How can you extract interest or humour out of bliss? Windlessness apart, our passage to Santa Maria Navaresse was just thoroughly enjoyable passing the stunning Sardinian coastline and the approach to our destination was spectacular backed as it was by a colossal mountain.
Along the way however, my bureaucracy paranoia was not eased by the presence of an official boat from the Guardia di Finenza running parallel to us at the same speed. This went on for some time until they blasted off into the distance – Phew!
We had another curious experience picking up an abandoned orange ships life-ring along the way. We handed it in to the Marina Office at our destination and we will never know if there was a story behind its deployment.
Despite a slightly challenging berthing (crew did great) the marina was one of the best. The pretty village was busy with Italians on holiday and there were no ‘tat’ shops that we saw. A swim off the beach, a very passable local IPA beer or two in a bar and the best meal Carl has produced (and that’s saying something) topped out a really great day.
Ahoy there, Shipmates! OK, put your hand up if you thought Hejira was, pretty much, just a common-or-garden 46ft ‘Southerly 135’ yacht? Yeah, me too, but we’d be wrong. As it turns out, Hejira, at the mere touch of a few buttons, is able to transform itself into…a time machine.
Yesterday, as he took control of the musical selection, we were transported back to the teenage times of Captain Scarlett, and let me tell you, dark days they were too. Having assaulted our ears for much of the trip with his too-tooty modern jazz, Nick decided to go one step further and subject us, his loyal and long-suffering crew, to an afternoon of prog-rock. Exactly what misdemeanour we had committed to warrant such treatment remains unclear.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer were followed by Blood Sweat & Tears, King Crimson morphed into Spooky Tooth, and Steve Winwood featured heavily in his Traffic and Spencer Davis periods. The coup d’grace was an eight minute organ solo by the caped-keyboardist, Rick Wakeman. And all these choices from a man who, the previous day had genuinely enquired which band were playing one particular classic song, as he seemed to recall it. The song was only ‘Hotel California’ from The Eagles. Go figure.
The other thing we noticed about Nick’s behaviour was the calming nature the world’s longest running ‘soap’ had on it. From the very opening bars of ‘Barwick Green’ (aka the theme for The Archers) Nick adopted a more relaxed and compliant persona. A veritable dose of Ritalin for the recently-retired. Gone were the barked orders and thinly veiled threats of the lash, all replaced by an almost loveable quasi-Joe-Grundy-esque character. Mind, I can see him trying to cadge a free pint in The Bull as well as The Nag’s Head!
Wee Tom writes:-
In the still greyness of the approaching dawn, a meandering manatee began crashing around the Hejira in what Mr. Mines later claimed in outrage was ‘me being quiet as a mouse’! The gallant crew were ordered out of their hammocks tout suite and as the sun crept out from below the horizon, HMS Nag’s began to edge serenely out of its berth. In my sleep-ridden state I proceeded to circle the boat in a daze as Captain Mainwaring gleefully barked incomprehensible orders and strange nautical terms at his bemused home-guarders.
Thankfully, having completed a number of lengthy solo sails it has become woefully apparent that this particular crew are essentially just the deck eye-candy – and boy have we been giving these Italians an eyeful of our pasty, Pict, pecs.
Upon arriving at the stunning port of Santa Maria Navarrese, we convinced Nick (who had more than one eye on the local IPA), to come for a soothing dip in the sea and this then panned out to be a truly pleasant evening.