capt. alex rust
17 September 2012 | Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVIs
First let’s go back to that week in May in the British Virgin Islands… we had over 20 sparkling crew on board Bubbles (all wearing the coral crew shirts) approaching the round-the-world finish line at Nanny Cay. With only a few hundred feet to go the propeller fell off. Not being able to raise sail with such a crowd on deck it looked as if we would founder on the reef just downwind of us, but just as always (and a very fitting representation of the trip), we scrambled to grab a dingy to tow Bubbles to safety and the welcoming party at the dock. Bottles were opened and high fives passed around… Circumnavigation complete.
Mohawks and mullets were shaved as the party continued for three more days on to Willie T’s, Cane Garden Bay, and Jost Van Dyke before returning to Nanny Cay (happy to report all survived). As the crew thinned out it was finally just brother Joe and I to get to work cleaning out the boat. Bubbles’s waterline raised eight inches with all her gear on the docks. Removing each piece, ranging from decorative hand carved tribal masks, to specialty tools I had modified for a specific task on the engine, my emotions flew from the happiness and frustrations of the moments past, to sadness and relief that the mission was over, to disbelief that it had even happened. I broke down in tears multiple times. Joe and I organized a dock sale to raise funds for dockage and flights home, offering shots of rum (we found all sorts of extra alcohol that I had hidden from myself had we become shipwrecked) that had ‘sailed round the world’ to entice buyers (a strategy that works quite nicely amongst fellow sailors). I gave Bubbles one last kiss as I turned her over to the son of the man I had bought her from.
Back in Indiana I was treated to 5 days in jail for a ‘failure to appear’ warrant that had gone well overdue in my absence. With air conditioning, three warm meals a day, and a floor to sleep where I didn’t get water splashed on my face it felt more like a resort than punishment, but then again there was that absence of freedom that I had only recently known too well in its purest form. I quickly received the nickname ‘Magellan’ and storytime was the one part of the day when the methheads, drunks, and thieves in our crowded cell all seemed to get along as a childish dreamlike state overtook them as they sailed with me on Bubbles across the oceans.
So yesterday Bubbles sold, making this the last blog entry. In summary I have to thank Ross Gerber for starting this blog. Without him I wouldn’t have done one and I am so glad we carried forward what he started. I also want to thank all the followers who posted comments. Knowing you were with us in some of the most remote areas on earth helped keep us going.
This trip was about simple discovery, venturing out to see the world and the people in it. Along the way we faced obstacles and challenges that only a trip like this could produce, and with no alternative but success we overcame. What we found was that the world is indeed a beautiful place filled with beautiful people. And like nearly everything in life, it is the people that make the experience and Bubbles was blessed with the best characters this world has to offer. It was a dream come true for me and If I learned anything on this trip it was that with a little luck and a lot of determination (or maybe it’s the other way around) you can make anything happen… just go for it!!
As for Bubbles the boat there couldn’t be a more perfect vessel for our trip. More than just a vehicle of transport she was our home, a ‘floating palace’ as Paddy King would call her. She carried us through violent storms and protected us from the elements. A faithful companion, she performed best when she was needed most – in the open ocean. Even though this beautiful piece of fiberglass has moved on to a new owner, Bubbles is not over. For Bubbles is more than just a boat, Bubbles is an idea, a journey. And just as bubbles float through the air with that magical shine that captivates a small child, so did this trip unlock the magic and small child in each of us. Float on, Bubbles…float on.