Sailing the Blue Line

An aquatic Island Note…

Two blues dominate coastal Bonaire.  The shallow one shimmers like aqua velvet as the sun’s rays bounce up from the snowy sand bottom.  The other is indigo, a rich, deep shade, caused by fathoms of depth below.  It is where those two hues intersect that I like to do kayak sailing.  That is the blue line.

Look towards shore and the water’s dreamsicle colors capture my eyes, sometimes to my detriment. I struggle to break away from its beauty for the trim of my sail demands that I do.  If not, I’ll be knocked down in a Havana heartbeat.  

Dreamsicle blue off the coast by Tolo. Photo by Hettie.

Rotate 180 degrees out to sea and the cobalt blue reins to the far horizon.  That field of color is flecked with white caps now that the trade winds passing over the island can regain their speed.  This is open water.

Today, I go to The Rock to sail the blue line.  This is an unmarked dive site south of the salt pier known mostly by locals.  The Rock sits out from the coastal reef, an underwater island of dense corals, dug into white sand 80-100 feet below.  It’s also a perfect spot from which to launch a kayak due to its easy, sugar sand entrance.  Before shoving off, I check my gear and scout south.  In the distance are a group of palm trees marking Pink Beach.  That’s where I will head today.

In a second, I’m off on a fast beam reach, sailing the blue line.  Winds are clocking at 16 knots, gusting to 20.  The clue to ‘seeing’ a sudden gust is to read the water.  Its surface will ripple and darken before the sudden increased velocity hits the sail.  The first gust comes quickly and I shift my weight to port, the windward side if the boat.  Piece of cake.  But other gusts are more macho, demanding that I let out the sail and spill the force of the wind.  It’s all good.  This dance makes me feel alive.  I am centered, totally focused solely on wind and water.

I play this game until I reach my destination and do a fast tack.  In an instant I’m heading back to The Rock.  Out to sea, a thin line of shocking pink severs the horizon.  It’s a lone flamingo making way to the salt ponds of Pekelmeer (pickled lake) where it will soon feed.  Now, a tern circles my boat hoping that I might be fishing and will toss it a scrap.  Sorry, my feathered friend.  My hands are full just keeping upright with today’s winds.

Back on shore, I drop the sail, stash my gear and hoist my kayak onto the car top rails.  I sit in the open end of my station wagon, sunning myself dry and staring at the sea.  Ah, what a great way to start the day, sailing the blue line.