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From Gibraltar to the Canary Islands
The flying fish and a lifetime of laughs
It is a warm night, my dad; brother and I are on our 38 foot sloop Taurus. We left Gibraltar several days earlier and are on our way to the Canary Islands. A gentle wind fills our sails as we move swiftly along with the rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Taurus is on automatic pilot; my brother is sound asleep bellow deck while my dad and I are asleep in the cockpit. The movement of the boat and the sound of the waves are almost hypnotic and have put me into a deep relaxing sleep. I don’t remember what I dreamt, but I am suddenly woken up by my dad yelling, the eeriest blood chilling yell that I have ever heard, within a second my brother comes running up onto the deck to find me sitting there staring at our dad in total disbelief. I tell you, my dad has a dark tan, but that night underneath the glow of the full moon my dad looks white, almost as if he has seen a ghost.
“What’s wrong?” I ask him somewhat uncertain if I really want an answer. He just stares at me, and then says “I was dreaming that a skeleton stuck his cold bony finger into my ear when this thing (He picks up a flying fish) decides to fly right into my ear”. My brother and I begin to laugh, one of those unrestrained laughter’s that come from deep within. I tried real hard not to, but c’mon it is funny; and once my dad’s heart begins to beat normally again he laughs just as hard, and still does when he tells the story to this day.
That night underneath the glow of the full moon on the Atlantic Ocean somewhere between Gibraltar and the Canary Islands flying fish by the hundreds flew out of the water, some making their way back into the warm ocean while others met their end on the deck of the Canadian sloop Taurus and one met its end in my dad’s ear.
The school of flying fish taught me a lesson that day; here it is…Hundreds of flying fish are playing in the water unaware of us as they enjoy the warm water and the soft glow of the moon light; some met with death because they could not overcome the obstacle which lay in their path and they simply and quietly died, unnoticed and forgotten. Another fish met with the same obstacle, he could not overcome it either but he made an everlasting impression on the lives of those he touched before his death. He will be forever remembered, he gave us joy and a lifetime of laughs before he died.
So let me ask you, what will you be remembered for before you leave this earth? Don’t be like the majority of those flying fish, be like the one which landed in my dad’s ear, do something positive before your time is up.
During our two year sailing trip around this amazing planet I learned many lessons from the people we met, the experiences I had and through the things I saw. I was 12 years old when we started and thirty years later I still see this trip in my mind as if it only just happened yesterday.
One of those images is of the Gibraltar Apes and the one ape that taught me a lesson in trust and unconditional love as he left his family and climbed onto my shoulder and came for a walk with us.
During my many years of travel and having the opportunity to live in many countries on this planet of ours, including the two year sailing trip around the world, I have come to understand and appreciate the differences in people, their beliefs, cultures and religions. I learned that I don’t need to believe what others believe but that I can respect their views without compromising my own.