Esper’s bow disappeared under water, shooting the sea into the cockpit. I was astonished at how warm it was. Jamie released the sails, then furled them, to give the wind a smaller target. His hands bled from rope burns, and the din of whipping lines and snapping canvas made me flinch. But we were upright.
Already we had entered a different world: no more clanging masts from the wash churned up by passing ferries; no more chitter chatter from the neighbours; no more dodging monkeys on treks to the shower block. To the uninitiated marinas might look exotic (all gin and tonics and navy blue) but for those incarcerated, they are about as glamorous as a caravan park.
“This isn’t as bad as I expected,” I said to Jamie, as we sat on Esper in the slipway, waiting to be hauled out.
He didn’t bother to reply. We were coming to a rolling boil in the midday heat, and any attempt at conversation or movement was painful. Millie lay on the floor in the saloon with ears twitching. She began to pant and stared up at me through the hatch. What hell-hole have you brought me to now? she seemed to be saying.
This morning, Nazar brought his whole family to the marina to say goodbye. He has been our constant companion since we arrived in Cochin, taking us on endless shopping trips, keeping us topped up with beer and wine, coming out to the beach at Kuzhipilly with us, and finding parts and services for all our boaty needs. We have eaten in his tiny home on many occasions: fish curry and spicy vegetable dishes cooked by his wife, Sakina, and mother, Beema.
“To swim, perchance to drown, is an undeniable human right. The Port of London Authority should take a running jump into the Thames – only they’ve just made it illegal,” wrote Boris Johnson in the Telegraph. Calm down, dear, there are still plenty of places to enjoy all the fun of the water in our capital city.
We’ve only had a few days of sunny weather, but be brave and be positive my friends, London has so much to offer the enthusiastic water lover even if the weather isn’t always clement: swimming, sailing, rowing or fishing, it’s all there. There’s also plenty of waterside sun-bathing and drinking available to the enthusiastic hedonist.
Jamie and I have been writing about and photographing the places we visit on our website, followtheboat, since we moved onto s/y Esper just before Christmas in 2006 (brrrr, it was cold living in a boat yard “up on the hard” in Bodrum that winter). But it doesn’t stop there: our second series of podcasts […]
I lie back and look up. There is no moon. We have sailed far enough south to see Scorpius crawling across the sky in its dazzling entirety, home to my favourite star, the fiery red Antares, “rival of Mars.” Beautiful. A small shooting star switches on and off for a second: blink and you’d miss it. I make a wish. The night wraps itself around me.