves as they approached and passed the boat, the way the sun glistened and sparkled on the sea. A sea with no land in sight!! I couldn’t believe it! I love adventure and I couldn’t help but think if something happened to us, it would take a really long time for help to arrive. This stirred up a realisation in my soul. We live and we die and how we live is up to us. I remember the moment clearly. I was sat in the bow alone thinking about life and watching the sea, watching the sails, looking up and all around. All around me was water and sky. Nothing else. I suddenly realised how insignificant we really are. Not in a bad way, just that the problems I thought I had really don’t matter.

At that moment, I decided like many other times in my life, I was going to fight for what I wanted. I wanted to stay on this boat. It took me a day to work up the courage, but I asked CC if I could stay on the boat and teach yoga and give massage to passengers while he taught me how to sail. His response? “Ok.” I said, “No, I’m serious.” He said, “Me too.” I didn’t believe him until all the passengers left in Cartagena and I was still there. He showed me which cabin was mine and a space to unpack my things. I couldn’t sleep for a week I was so happy and so grateful.

And so began our story. There are many parts to it which I’m sure will come out in this blog, but the most important for me is how much CC teaches me. About sailing, the lifestyle, freedom, Spanish, Colombian culture, how to love myself and how to free my soul. He is not only a teacher and mentor, but one of my soul mates. He doesn’t think he knows a lot, he knows a lot more than I do about this way of life and I try to absorb as much as I can. I am so grateful that life afforded me this opportunity and that I have the personality to grab it with both hands and run with it.

Perhaps the most memorable teaching moment was when I was learning knots. I was in the bow trying to remember what he taught me and failing miserably. I started swearing at the knot, throwing it down on the deck before picking it up to torture myself some more. With tears in my eyes, I looked back at the stern where he was watching me with amazement. I walked back and said, “I can’t do it! You’ve told me a hundred times how to do it and I can’t.” He calmly said, “If I have to show you a thousand times how to tie a knot, I have to show you a thousand times. What is the problem? There is no need to be angry about it.” Something clicked inside of me. He’s right. I don’t have patience for myself and that really hasn’t served me in life. I’m sure it will come as no surprise that shortly after this realisation, the bowline knot became my friend. Life lesson: The more you resist and fight, the less likely things are going to move. Accept how things are and things will eventually fall into place.

 

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