La vuelta de la isla

Well, you never know, do you? If you just let go and trust, sometimes it works out… By sheer good luck, I was still there when Christian (whom I’d visited in Marseille in March) showed up in a lovely little 9 meter sailing boat, the Tikouk, along with its owner/captain Madji, having sailed up from Béjaia in Algeria, and with them I realised the dream of a lifetime and sailed around the island. There wasn’t really time before my scheduled departure, but mum said if I came back without having done it she’d never forgive me… god bless her… so for 3 long days and 4 lovely nights I did a total disconnect from the rest of the world and had the time of my life. Hardly a summer’s idyll – barely even spring, it was COLD – we had every conceivable wind and sea: (in no particular order) no wind, too much wind, perfect wind, hot sun, cold, blue sky and clouds, grey overcast, thunder and lightning, lashings of rain, huge seas, and a final night sail by full moon… oh, and dolphins!

The three of us made “une très bonne équipe” – Madji the dashing captain, Christian the first rate first mate and me, willing crew and honoured guest – even in the worst of the storm off the north coast, I had total confidence in both them and Tikouk – she’s a lovely seaworthy vessel, with no frills but extremely well appointed. Aside from the great sailing, I slept the sleep of the just every night in my little berth & we wined and dined really well – they had caught a large fish en route, a sargo or white seabream (which christian had immediately cleaned and filleted and stowed in the very efficient little fridge on board) and it fed us the entire journey, along with algerian potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, calabasin, etc. Even with the boat careening along at 5 or 6 knots at a 45 degree angle in big swells, christian cooked and served dinner – and did the dishes – what a mariner… the one disappointment was not being able to anchor the last night in one of the idyllic south coast coves, as the southerly wind and big sea made it impossible (not to mention that we didn’t have a detailed nautical chart of the island!), but the compensation was a fabulous night sail, ending with hours of gliding by the light of the full moon with only the genoa, to take us back to port in Maó. I thank my lucky stars (and Christian and Madji) for such a chance.