James brings me a holy mermaid. I mount her on the boat.
The big project of James’ visit is to hie it the 40 miles South West, across the wild and wistful ocean, to the mysterious Kerama Islands. Once there, we will dive with glee, camp, explore and got to the lavatory.
We get up. There is a very strong wind coming directly onshore. Hmm, maybe a bit freaky out on the wild and wistful ocean. We set off and make our way to the Iron Gate, which is the only way through the reef. The boat is behaving strangely. Big waves are crashing into the reef sending up plumes of purest white spray. I cannot steer. Why ? Because the rudder has come off. Why, how, I dunno? I manage to salvage the rudder before it wanders off but we are in a bad place, drifting towards a very abrasive reef onto which major ocean rollers are crashing. James takes down the sail and mans the oars. He rows us to safety. We limp back to base to reset the rudder.
Rudder fixed, we set off again to the Keramas 40 miles away. We batter through the Iron Gate and set a course into the wild and wistful. We hammer against big breaking waves. Are we downhearted? Yes.
It becomes very clear, very soon, that there is no way that we can reach the Keramas, given the strength of the wind and the anger of the sea. It is, by the way, a glorious day; blue sea, blue sky, bright sun, strong wind.
After an hour or so, we head home but there is no way through the Iron Gate as the tide is low, the reef exposed, and incensed ocean is smashing into the latter with wanton intensity. So,we stay outside the reef and make our way towards Shioya harbor a few kms upwind along the coast. Much tacking but the Scaffie revels in adversity. The entrance to the harbor is marked by a big red and a big green post, wisely placed in the ocean. We run between them and find ourselves inside the reef in calmer waters. Phwew. We scoot back across the lagoon as we think we can salvage this non Keramas failure by going diving off the cliffs of Cape Zampa.
Forget it. The waves are too high and we can only head for home. Once again the Scaffie behaves strangely. We look up to see that the mainsail has come away from the yard. Why? Dunno.
We manage to get back to the mooring. There is no buoy to show where it is. It has detached itself after two years of faithful service. Why? Dunno.
So, we spend 6 hours at sea and never get more than 2 miles from the house.
One wonders if the Mermaid is here to help. Superstition and sailing go together.