There were three of them. I saw them distinctly: one round white beard, one gaunt shaven face and a smiling innocent. I don’t know very much of the Spanish language. But we laughed and they mentioned Sr. Hemingway and the pescaderio grande.
In the morning they were gone. I stirred the coals and looked out at my boat. I knew I had to head back, but the wind was wrong, and the current too fast. My only recourse was to try to make landfall in the Bahamas.
I swam aboard, lifted anchor and headed north. I was almost out of gas. The rooster tablecloth sail, (haha) helped and I went as much to the north as I could, until the waves started to build and I turned east and rode the crests and troughs. It was an exhilarating feeling, knowing that if a wave broke and washed over my little johnboat, I’d be swimming alone. I dozed with the tiller under my left arm.
Those fishermen must have given me a powerful sedative because when I awoke, I was washing upon a white sand beach in calm, crystal blue water. A young man approached and helped me beach the boat. He smiled and didn’t say anything.
I said, “You want the boat?” He looked quizzical. I said, “No, take it,” and I started up the beach toward the only building I could see. It was on the edge of a small landing strip so I propped myself against the building and waited. Eventually, a Piper four-seater taxied up. (It was six hours to give you some perspective) I got up and stuck out my thumb.
The pilot had some business to do, but when he came back we flew to Miami. That’s the short story. So much happened that I have left out. I hitchhiked over to Sarasota, picked up my car and headed home for West Virginia, my wonderful retreat from adventure. I am home, warm and comfortable, writing, listening to Pink Floyd and there is nowhere else I would rather be.
Feel like an adventure? Go for it. Know you can come back.
– Larry Berger. LBSPY #76. April 2016.