Nearly a mile west of San Juan harbor, the helmsman held No Bad Days northward, out to sea. The mainsail was full and the prow divided the water evenly, creating snow white water on each side. The vessel was manned by Captain Hewitt, his helmsman, and an apprentice seaman. I sat in the recessed area behind the mainsail, out of the way of the boom and the rigging and the crew.
“Hoist the mainsail,” the skipper called, and the two Nicaraguans went to work, the helmsman carefully instructing the apprentice as they went to work; cranking heavy winches a little at a time. The mainsail went all the way to the top, and the sail billowed out even more, like a woman full-term with twins. I carefully climbed out on the foredeck and hung on tight while I watched for whales.
“Now bring up the jib.”
“Okay Captain.” The crew untied the line that secured the sailcloth to the smaller boom on the front of the craft, and then brought the smaller triangular sail to the top of the mast, securing the lines to cleats on the deck using figure eight loops. I adjusted the tab on my ball cap to the next notch and pulled it tight over my head as the wind buffeted from the side. The four passengers with me were hunkered down in the aft deck trying to keep out of the wind.
The skipper leaned hard on the wheel, and the vessel responded by turning five degrees to port, listing heavily to that side. We all took positions on the high side, and held tight to the stainless steel rail as the sleek craft gained speed. I felt the light spray in my face and marveled at how she cut the water so gracefully; a woman so fine that when she entered the room you would pretend to be sipping your cocktail just so that you can steal a glance at the way she walked. Not overly showy, nor flaunting her sexuality… But walking through the room casually, gracefully; shoulders slightly back, chin slightly up, and the small movement of her hips, not quite a swagger, exuding confidence and poise. My heart beats faster as I wonder if she’ll dance with me.
Ocean spray hit my face with delightfully cold droplets as the mansions on the hill north of town passed by on the right.
“You all right, buddy?” The skipper yelled at me, smiling.
“Perfect, my man. Couldn’t be better.”
We laid in at Playa Blanca, and anchored in the natural inlet with white sand beaches and emerald green water, framed by untouched tropical jungle. Two other sailboats were in the inlet, anchored closer to shore, both laden with beautiful women, all wearing string bikinis, and many of them swimming.
Within minutes I was in the water with my skin-diving outfit. In my mind’s eye I envisioned a fair-haired mermaid beckoning me to swim closer. I swam for a while in the clear blue water, breathing slowly and surely through my snorkel. I know she’s got to be around here somewhere.
Reason finally prevailed over fantasy, however, when I got tired and had to head back toward the boat. I wonder…what would a mermaid do if she had to pee? … Just sayin’.
With my last strength I climbed aboard No Bad Days, and we sailed back toward San Juan Del Sur, me taking one last look at the beach. Beautiful, I said, as my heart still pounded. I never did tell the guys about the mermaid thing.