09 04 2012
Melilla, Espana, Africa
She was a decent small town jeweller, her husband a simple country lawyer.
When they met and married in 1981 she made the first move of her life: she packed up all her worldly possessions and carted them, entire, the distance of four kilometres "from the country" where she lived with her parents to the house in Lucan where she would live with her husband, bear and raise a decent family of three good children and manage her store.
The decision to marry was a careful one: she and her husband to be agreed only a month after meeting that this would be their fate. That was thirty one years ago.
The day she set up housekeeping with her husband the population of the Village of Lucan was 1,854.
Twenty years after they married the woman considered that her children were maturing. She reasoned that she and her husband would need new interests and challenges to help them acclimate to life without children. An advertisement in the local paper offered sailing lessons and she made arrangements both for lessons and a summer of "rental" of a sailboat. After the arrangements were made she asked her husband what he thought about learning to sail.
Sailing did not settle well on the couple. The first two weeks of lessons left them both exhausted and feeling stupid. Convinced they were not cut out even for casual enjoyment of life on the water they persevered.
By the end of the first summer they decided to buy a small boat, just to try.
Next summer on their first long distance sail in their new boat they sailed themselves into a storm in a treacherous passage and foundered on rocks in Georgian Bay. Their boat suffered terrific damage. She was taken off the boat by the Coast Guard at 3 in the morning.
That was the beginning.
In 2004 the woman and her husband left Lucan with their son to sail to the Caribbean. They sold their house. The population of Lucan the day before she left was 1,856.
Today that woman landed her sailboat on the shores of Africa. To get here she sailed the St Lawrence River and the waters of the North Atlantic. She experienced things most people only ever imagine and some things no one could ever dream up. It is her story that the ocean crossing required far more nerve than it did skill.
Stepping onto the firma in Melilla, soil of Africa, gateway to the heart of darkness her first thought was to call her children. She missed them.