July 3, 2014 - July 12, 2014
Tyler and I taking a dinghy ride from Mystique (in background) to Soldier Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas. We are separated by 36 years and about 1500 miles, but we have never been closer. Our 300-mile sail from Stuart, Florida to the Berry Islands, Bahamas and back aboard proved special on many levels.
It was the first time in 28 years the two of us have sailed together.... just the two of us by ourselves! That, we both agreed, in itself was pretty "cool" as a uncommon expedition and experience for most fathers and sons. But just because our trip was rare didn't make it real. What made it powerful and special were a number of factors all coming together during our time together.
Tyler on the trampoline and the TRX
Sunfish sails on the foredeck
- 9 full days together alone
- had mostly favorable weather conditions
- were always surrounded by nature's beauty
- were removed from civilization
- had no electronic services or interruptions
- lived within a confined space:
- 40' by 22'
- needed to be self-sufficient
- survived without any outside marine services
- mostly relied on our sails, wind and current
- sailed a variety of sea and wind conditions
- both experienced a few physical/emotional challenges
- had some equipment breakage and loss
- experienced some surprises and scares
- During our time together we sailed, motored and anchored in calm and rough seas.
- We also had some awe-inspiring moments.
Tyler may appear much taller on the high side of the beach.
- On July 4th we watched behind us as a huge western horizon displayed nuclear-sized thunderstorm clouds, lightning bursts and human fireworks over Florida's eastern coastas we sailed eastward at 8-10 knots towards Grand Bahama.
- We anchored away from any shore lights at night under a full moon after 12 hours of sailing.
- We talked for hours about serious and mundane topics. We recalled fond memories (previous sails and visits), rehashed some past shit (divorce and its impact), discussed some future prospects (his new job when he returned to Denver, our new home base in Florida and our next sailing experience - Exumas!?) but mostly we simply enjoyed our togetherness.
- He occasionally called me "old man" while I listened to his occasional rap lyrics.
- We kidded each other about almost everything, laughed and cried as well. He often challenged my experience while I chuckled at his "relearning the ropes and lines".
- When a westerly squall with 30-knots winds caught us off guard, we even shouted at each other for a couple of minutes. He became concerned lightning would strike me while I was securing lines and sheets on the foredeck. While I needed his help securing our sails, he was too freaked out by the weather blast that he went below.
- Searching for a winch handle that slipped from his hand, we snorkeled side by side until a surprise encounter with bull shark. After that, we stayed out of the water for a while.
- For the first time in his life, Tyler read two complete novels. When I offered him a little more cerebral novel, he obliged me by reading its first two pages.
- Though he mostly made a mess of the galley while I mostly cleaned up. We cooked, drank and ate like kings until the food ran out.
- We slept whenever we felt like it with or without trimmed sails and took turns at the helm with and without Auto on.
My previous blog posts regarding my sailing experiences with my son:
In the Grenadines - 2012
Our physical distance and age aren't obstacles. We have discovered how to bridge those once-perceived gaps. Letting go of past disappointments, accepting change as part of life and living in the present have helped. Accepting and appreciating each other for who we are is what has also kept us close.
We love our precious time together because we love each other like father and son.