We are at a chique art opening at Kas di Arte, our local art exhibition center. You know it is a special event when Tutti Frutti is playing, the local band from Rincon. There are wonderful paintings from Ronald Verhoeven of island life on display. These canvases, however, are probably more than the price of a small boat. I just enjoy looking at them, talking to locals, drinking a Polár and grabbing a sate covered with spicy peanut sauce when the food tray glides by.
Tutti Frutti takes a break and I get to speak to the drummer, Francis Domacasse, who has a day job as tugboat captain. Kas di Arte fronts the sea and a sliver of crescent moon breaks through the clouds on a dark, black sky.
“Nice moon tonight, huh Francis?”
“Yeah, but they are getting beat up over at Curacao. I just spoke with my tugboat buddies there and they are closing the harbor. A bad storm is coming and it’s headed our way.”
“I probably should get my boat to the marina. It’s on a mooring not far from here.”
“Oh, yeah. I gotta go. Tutti Frutti is about to start again.”
We bid ayó. I down the Polár and head home. No more chique art opening for me. Trunks on, I swim into the night to my boat. Already the surge of the storm is hitting Bonaire and the waves toss Kontentu to and fro. I was just in the boat a few hours ago, trying to sail in very confused seas.
I get out the fenders and dock lines. The motor starts right up. I release the mooring line and I’m off into the night. No running lights, but I know this coastline well. Five minutes later I enter the safety of the harbor. A dockside party is taking place aboard Aquaspace, a day charter sailboat that used to be part of Jacque Cousteau’s fleet. As I put-put past in the darkness, Kontentu draws looks. The dreadlocked captain knows my boat and waves. The partygoers just stare in rum-soaked stupors as I steer the tiller with my bare foot. Island boy coming in late. You never know what that means.
I glide in next to a local fishing boat and raft up to her port side. Three lines, three fenders and Hettie appears. We head home for a shower, Mount Gay, and pizza. We eat dinner from the balcony watching the yachts in front pitching in the water. The sound of the crashing waves dominates. I will sleep without worries tonight. Seaside escapades.