Once upon a time, a long long time ago. Way before I was a writer. When I was still young and naive. Oh bless that gloriously ignorant frame of mind. I sailed from Curaçao to Bonaire.
I didn’t do so alone, of course. I wasn’t that courageous. But truth be said: I was a different me. I did undertake that kind of thing. Like: buy a one way ticket to the Caribbean and once there, look for a job. Scuba dive. Sail. I could hold my liquor as if I were one of the guys. I saw sunrises on desolate and unforgiving parts of the island, where we slept in hammocks. There were no cel-phones. No charter airplanes. No cafe lattes or internet, let alone the two combined. The Caribbean was a place of dreams yet to come true.
So I sailed, from Curaçao to Bonaire. You’d think life couldn’t be more perfect. But honesty has me saying: within the first half hour of us setting sail, I became seasick. And I mean seriously seasick. There was a pharmacist on board who gave me ‘a little something.’ I took two of whatever that little something – you were only supposed to take one of – was. As I had taken them too late, I ended up not only being sick, but stoned as well. I hallucinated on seeing the sun set as we arrived in Bonaire. Pharmacist, you might wonder? The pharmacist was gay.
How do I explain this? The captain was a former marine. He was 60. He and his wife were my surrogate parents on the island. Their son was gay, his boyfriend was the pharmacist. We were a hysterical bunch. The 60 year old former marine had trusted on his navigation skills (no GPS then either) and we almost sailed right past Bonaire because according to his calculations: it couldn’t have possibly been Bonaire. This is when his wife decided to take over and steer the ship straight into the harbour of what our bare eyes could plainly see was Bonaire. Except for me, as I was still hallucinating.
I can’t remember where I slept. Probably in the exact same place there is a picture of: me on the deck, with my hand clutching some rope, my eyes closed.
The next day, we set anchor next to a smaller and deserted island right off the coast of Bonaire. We went snorkeling and scuba diving. I had never seen such clear water in my life before. We didn’t even have to snorkel to see the fish.
I am now in Bonaire, with my man and son. There can be no better company. And we’re in one of the most beautiful resorts you could ever imagine. The type of resort you’d dream of one day staying in, especially while on some prehistoric boat that moans and sighs and leaks. We ate potato chips and crackers. We peed and pooped by dangling our asses overboard. We slept in the very salt we swam in, that dried our skin and tangled our hair.
I sit on a beach chair, order a cappuccino while the rest of the middle-aged guests here down bottles of wine out of undeniable boredom. And I think about how once upon a time: I sailed to Bonaire.