Our instincts as humans are slowly dimming the less time we spend in wild nature: rainstorms, cold, whiteouts, loose rocks, adventure. Climbing is an important and sacred opportunity for us to exist in situations that we faced a hundred thousand years ago. The animalistic side of human beings. Our instincts are an important element of our intelligence.

~ Reinhold Messner


Cat Island to Miami

Way back in 1980, my dad arranged to help a friend (a navy buddy if I recall correctly) named Drew move his yacht from Cat Island (in the Bahamas) to Miami.

It was as much a vacation for us, as it was us helping Drew and his wife move their boat. We took a commercial flight to Nassau and spent a day or two there. From Nassau, we took this little charter plane to Cat Island… which is just a spit of sand with nothing on it other than a tiny “runway”. From there we sailed the 200+ miles to Miami.

To make the “crossing”, my dad and Drew had to stay up in shifts sailing through the night. Although it does take some attention to detail to navigate, the real concern is that the area is thick with commercial shipping and the “rule of gross tonnage” suggests it is unwise to assert right-of-way (any sailing vessel has the legal right-of-way over any powered vessel.) So we prudently dodged enormous ships who couldn’t see us (visually) and probably didn’t care even if they did notice us on radar (via Drew’s radar reflector.) Anyway.

Do I remember anything in particular? Absolutely. I remember staying up all night, on the open sea, in the pitch black. You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face… nothing but star-light. And the stars… The constellations looked to fall out of the sky onto your head.