I know her every mood. Her subtle quirks and not so subtle foibles. Her strengths and oh so very few weaknesses. For the past six months, she has been my confidant and sounding board, and she has never let me down.
I have talked to her for hours on end. Whispered more like it. Her responses, measured and unvarying. You can do it. Where you go, I go. You can do it.
How one comes to gamble their life on a couple of litres of epoxy and a few gossamer strips of cloth I know not. I did, and I can’t
tell you exactly how or when it came to pass.
It just did.
We were inseparable. Nestled together by day, never far apart at night. More than anything else, the success of the trip depended on Kai Nani standing up to the brutal treatment I meted out daily. Never a day off, never an easy hour, never a complaint.
Sailors develop an intimate relationship with their boats. The lived through storms, the bewildering calms, the careening down giant wave-faces, the anxious moments watching lightening flash horizon to horizon standing beneath a 55′ aluminum lightening rod all add up to a bond that borders on rabid. I hadn’t thought I would develop the same relationship with Kai Nani.
At rest beneath the veranda back home, held upright and aloft by tie down straps, I see her every day. We are still inseparable. I still talk to her, no longer urging her forward but now whisper apologies for the stem-to-stern scars that bear witness to her work. In stark contrast to her wounds, the signatures and well-wishes of the hundreds from all across the country who signed her hull testify to our passage through their lives.
We are fast and forever friends, that Kai Nani and I. If you ever come by, I’ll introduce you.