BUT...BUT...YOU LEFT YOUR SHOES...(essay)
06 October 2011 | Port Louis, Mauritius
BUT...BUT.....YOU LEFT YOUR SHOES!
The night before my arrival in Port Louis saw me trying to slow down Shearwater - I was ahead of my ETA for a daylight arrival. At about 2-3 AM I rounded the tip of the island and at about 5 AM I 'heeved-to'(stop the boat with sails up) to wait for daybreak.
Daylight came and I requested permission from Port Control to enter the harbor - I proceeded to the customs dock. Two hours and about 20 pages of documents later, I headed to the marina....a small modern complex. But, to my consternation, it was absolutely overflowing with boats...each space had 2-3 boats, side by side by side.
The very free and easy policy of the marina stated: 'Find any spot you can, first come first served.'
And with that, started the problem...
There was NO spot left for a catamaran.
That is....except one. This was between two other cats, on the outer wall, barely enough room to get in, a spot that had fenders still hanging, a water hose still connected and... a pair of old shoes. Clearly someone was coming back. But the marina steadfastly insisted on its policy of 'no reserved spots'. And so with great difficulty, and somewhat reluctantly, I worked my way into this tight spot.
So I waited and I waited......and then finally, it came: a big yellow motor boat, a loud fog horn and shouts of the most modest sort rang out: GET THE F___ OUT, THAT'S MY SPOT, YOU A__ H___. The 'owners' indeed had arrived.
ME: "But....but, lets talk and figure out ...."
HIM: "GET THE F___ OUT!. I PAY FOR IT, THOSE ARE MY FENDERS AND MY HOSE! I AM A MAURITIAN!"
By now this irate language, ringing across the waters, had brought the notice of the yachtsmen of the marina who, assembling en masse at the side of Shearwater, proclaimed back to the irate motorboater "THERE ARE NO RESERVED SPOTS!!"
The Police arrived.
And then, in a very different way to which I am accustomed, they began mediating this exploding conflict. Different in the sense that they listened more than they talked. Listened and listened, they did. Finally, in a very quiet, almost hushed manner, pronounced the verdict: "We cannot interfere with Shearwater. He has absolute right to the spot, no matter the fenders, no matter the water hose, no matter the shoes, THERE ARE NO RESERVED SPOTS"
Angrily, the motor boater, in a final effort, put a man on shore who waded into the solid resistance of the assembled yachtsmen, but quickly gave up and in exasperated fury pulled all his fenders off the wall, unscrewed the hose, and stormed off... leaving his shoes.
And so...the police left, security went back to their rounds, the yachtsmen wandered back to their yachts. It had all been settled: 'THERE WERE NO RESERVED SPOTS'.
But...but....what about the shoes!?.