“I can’t remember what I asked for in the end. What I do remember is that Capt. B is to be kept away from any galley and removed from all cooking duties effective immediately. The boiling water part he got right but the instruction of stirring somehow was omitted!“
“With my bowl balanced precariously on my lap and one hand on the tiller, I buried my face into what I thought would be a culinary delight. Pockets of dry powder rose to the surface exploding just as I breathed in. I had been maced. My eyes flooded in tears and the hair in my nasal passages had burned to the roots. What the F@#K? I look up, coughing and spluttering, my vision blurred … I think I’m still sailing in the right direction! I’ve eaten more tender beef jerky than whatever this cooked meat was. I crunched on what must have been noodles and other dehydrated vegetables that had somehow avoided the boiling water. “How is it?” Capt. B asked. “Great,” I lied, avoiding the truth and averting my eyes.” (JohnnyMac)
I damn near rolled on the floor laughing when I first read this account last year. John MacDonald’s story telling skills are good enough to give Mark Twain a run for his money. Surely this culinary misadventure was the result of fatigue induced by a lack of sleep, but as a trained and practiced observer of human behavior and diviner of hidden motivations, I saw a more sinister possibility. Here are two grown-assed men who clearly retain some degree of youthful rashness and impulsiveness or they wouldn’t have flown half way around the world, literally, to take part in the Everglades Challenge. What effect does a few days of living and sailing in a small open boat both day and night have on the minds of such a pair? Do real and imagined slights ferment in their sleep deprived minds after prolonged exposure to the elements? At what point in that fermentation process do those slights lead to homicidal obsessions? What calculations could have been racing through Rob Waddell’s mind in the darkness of the Gulf as he watched Johnny Mac snooze in the cuddy of the Southern Cross? Let’s listen in on the workings of a WaterTriber’s mind.
“What if I brain that big lug with an oar and roll him overboard for the sharks? No one would know.”
“Wait! That’s madness. I have to come ashore eventually and our wives would probably notice he’s missing… especially his.”
“Where’s my husband?”
“I dunno. He was here a minute ago. Are you sure got onboard?”
“Nope, that’ll never fly.”
“Ah. I have it. A revenge far more heinous than any uninspired murder at sea. I’ll throw some boiling water in a packet of freeze dried beef stroganoff, give it a half hearted stir and hand it to that insufferable bastard. He won’t know what hit him.”
And JohnnyMac chronicled what happened next. The perfect vengeance with no loose ends to tie up when the two came ashore. Did it happen this way? I doubt it, but we’ll never know. It’s a secret that will be taken to the grave. But if Rob and John read my tongue in cheek hypothesis, the next time these two sail the Everglades Challenge, neither may get any sleep… just in case.
All kidding aside, I implore you all to read the accounts of the Everglades Challenge 2020 written by Rob Waddell and John MacDonald. You will be glad you did. You can also track this years race on the WaterTribe Challenge Mapper and keep up with the progress on the WaterTribe FaceBook page. You have to sign up for the FaceBook page, but their not too picky. They let me in without question.
In addition to the Southern Cross, there are several other craft that interest me. I’ve watched Derek Kozlowski build his Angus sailing row cruiser over the year. I wasn’t sure he was going to finish it in time. He did and watching his progress in the Everglades will be fun. There’s a skin on frame kayak. My brother will like that. There are two Scamps this year. One is driving down from Washington state. I always liked that cobby little craft. This design conquered the Straits of Magellan back in 2017. They always do well in the Everglades, even though the first one grounded out in the shallows of Florida Bay years ago.
Oh yes, in case anyone still has questions about what the Everglades Challenge and the WaterTribe are all about, here’s their “About” statement:
“The purpose of WaterTribe© is to encourage the development of boats, equipment, skills, and human athletic performance for safe and efficient coastal cruising using minimal impact human and wind powered watercraft based on kayaks, canoes, small sailboats. Anyone with interests along these lines is welcome to join and share posts that support this purpose.”
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