Finding Nemo and Strawberry Fieldspublished: 2009-12-18
The captain of the sailing yacht wasn’t your typical sailor kind of person. He adhered to a more pragmatic approach in life. He and his wife had been some family’s butler and nanny and it had been time for something new. They saw this yacht online and bought it without giving the whole thing too much of a thought. They moved to Bonaire and learned to sail it in a month. They now exploit it as a tourist activity. Had he sailed to any of the other islands? No. Not interested in getting seasick. Had he and his wife slept in the boat? No. It gets too hot.
It was interesting. Even though I’m a sucker for a certain mysticism, at least he’s not pretending to be something he’s not.
We anchored the yacht and he threw some bread overboard. He said, “it’s Finding Nemo time!” He hollered this a couple of times before I registered I was supposed to laugh while admiring the fish that came up for the bread. I wondered how many times he’d cracked this joke. Every trip, every day, to every passing tourist.
It reminded me of two friends of mine. Twelve years ago, they started a diving school. I always took holidaying visitors who wanted to scuba dive to them. I overheard my dive instructor friends describe the wonders of the underwater world by use of the exact the same metaphors they had used when they taught me to dive. Today, they are still at it. I recently joked to them, “you never get sick of the strawberry fields story, huh?” They laughed too. But then returned to their work with as much drive and passion as they had back then. They mean every word of it.