March 20th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
What we posted on the notice-board

Our decision was (once breakfast was over) to go to the clubhouse, check with Cliff that he could + would take us along, + then give Lesley… well, not quite an ultimatum, but close.  Either say for definite that you want us aboard, or we go to Jamaica with Cliff.  Unfortunately, we ran into Lesley too early, on the road, before we’d either seen Cliff or prepared our script – every actor likes to have the script pat – so we said nothing.  Or, to be more accurate, hi.

However, we arrived at the club, + happening to glance at the noticeboard, saw a post-script at the bottom of our note, telling us to call round to see “Simons” at boat “Crusader”.  Quite amazing – the note had been purely a shot in the dark, + without any hope of success.  Naturally, we shot straight around, + found Mr Simons… Dave… with grease on his hands, working on his engine.  Anyway, he washed his hands, + invited us down to the cabin, where we were introduced to Monica, his wife.  He is a retired US army colonel, going off to Tahiti in about 20 days, + in about an hour’s conversation he moved from thinking the idea over to more or less signing us on.  We were absolutely over the moon – just unbelievable.  Dave + Monica are both really nice.  They’re most definitely incredibly generous.  While we were talking lunch + cokes appeared, later it was beer, wine.  Dave also drove is over to the hotel to pick up our gear.  He was arranging to have us boat-sit for a friend of his, but in the meantime was putting us up.  And terms arranged for the trip were $3 a day – for the both of us!  That doesn’t even cover booze, let along food.  We spent a great deal of time talking – Dave does talk a great deal – + then in the afternoon we started work, just tidying up the deck + then sorting out Dave’s tool box – hardly strenuous stuff.

In the evening, they had been invited out to dinner, so were left an open invitation to the booze, plus a huge steak each, frying away with mushrooms + onions.  And we settled down to watch a movie on TV – in English.  “Guns of the Magnificent 7”.  Such an amazing change from the beginning of the day.  We had to pinch ourselves, several times.

What a difference a day makes.  Yesterday, we had been desperate, to the point of scratching around for money, going into debt, just to find any boat; and one day later, all is well.  A boat heading in the right direction, and with a generous pair of hosts.

I remain a little puzzled by our note.  I am pretty sure this is the actual thing, not a later facsimile, and yet there is no reply.  If it had indeed been scrawled at the bottom, we must have torn it off.  Ah well – a small mystery.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    Isn’t that how it happens? One day, no plan, or a plan not to your liking, and the next, an opportunity you could never have dreamed would come your way! I was in Essaouira, Morocco in 1972, (just about 50 years ago!), and went out to the campground because I’d heard someone out there made very good hash brownies. In the “high fog,” an Englishman came over, joined the party, and when we told him we were going to Marrakech the next day, he offered us a ride in his Fiat camper. By the time we got to Marrakech, we’d decided to continue on with him, into the Moroccan desert. Eight days later, he and I were “in love.” He left for Italy, where he lived, and we continued on across North Africa. When I got to Cairo (by then, my traveling companion had returned to her home in Canada), I had three letters and a telegram, inviting me to come to Italy to be with him. I went, and when the relationship fizzled (nothing can beat the Moroccan desert for romance), I bought a VW and traveled for six months in the Middle East. That’s another story. But the campground in Essaouira ended up, strangely, taking me not just to Marrakech but all through the Middle East. True serendipity. Makes me believe in Fate.

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