From the chapter, “…day One to the West…Departure” of “Part III: The Challenge”, “Path of Three Hundred” pages 102-103
At around Noon on November 28, 2011, ten years to the day after his Father’s death at sea, Petah activated his SPOT device and set sail alone out of Bermuda bound not for North Carolina but for the Bahamas just off the coast of Florida. With winds of eighteen to twenty-five knots and six to eight foot seas, all from the northeast, Petah would have both at his back all day and into the night. Perfect for sailing great distances and sailing to the south of Bermuda.
Phoopa tossed the final dock line onto the deck of the Little She from the Customs Dock as Petah motored away saying, “Good sailing to you Petah…you will be fine.”
Two nights before and the day he sailed into St. Georges Harbor from Dockyard, Phoopa invited Petah and Captain John Lee over to his mother’s house for a late Thanksgiving Dinner. Neither John nor Petah had a Thanksgiving while in Bermuda. The gesture by Phoopa’s mother felt like a Gift from God. They ate like the hungry sailors they were, filling their bellies with more food than was comfortable. Home cooked turkey with all of the fixings by an ancient Bermudian woman who had been cooking her entire life. John and Phoopa played guitars in the night air and sang songs from what seemed like a forgotten culture while Petah listened joyfully.
“Why don’t you just follow me in the Kallista, with you in the Little She down to St. John, Virgin Islands, Petah? I would rather another boat be near by since I am sailing alone like you,” spoke John to Petah in between songs.
“If I didn’t have Lucky waiting for me back in Masonboro, I would. I could hang out there until next year and try for Portugal again someday, but I must go get my dog. He is the definition of unconditional Love and my best friend,” answered Petah to the atmosphere with a distant look on his face.
“It is best to sail south this time of year, Petah. Sailing west is not a good idea right now. You could follow John down to the Virgin Islands, leave the Little She there, fly back to Masonboro and bring Lucky back to St. John. Case closed,” spoke a smiling Phoopa with the confidence of an ancient Bermudian Soul.
“Bermudians keep saying this to me,” spoke Petah.
“From life experience, we know…listen with not just your ears,” spoke a smiling Phoopa.
Later that night, while the island was sleeping, Petah sat on the deck of the Little She and looked up into the sky staring at the stars in meditation. He freed his mind of desire. He said nothing to himself or anything else. He just sat there with his eyes open to what was above him. He did not think of where he would go or when he would leave. He did not think of any human he knew. He just sat there with his mind empty of thought. After a time, he saw in the southern sky what looked like an arrow-head pointing to something. Three stars created a triangular shape of three equal sides. Petah looked at the compass on the pedestal mounted in the cockpit of the Little She and noticed the apex of the triangle pointed downward to the horizon in the southwest.
“Interesting,” finally spoke Petah to the southern night sky.
He descended into the cabin and opened up the charts of the Atlantic Ocean he had been studying over the past three weeks. From where the Little She lay in Bermuda and following the direction of the triangle to the horizon, Petah calculated a compass direction using the charts. Southern Florida was where the arrow was pointing.
The next morning, Petah contacted the weather service he had been communicating with in New England and asked them where he should sail to if he set sail out of Bermuda in the next couple of days. They told him that if he did not go due south to the Virgin Islands, which would be the best direction, he could make it to the Bahamas before a cold front would arrive, wait a couple of days, then sail over to southern Florida where he could then sail up the coast to North Carolina. A very long journey of over two weeks. Going directly west to North Carolina was not an option at all given the weather conditions.
“The Bahamas it is then,” Petah whispered to his Little She.
From the chapter, “…Abandoned…” of “Part II: The Battle”, “Path of Three Hundred” page 88
At the end of the celebratory evening, Petah was dropped off at Refugia’s house where he was reunited with Lucky and the tired sailor slept in Peace with his best friend.
The next day, Petah saw the online television station blog comments of his return…
“Wow! What a complete and utter Fool! He quit just like a baby would do. What a pansy…LOL! I guess his daddy and sister were not with him in spirit after all huh?”
“I am glad to hear that the idiot Petah finally wised up and decided to stop this nonsense of sailing across the ocean alone. He was not prepared for something like this and should not have attempted it at all. He should just stay home, drink beer and watch TV. Dreams are for people who are weak. The ocean is not something which should be taken lightly like he did. He is a novice and he is not up to the level of seamanship like I am. I am an expert sailor and this would have never happened to someone like me. Plus the fact that the boat he was using is not made for what he was doing…it is simply the wrong kind of boat…it is a coastal cruiser at best and not an open ocean blue water vessel. Petah is stupid and he is certainly not a Captain…he should never refer to himself as one. I told everyone I feared we would never see him again, so I am glad to hear he is still alive.
But, at least he had the balls to try…I suppose that is something.”
“Gee…thanks, Petah…what a loser. With all the hoopla surrounding your little spiritual journey, you must feel like an idiot now, huh? We were all pulling for you to make it and you just quit. Now the entire planet knows you are a quitter. ‘Hey world, look at what I can do’…NOT! Thanks for nothing, Jackass.”
“You should just go and kill yourself, Petah…and please do it in private like a real man. I am sick of all this.”