Monday, October 10, 2011

Fathoms below

Those of you who know me well know that when I was a child I wanted to be a pirate.  Now, as an adult of very nearly 30 I still want to be a pirate when I grow up.  I love pirates, I loved pirates before it was the popular thing to love pirates.  Want proof?

That is my little brother and me, I am guessing halloweenish due to the pumpkins.  I think we look about 7-8 and 9-10 which would make sense, I had a pirate birthday party when I turned 11, it was a huge hit. Wonderful memories those.... 

Anyhow - I think I have established, I love pirates. Though if I am being entirely honest I think the real truth is, I love pirate ships...or perhaps I just love ships in general. 

Twice when I was a child I had the privileged of living on a ship. Ok, a boat. It only fit about 10 of us.  I think I was between the ages of 9 and 11 - so right in the same time-frame as this pictures and my pirate party.  No doubt we pretended to be pirates while on the boat, who wouldn't!

I think I can say with confidence that my time on the boat(s) is one of my very favorite childhood memories.  I can remember it very vividly.

It started in the evening, we left for the dock.  My best friend's dad had his sailing license and so we rented a sail boat from his club.  I think if I focused on it long enough I could even remember Her name.  There were six of us kids and 3 dads, one friend was sadly sick so she was missing at least one of these trips. It is different going places with dads verses moms. Moms make sure you are clean, fed, go to bed on time and don't get to close to the edge. Dads? Dads make sure you stay alive - which honestly is the most important anyhow right? I know we went twice, but I can't differentiate one trip from the other, they are all squeezed together in my head. But I remember vividly sitting on the front of the boat late one night with two of my friends. we were the dare-devils of our motley crew, if there was trouble to be found it was almost always started, carried out and finished by one or all three of us. The wiser of our group of kids had gone to bed - no grown-ups were around and all three of us found a perch at the very front of the boat.  I am sure the dads were keeping an eye on us, but we weren't aware of it so it truly felt like we were alone.

Have you ever been on a boat? One big enough to slice the water but not so large you are miles from it. I am not really a fan of the movie Titanic, a little too touchy/feely for me, not really my style. And cliche as it might be, remember his "top of the world" moment? Well I, my friends, have been there. Sitting on the front, as we were, we got whipped up as the boat moved foreword, and splashed by icy spray every time the boat lunged down. It felt like we were flying.   

I can't remember conversation, perhaps it was there or perhaps the three of us understood that it wasn't needed.  But all of a sudden we were not alone.  There was something that looked almost glowing in the water.  We were being raced.  A dolphin cut through the water next to us, I remember laughing with joy, my hands were ice cold holding onto a wire rope connected to the deck.  We watched the dolphin enraptured until suddenly one of us (I can't remember who) yelled "There is another one!" In all, four dolphins raced us that night. It literally looked like their bodies were glowing, I don't know if it was a reflection off the boats light or if it was just them.  But I wont ever forget it.

We got to see more dolphins later in the trip during the day, a whole pod of them. We also got to see seals, cormorants, flying fish and tons and tons of seagulls (hold a cracker up in your hand and they will take it from you mid-flight). We were free from mothers' picking, we didn't take showers, go to bed on time or dress warmly enough.  We swam in the ocean, got sunburned and ate and slept whenever we felt like it. It was heavenly.

A few years ago I went yard-sailing - not the same as real sailing, but still fun.  I found this painting and bought it for $5.  

It is hard to see the detail in my terrible photo of it, the light must be bad in the room.  But it is very detailed, beautiful and obviously hand painted. I can't imagine someone wanting to part with it, much less for $5. There is a signature on it, all I can really tell is it starts with a B.  See?

Perhaps someday I will discover who painted my picture.  For now it rests above my bed, perhaps giving me lovely dreams of being a pirate on a ship - but for sure reminding me of those wonderful memories.

Oh goodness, a little monkey is awake, so I must make a premature exit.

So for now, may you all have lovely dreams of pirate's, racing dolphins and 4 lovely days aboard ship.


  1. Oh to have had a childhood like yours.

  2. What a lovely remembrance, Sarah. And I love your painting, too.

    I share a long time love of boats and the sea.


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