Occasionally the peace and tranquillity of life onboard is broken with the unexpected and without warning. This is that story aboard the INNcredible Sea Lodge.
After a wonderful 15 day run down the Pacific Coast of Baja with my Hawaiian crew, Ivo and his sons Brigham and Spencer, and a couple of days together enjoying La Paz, my crew had to start their journey home. After heartfelt goodbyes to my new friends, I had the INNcredible Sea Lodge all to myself, tied up at D-dock wedged between two Mega Yachts here in Marina Costa Baja.
Alone, quiet, a bit lonely, after the day’s boatwork was done and back from trekking all over town, it didn’t take long before I was sound asleep. That’s a funny expression ‘sound asleep’ because it doesn’t take much of a sound, even just a slight change in rpms while underway or a whale blow in the distance to alert my mind while asleep. And so it was at 0220 last Thursday night.
A big thud on the starboard’s transom startled me. However there are these schools of fairly good-size fish in the marina that roam around splashing and bashing all day long, so I thought that’s what it was. But to be sure, like an animal being stalked by prey, I listened motionlessly for any more sounds. Then, ever so faintly, and totally not expected, I heard a couple footsteps. Holy shit! WTF!
I swiftly and quietly scooted out of bed, trying to stay in complete silence so to hear any further sounds, hearing none. Totally naked, taking no time to change that fact, I tiptoed up the stairs and stood in the salon door’s threshold. Eight feet away was the silhouette in complete darkness of a tall man. My Jersey tough-guy voice took over and I boomed, “What the fuck! What are you doing on my boat? Who are you?”
I shocked the intruder more than he alarmed me. He hadn’t heard or seen me coming and it was darker looking inside where I was then looking out, or so I hoped since I was standing butt-naked and without a club or weapon. His response was timid and defensively apologetic, “I didn’t think anyone was onboard, I just need a place to lay my head, I’m drunk and I can’t find my cousin’s boat.”
Could be bullshit, but I believed him and softened the confrontation a few notches. “What’s the name of the boat?” said I. “Tir na nOg” says the man with an accent. “I know that boat and you have an Irish accent”, softening my voice even more so as to not wake the dead. “I do, I do indeed, I’m from Dublin and I just arrived. I’ve been drinking in town and got dropped off here (the outer marina).” “You’re a lucky man”, says I, “for I am Brian Fitzpatrick and have a soft spot for everything Irish”. He introduced himself, “I’m James Dolan from Killiney, where the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel be” “I know it well, been there meself”, getting down now to just conversation. “Well come on in, you can lay your head on the bench sofa and we’ll sort this out in the morning”, as I bid my intruder good night.
Needless to say, as I lay back in bed, I didn’t sleep well, thinking maybe I was the fool who maybe was too blind to see a con, Irish or not. Eventually I fell back asleep. Up early I rose and put the tea kettle on, looking forward to chatting with my Dublin invader. Hearing the tea kettle whistle, Jimmy Dolan rose from the dead and was quite grateful when I delivered a pot of Barry’s Gold Irish tea. “Good choice, Barry’s”, said he. And that was the beginning of a long chat sharing each other’s roots and everything Irish.
Turns out Tir na nOg’s skipper John is James’ first cousin-once removed (if you don’t get it, well that’s a whole blog in itself) and James has flown over to help crew the 36 foot sailing vessel across the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan. Three of them left Sunday night and should arrive 40 hours later, if the Sea is good to them.
I invited the whole crew, other cousins were visiting, over for drinks on Saturday eve, then we all went into town for dinner, all the while sharing many good hearty laughs as to what had just happened and how lucky James was that he wasn’t sleeping with the fishes.
New friends were made with a bond not easy to forget.