The trip from Guadeloupe to Antigua was a long one, and we left before the sun was fully above the horizon. We had to get to port before the immigration office closed. This would be our last stop on LUNA. I took in every bit of the last eight hours sailing on the open water. As I watched the waves, which appeared so small, splish and splash around, and pull our 46’ yacht whatever direction they wanted to, I thought about life. Sometimes there are forces in life that are so big, so destined to come to us, that we cannot control them. They may come and splash so hard into our lives, getting us wet or making us sick. And sometimes they will pull us towards our next destination with the sun basking just perfectly on our cheeks. I sat on the back of the boat, swaying as one wave would pull us to the left and then another back to the right. I thought about how we can’t control everything. Sometimes we just have to sit and sway with the waves so we don’t topple over. Sometimes life will be bumpy and cloudy, and sometimes it will be smooth and sunny. I took any remaining worries I had left that day and gave them to the sea, to the waves to decide what to do with. I think I realized that afternoon that life is combination of destiny and free will. We might be destined to fight a big wave, but whether we use a sail, an engine, or a life raft to get through it is our free will.
Late that afternoon, we arrived at the immigration/customs/port authority offices. It was a small yellow building, about the size of a gas station convenience store, split into three offices. Nim got off the boat with a folder of paperwork and our passports. Anytime you enter a new country on a sailboat, the captain is required to handle all immigration paperwork. We watched for about an hour as he went in one door and then the next and then back to the first door and then to another door. You could see his frustration with the immigration process. But lo and behold, he came back to the boat with the paperwork approved. We settled into a dock, this time much similar to the first one in St. Lucia with a boardwalk and water and electric hookups nearby. It was raining, but the three of us decided to go explore the island while Nim and Fabiola prepared dinner.
The rain really put a damper on our expeditions, but like all other islands, it was carefree and the people were chipper. There’s nothing memorable about the island other than the taxi driver who was such a delight. He smiled as he shared his life story, and every time his phone rang (which it did often), he would say, “Now I wonder who this could be?” His pure excitement of getting a phone call was so refreshing. We arranged for him to pick us up the next day for our transportation to the airport. And the next morning, he was just as delightful, even though he only got 20 minutes of sleep, which he proudly explained was because he was busy working as a driver all night. The people in a country can really make or break the experience. This one man “made” the experience for me!
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We left early the next morning for our flight to Puerto Rico. It was our last island on our ‘collecting stamps’ trip. We explored old San Juan, stopping in the little shops for trinkets, and ate mofongo, which is the local dish consisting of potatoes and a choice of meat, served in a very large container that looks like a big coffee mug. It was okay, but the best part of the meal was the fried cheese we had in the beginning. The mofongo itself was a bit bland (in my personal opinion).
After dinner and exploring, we stumbled upon the original Pina Colada restaurant. It is the restaurant that founded the Pina Colada. Of course, we had to stop. Full from dinner, we were barely able to each finish one drink, but we managed, and yes, they were just as delicious as you would expect.
And just like that, a week of collecting stamps and letting my worries flow into the sea had passed. It’s all still a bit of a blur, the mornings of coffee and warm bread turning into sunsets in the middle of the ocean. But I have my memory of the water, splishing and splashing, and the reminder that life is sometimes just simply out of our control. This was the lesson I needed out of this trip. I hope I can close my eyes and let the sea take over when I am in a place where I need reminded of this lesson.