A new man on the board

Today is the day. Day, when I was left on board of Victoria allone. But how that even happened?

In the beginning, as all the great stories starts, was a dream. I had a dream to move to some sea country, build a sailboat and travel around the world. As a target country I picked Brazil and my dream started to come true.

My job was amazing, I really love it. I was working as a scientist in the company called AtomTrace and in the CEITEC (Central European Institute of Technology. Every day was an adventure. You didn’t know where the path will lead. Based on the measurements of devices it could be breakthrough or a deadend in the given field. To this date it is not clear whether it has its own place here on Earth. But there is a place for LIBS technology in the space. Rover Curiosity, furrowing the plains of Mars, has this technology. And the results are amazing. With a heavy head I told them that I am going to leave in six months and will no further look for an answer to this question. I am going to pursue one of my dreams.

Day after day I was announcing my decision to my friends and in the end, there was my family. I had to tell them. Some day for sure. I do not have a wife nor children. But I do have caring parents and a brother. He is ten years younger and attending high school. It was suprisingly easy with him.
“Hey brother, I will be gone for some time.”
“Where are you going?”
“Nowhere yet, but in the end of the year I will travel to Brazil, build a boat and sail the world.”
“Brazil? They will shoot you there.”
“Yes, the possibility is there, but you know me. I will run as quickly as possible.”
“If you were smart, you would run. But I know you and you will stand there and stare at the gun. How long will you be gone?”
“Six years, maybe a littble bit longer. When I come back your highschool will be over and you will be preparing for your Bachelor’s degree.”
“That is a long time. Don’t get drown.”
That was it.

Parents for a long time thought that I am joking. My sense for humor isn’t the best one, but they understood I am serious when I came to visit them with a backpack full of book on boat construction. We didn’t talk much that day. And when my grandma got to know that I will leave, I had a couple of crying phone calls from her how much the world is bad and how can I do such thing to her.

But every good story has a reverse. One of my friends gave me a book he never opened. It was called “Fools on a sail around a world”. I devoured every single word of this piece written by Ivan Orel. So many adventures. And only thing they did was a decision and hard work. It took me over a month before I asked myself a question.
“Where did the Victoria end up?”
And my search started. It didn’t take long time and I found it. I was looking on a picture of the ship in a tropical paradise when it came to me. My heartbeat skyrocketed and I felt adrenalin pumping into my blood. I held my breath and my brain started to work. After few seconds that felt like a week was decided. I will not build my boat in Brazil and I will not sail around the world. It will be Martinique and I will put my sould into the Victoria.

Then it was quick. I wrote and mail to Joseph, man in charge, bought flight tickets and started daydreaming about the beauty of sailing. Time was passing and my head was always in the clouds. Not only at the workplace they recognized I am not there in my mind. But they didn’t mind, they listened patiently to my stories about the voyages of Victoria.

Saying goodbye was quick. I couldn’t wait and my legs were agead of me, running towards a adventure. I boarded a plane that took me to Paris and then next one carrying me over the ocean, to the Martinique.

I got out of the plane deeply inhaling wet and hot air. In the matter of hours I got from winter with snow drifts and temperatures a lot below zero degrees (Celsius, not Kelvin) to the tropical weather of 30°C. I always thought that my story will begin here, with my first step on Martinique. But to this day I am not sure when I started to live my story. But I was here, on Martinique. Just a couple of hours from the first night on Victoria.

The amount of hormones in my blood multiplied my experience. It was deep night and my hunter instincts woke up. Travelling with dinghy was an epic journey of a prince travelling through dark and deep forest to his castle. Everything was bigger, everything was more colorful and time was passing slower. With deep expectations I was looking at all the masts around telling myself that the next mast will be it. We were passing ten boats, twenty, then fifty. I stopped counting. Then we got to the point where all the boats were behind and we were flying towards stronger and stronger waves. We turned left behind a tip of the island and started to aim at the mangroves. I got a little bit nervous and looked back. Captain Joseph still had a smile on his face and that was a good sign. He slowed down, but not enough to stop before we hit mangroves. I was starting to prepare for impact when I saw it. One hundred meters away, behind the mangroves. The must. It is surely Victoria’s must. In the last moment ḿangroves opened up and small transit appeared. We passed only with a small bump and infront of us cove apperead with Victoria by right hand.

I do not remember entering the boat, but I remember smiling faces and welcome drink. We talked for a few hours and then went to sleep. It was night full of mosquitos. The way as all other nights were.

Following days were difficult. I was many times by the sea, but never on the boat. Joseph taught me everything from scratch. We were working from sunrise to sunset. Only couple of days were off and we went travelling around the island. Then people starting to leave. Firstly it was Iva and Zdeněk that came the same day as I did. however, couple of days later we had a new member. But sadly he left just a few days later. That’s how Peter left. Couple more days and Venca and Lubo left. Then there were only three of us. Joseph, Maribel and me. And in matter of days they were leaving as well. I felt desperate, not ready, in the beginning, but I knew I can figure out. In the last minute I was informed that I will not stay alone.

Day before Joseph and Maribel left, Jaro and Janka arrived. They came here for annual holiday. With them, Victoria wasn’t only work, but also fun. I like to remember time spent with them, even thought we didn’t do as muh work as we could.

Today also Jaro and Janka left and I am on the boat alone.

I am Andrew and my story begins now.