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Update: Gone Sailing… Sort of

DATE: February 7th, 2014
LOCATION: Freeport, Bahamas

Once on the other side of the imposing iron fence I turned around to look at the security booth expecting someone to emerge with instructions. None did. It was no trouble though. Its not hard to find a fifteen story cruise ship hauled up on dry ground like Noah’s ark. In fact, I was thrilled. As I stood before the maze of sheet metal fabrication buildings and construction trailers I was like a kid who had discovered a new recess of his neighborhood forest. I was alone to find my way through this nautical wonderland of blow torches, fork lifts, cranes and scaffolding. A few minutes of exploring brought me to the dusty road the ran along the dry dock bays. There standing among the dock cranes and and mastheads like a majestic skyscraper from an Ayn Rand novel was my ship, the Navigator of the Seas. 1000 feet long, 125 feet wide, 230 feet tall and with a capacity for 5000 souls. She was her own Noah’s ark. Light blue on her bottom and brilliant creme white on her top sides. In the blazing Bahamian sun she was glistening like a golden calf.

The gangway to the top of the dry dock was far beyond what the ADA would approve of. They don’t get many wheel chairs down there though. I tightened the straps of my already secure pack, then using the wooden slats which had been fastened to the metal floor grating I climbed up the four story steel cavern. The dry dock walkway was a hike over cooling pipes, under a dock crane rolling down its tracks and past a man stick welding some metal contraption. Finally the gangway into the ship. I paused for a moment. Setting down my tool bag I turned to look at the expanse of the shipyard. Shipping containers were being hoisted high into the air, fork lifts raced along the wharf and a gargantuan drilling ship stood in the next dock down. Memories whirled around in my head. Dreams and prayers from many years past. A slight smile broke the plane of my stern work face as I saw the dots of my life connecting. Joy. Then I picked up my tool bag, walked across the gangway and stepped through the small hole in the ships side.

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Episode 27: From Galveston to Eternity Part 2

POSTED: July 19th, 2013
LOCATION: Galveston, TX
LOG DATE: May 20th, 2013

A year earlier I had sailed into Galveston looking for a new journal. I found the journal there but along the way something more important happened. I met a man named Mark Henry who was living alone on his boat and dying of cirrhosis of the liver. In the course of the few days I was there something started between us that I felt wasn’t finished by the time my stay came to an end. But left I did and assumed Mark passed away in the following months.

A year later circumstances allowed me to return to Galveston. I was finally leaving on my long delayed trip to Central America. I could wait in Galveston for a good weather window before tackling the part of the trip I was most worried about, crossing the Gulf of Mexico. But more importantly it felt like an opportunity to bring to a close what had started a year earlier with Mark. I thought about tracking down people who might have been with him in his last days, his manager at the bait shop, locals around the bayou or even his bedside nurse. Maybe I could find out what came of his old boat Seminole Wind and pay it a visit. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for in all of this or if it would even accomplish anything – it just seemed like something still needed to be done. However, all those ideas were instantly dropped once I sailed back up Offatts Bayou, for there was Mark, standing on a dock very much alive.

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