Marinas, Docks, and Yards

If those boats could talk, what stories would they share?

 

LaGomera, Canary islands, Spain
LaGomera, Canary Islands, Spain

Marinas, docks, and boatyards have always fascinated me. They are the start
and hopefully end of all sea voyage. All sizes, shapes, and material are used to make floating devices, more or less seaworthy, but with the same hope to travel the seas.

By meeting people in different marinas in different corners of the world, I come to realize there are several types of so-called sailors. Some people enjoy working on boats while others prefer sailing boats. There is nothing wrong with neither of those choices as long as you don’t expect the first one to leave the dock and the other to perform extensive maintenance.

Las Palmas, Canary Island, Spain
Las Palmas, Canary Island, Spain

Wherever it is, docks and boatyards are filled with mostly men of all ages, from the extravert dreamer, seasoned sailors, young family on a sabbatical, the project slave who’s always getting his boat ready or the fearless and oblivious newbie who knows it all, for sure an interesting microcosm often bathing in alcohol as the sun goes down.

GCSM, Florida, USA
GCSM, Florida, USA

In the middle of it all, I am too, part of that world. In the past 20 years, I certainly spent some time in those places and, I sometimes wonder: “if only those hulls could talk… what stories would they share?” Hulls on the hard waiting for next sailing season or to be sold and start a new journey. Barely floating green hulls left to the elements or to sink if the bilge pump ever fails or a hurricane comes by. Floating apartment for elderly (penniless) war vets, occasional divorcee left with his fiberglass mistress. Shiny ones who never leave the harbor but are vigorously scrubbed every weekend.

As the tides swing in and out, boats come and go in a ballet of farewell and welcome. New faces arriving that might turn into friends before they leave unless I go first. Goodbyes are never easy so you convince yourself you’ll see each other again somewhere.

So, how do you know you are ready to go…?

Catch my answer in my next post soon. Subscribe by email.

Travel lift, St Davids, Grenada
Travel lift, St Davids, Grenada

“Are You Rex?”, I Candidly Ask.

This article is about an inspiring guy I met in Australia who taught me more than fishing…

Rex Alexander Bay boat450As Michelle drives her dad’s old Toyota Coaster across the Nullarbor, taking Rex to his final resting place, old memories are flooding back.

It’s early March when I find myself in Alexander Bay, Western Australia. From the campsite, a path leads to a 9 mile wide open bay. The Easterly wind gently shuffles the green coastal heath. My toes sink into the purest white sand I have ever seen, while my eyes wander between emerald patches and the deep blue of the Southern Ocean. Breathing deeply, the ocean breeze fills my lungs, true serenity.

AlexBay
Alexander Bay, Western Australia

 

On my right, there’s a gathering on the rocks, people are having a lively chat about fishing gear and fish size. Standing tall amongst them, a slim, older bloke, wearing “sunnies” and the iconic Akubra hat, holds his catch of the day.

Rex big fish Alexander Bay450
Rex and the Pink Snapper.

“Are you Rex?”, I candidly ask.

Everyone looks at me, the fisherman turns, surprised, “Are you looking for Rex?”

“I met a Swiss couple by a telephone booth in Esperance”, I answer. “Their enticing description of Alexander Bay brought me here,” “a secluded campsite, a white sandy beach with a couple of people fishing and living the life. A gem, few know about.” They added, “if you come across Rex, say hi from Franck and Carole.”

Here I am, taking a chance by asking the man with the big fish.

Is it intuition or sheer luck? I had just met Rex, the keen fisherman.

The fish of the day, a 2.5’ Pink Snapper is now cut and shared between all. Acknowledging my curiosity, Rex offers to take me fishing. I had never fished before so I accept. After lunch, we board his 10’ inflatable dinghy. One hour later, and a bucket full of herring, we store the boat for the night. Time to learn how to fillet fish.

Manu bonitos Alexander Bay450
2 Bonitos, nice catch.

During the following days, Rex teaches me about fishing tackles, rods, and reels. Cast, reel in, repeat, sometimes fight and land a fish. We have fun, laugh, talk, open up, and develop a lasting friendship.

By coming here, not only I have discovered a spectacular place, I also met an inspiring man who introduced me to angling, a thrilling and skillful activity. Whether trolling, bottom fishing, or casting off the beach, within 2 weeks, I caught 10 different species.

But, most importantly, Rex allowed me to experience the ability to address one of our most basic needs, feeding oneself. There is something organic, an overwhelming joy in hooking and sharing your catch. A unique feeling I will be forever grateful to him for.

fisnNsquid
Freshly caught squid and fish.

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