Nemesis : the pleasure of a sabbatical year in the West Indies

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“We arrived at nightfall in Gustavia, with 25 knots of wind, and as we didn’t want to go into the harbor, we battled for more than 40 minutes, taking turns to try and pick up a buoy in front of the harbor, open to the wind and the swell! I’ll tell you what the atmosphere was like: swell on the beam, headlamp screwed to the skull, boats all around and facing in all directions because of the wind. I signaled the approach to the buoy, starboard, no port, no back to starboard, indicating 3 meters, 2 meters, 1 meter, stop, I was bent double on the trampoline with my boathook, up, down, back up, and... The buoy followed the wave and slid under the hull – astern, too late! We started over and over again, I lost my boathook in the water. Grrrr. I replaced it with the fish hook, yes, that’s all I had within reach, we’d get that damn buoy... We tried catching it in front, to one side, behind, we couldn’t manage it, the sea was too rough: once, twice, five times, I was fed up with it, you don’t know how to position the boat captain! Ok, it’s your turn to try and pick it up, and I’ll drive. I concentrated, we were moving around too much, I mustn’t miss it, the captain was furious, it’s so easy to pick up a buoy damn it! We’ll see. I admit my approach wasn’t the most brilliant, it was impossible to stabilize the catamaran, and the fish hook fell into the water too. Damn! I’ve had enough, let’s get away from here! Finally we anchored further away, almost in the middle of the channel, ...

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