Stephen is a sailor. Loves boats of all sorts, loves being out on the water, preferably in a boat. He is as comfortable on a boat as he is on land. Me – well, not so much. Which largely has to do with my awareness of my own limitations – if I fall overboard, I will drown. That awareness tends to affect how one approaches a boat.
Stephen wanted to take me sailing in Costa Rica. I love water and love being out on the water, but had never been in a sailboat. So he hunted around till he found a company offering sailing excursions that was willing to take us on a private sail. Thursday morning found us down at the beach waiting for our ship to come in. Literally. Which it did. The sailboat was beautiful as it rounded the point, towing a small dinghy behind. When it got close enough to the beach, two crew members launched the dinghy and motored it into shore to pick us up. It was a bit awkward getting in, but I managed, and we rode out to the sailboat, where Stephen and the crew helped me clamber up the side.
I’ve hesitated to write this blog entry because I’m truly not sure how to write it. I am somewhat divided on how my day went. I don’t want to sound negative, because there were so many aspects of the day I loved. I absolutely loved being out on the water. I love the way a boat rocks gently – I’m sure there’s some technical term for it, but I’m not up on my technical boat terms, so “rocks gently” is going to have to do. In fact, I loved it so much, I drifted off to sleep for part of the cruise! The weather was beautiful, sunny, clear,and warm, and it was so pretty to see the sails above.
At one point I suddenly saw something leap out of the water. It looked flat and triangular, and the sun reflected off it. When I described it, Stephen and the captain said I had seen a manta ray jumping. They said later we must have gone through a feeding area because after that first one we all saw many of them leaping out of the water. That was cool. The captain hoped we’d see dolphins, but unfortunately we didn’t.
We were served lunch on the boat – delicious ham and cheese sandwiches accompanied by nacho chips with several kinds of dip – the tastiest being a tuna based one! Over lunch we learned that our captain almost had to cancel our excursion, as the previous day he had injured his hand and feared he wouldn’t be able to work. But since it was just the two of us, and he didn’t want to disappoint us, he brought along one extra crew person to essentially take his place. The captain was a fascinating man. He is Romanian, and referred to his departure from that country as an “escape”. He settled in Toronto and lived there for a number of years before retiring to Costa Rica. It sure says a lot about the country that so many people choose to live there over other more “developed” countries.
The one negative I have to mention, mainly because it coloured much of my day, was that I simply didn’t feel secure or comfortable aboard the sailboat. Stephen had warned me that sailboats tilt to one side or the other, but I wasn’t prepared for how pronounced that tilt was. It put me very off balance, and I was afraid to move around much while aboard. It blew my mind to see the crew trotting along the hull as if their feet had little suction cups that kept them from slipping off. And at one point near the end of the day Stephen moved over to sit on the hull where it was shaded. I would have loved to sit beside him, but I simply didn’t feel safe moving there. I was terrified I would slip off. I admit to being very envious of how “at home” Stephen was. Even moving from a seat on one side of the boat to a seat on the other side made me feel as if I was going to topple head first over the side. I should stress this was not sea-sickness. I know what motion sickness is all about, and this was not it. It was just my own insecurity.
I had gone into the day hoping to enjoy it and have fun, and overall I did. It was so soothing and relaxing to be out on the water. I think I would have enjoyed it more though had I felt more secure aboard the boat. Obviously I won’t let one experience turn me off sailing forever, and if I have another opportunity to be aboard a sailboat I’ll take it, but at this point I think I prefer boats that don’t tilt quite so much….
The next day – we had to head for home, bringing many wonderful memories of our experiences, and eagerly looking forward to the next trip we take together, wherever it may be.