I was about nineteen years old when I got my first proper ocean sailor job. It was on board Sailing Vessel “Synera”, they hired me as deckhand, I lived and took care of the boat during about a year. We sailed from Azores Islands to Spain and also a vast part of the Mediterranean Sea. It was just Rafa, the skipper and owner of the boat, and me. He was about seventy years old at that time, and a truly genuine and unique person. I learnt a lot. I still remember them a lot, the boat and our trips.
The first time I went to Corsica was with them. A beautiful Summer trip. That hapenned twenty three years ago, and thousands of miles later I still remember when we made it into Calvi, the bay where we anchored, where we left the dinghy ashore, the bar where we got drunk… We spent some weeks between Corsica and Sardinia. I was very young and idealist, so the flag of the island cought me hard since the first time I saw it. From one of the land trips I came up with a couple of stickers and a patch. That patch, the beutiful patch that it’s along the very few thing I have never got rid off. I only own some tools and boat spare parts, two boxes of clothes for winter and another one for the summer, old letters and old paper photos. But I have carried this patch since then. I was never sure were to sew it, but It has always been among the just a few things I’ve had always with me.
It has a lot of meaning for the island. It’s very old, it comes from the 11th century, and symbolizes the liberation of their land. IN their language is called “la testa di moro” (the moors head).
About one month ago, sailing from Cabrera Island National Park to Menorca Is., I sewed it in one of my sailor smocks. I felt I had finished something it started more than two decades ago. I remembered al lot about “Synera” and his captain. I went to “Narinan”’s chart table to take a look to the framed picture of the boat, that is the only picture you’ll see there. She was one of the boat’s of my life. It is a black and white picture, where the boat is nicely healed, sailing close hauled, with the sun almost touching the horizon. I remember that sunrise, sailing west. When you sail towards pure west, the sun sets down right in front of your way, it’s a true gold jewel, a very special gift from the gods.
Photo credits: Coke Bartrina and me.