Saturday, August 4, 2012
While casually strolling along a random boat dock some twenty years ago in Salinas, Puerto Rico, my daughter and I were unexpectedly greeted by a screeching parrot. And since it would have been most impolite to ignore that colorful bird's early morning greeting, we did the only sensible thing and that was but to pause a moment and say hello as well.
Well no sooner had we reciprocated that bird's greeting when a voice could be heard bellowing out from inside that boat's cabin while exclaiming, "I ought to charge a fee every time somebody stops by to talk to my bird" or words to that effect.
And with that unpleasant utterance, a hint was taken and we resumed our stroll.
Well fast forward some three years later or so and this very same screeching parrot can once again be heard but only this time from the comfort of my house in Las Croabas, Puerto Rico.
It turns out that this very same vessel along with the very same bird was now up on the hard in the boatyard located behind my house. Presumably the boat was getting its bottom repainted only that I didn't happen to see any work getting done not that it really mattered to me one way or the other.
In any event, the wife and I had some boater friends on over to the house one Saturday afternoon for some grilled burgers and a few cold ones when it occurred to me to extend an invitation to that fellow sailor with the parrot.
And later after knocking on the hull of that fellow's boat and after pointing out where my house was located, he eagerly accepted my invitation.
It later transpired that this same fellow had sailed in from Salinas where he had been tied off to a dock for an extended period of time. Unfortunately for him however, he had contracted Dengue Fever after arriving at the boatyard and had been ghastly ill the prior week having had very little to eat in the interim.
Well that fellow didn't have a lot to say while visiting yet was obviously content just taking in the scene while scarfing down a burger or two. And I also happen to recall that fellow emphatically declining any thought of imbibing a cold beer all of which tells me that he had indeed been quite ill.
Think about it... when is the last time you happened to come across a liveaboard sailor declining a cold beer?
Yet even more importantly it seemed to me, was that the poor fellow appeared to be most delighted to be back among the living. And I should know the feeling for I too was once stricken with Dengue Fever while residing in Puerto Rico.
That Dengue Fever experience was most gawd-awful and had me thinking at one point that I just might not last through the night to see another day. That was the night when a certain accepting calmness had overcome me while I shivered uncontrollably all through the night.
Incidentally I never did tell that fellow that I had previously "met" his acquaintance years earlier while strolling along a boat dock in the coastal town of Salinas.
View of the boatyard from my house with Isla de Vieques visible on the distant horizon.
Image of house prior to purchase.
Postcard image of Bahia de los Pescadores. A boat lift can be seen somewhere in there.