It all seemed so long ago. The divorce was finalized one day and, the next, I was sailing a yacht across a sea towards a new life. Last Laugh and I were alone on the waves with only the wind and tide as our guides.
It’s funny how time appears differently when you’re at the other end of a story within your own life. Chapters pass without effort and suddenly it’s over. All that’s left to do is to put it on the shelf and go to bed.
It’s a new day today and I can’t remember it clearly. There are fleeting images of that seafaring life, a word or two, but nothing I can grasp and take a hold of. It’s as though that part of my life never really happened. It feels like a dream to me.
My twenty-seven foot Roberts was self-contained. I could take a trip anywhere I wanted to for extended periods without having to go ashore. The living quarters had everything I needed. There was one thing I didn’t bring with me though – the skills to sail a yacht. I’d never sailed before.
That’s not entirely right. A friend of mine had a small trailer-sailor and we did sail it, one time, on a calm day. He let me take the helm for a while so he could snooze on the journey across the bay. That was my training run. I had forty minutes at the tiller on a boat that was on one tack and then I went and bought a yacht. (I had to learn fast.)
I didn’t buy it because of that single experience, no, a part of my life was coming to an end and I wanted a totally new start. The idea to live on a yacht wasn’t new. I’d thought about it many times. I liked the idea of freedom. It was my way of detaching from everything and everyone and letting nature take its course. With the marriage over, I could do anything… and I did.
Before you, my dear reader, start to believe that the sun, surf, sand and wind in your hair is the epitome of freedom, nature has its own laws. A yacht is a dangerous place when the conditions are right. Nothing remains still. If it’s not stowed of tied down, everything moves and is at the mercy of a constantly changing liquid. The weather can change that liquid fast, bending and reshaping its surface, sometimes for days on end. The golden sunset postcard lifestyle is there too but there are trade-offs for that kind of shiny. Blinding rain squalls, rogue waves and howling winds is the price paid to have its glory. It’s not all glamour living on the sea. After five years of paradise and hell, I’d had enough of it.
I sold Last Laugh to someone else who wanted to enjoy the Moreton Bay sailing dream and then I moved west with my new partner. There’s not much sailing being done now, in fact, there’s none being done at all. We bought a small motorboat instead.
I miss Moreton Bay. I miss sailing.
What happened to those days? Where did yesterday’s ocean go?
It went into the new novel I wrote.
Five women’s bodies are discovered after the nights of thunderstorms. Their spouses are suspected of the crimes, but it becomes clear that someone else is responsible. There’s no blood and few clues. A storm photographer who specializes in taking pictures of lightning may be the only witness.
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