18 Jan What are the Chances??
What are the Chances??
If texts could talk the one I received at 0330am two days ago would have been shouting. Someone thought Seaburban was the yacht they had crewed on when Seaburban, then Artisan, was moved from the Med to the Caribbean.
I know precious little about Seaburban’s previous lives save from what a box of receipts and bills can tell you. In that pile there is an invoice for an Isomat boom that was shipped to Malta. I knew Seaburban had been in the Med.
The person texting wondered if there was a secret compartment in the main bulkhead forward of the mast. Indeed there is and indeed, this was the yacht. What are the chances of that? Small right?
Excitedly I asked Leah to forward my Iridium email to this person so we could compare notes. How fun! A chapter in One of Seaburban’s past lives come to light. Present troubles and challenges evaporates as I wondered aloud what I might learn.
Leah answered immediately with no need to forward an email. He’s looking at you right now. He’s in Stanley!
There are words that should be uttered so infrequently that one can never be accused of hyperbole. Here’s one: gobsmacked. I was well and truly gobsmacked.
At what is one of the more isolated places on the planet, 1 of the perhaps 3 or 4 people who have crewed on Seaburban at some time in her 32 year career is looking at me right now. And I am not even supposed to be here. What are the chances of that happening?
The chances are, in fact, so infinitesimally small as to be zero. You’re odds of winning the 649 lottery back home are about a thousand times greater. Translated, the odds of winning the 649 Lottery one thousand times and running into Grant Munro in Port Stanley are about equal.
Mr. Grant Munro helped sail the yacht Artisan across the Atlantic and through the Caribbean back in 1991. Having helped antifoul Artisan before her Atlantic crossing all those years ago, the yacht’s rather distinctive cutaway forefoot had been stamped into his memory. Now, close to 30 years later, he was looking at that same forefoot plunging up and down in the chop in Stanley harbour.
Thinking his memory might be playing tricks, Grant went looking for some pictures of that trip in an old photo album that his parents had maintained. Sure enough, some deck and interior details clinched it. Seaburban and Artisan were one and the same yacht.
I couldn’t wait to meet Grant. I sent an email to Jenny Smith at Customs and Immigration and asked what could be done. I emailed my sister, called my Father, and texted anyone else who I figured was awake back home.
I emailed Grant and invited him aboard pending a response from Customs. I was so darn excited I forgot to put my missing tooth back in.
A couple of hours later, I think I hear something astern. Poking my toothless, disheveled mug out the companionway, some hardy soul wearing a dry suit has paddled an inflatable kayak out to Seaburban. It is none other than Grant Munro come knocking on Seaburban’s counter after a 30 year hiatus.
It is, I think to myself, exactly how some hardy soul would make his way out here. If he had swum out I would not have any less surprised. It’s that kind of place.
Questions tumble out of my mouth as I try to learn something of Seaburban’s history, something about Grant and his path firstly to Artisan and then to the Falklands, try to apologize for the mess in the cabin and for what must be an olfactory offence second only to a pig farm.
Grant graciously brushes aside any apologies with a smile and patiently answers a fusillade of questions. I discover he is a kindred soul: At home in faraway places, capable, and not at all fussy. He is articulate and soft-spoken and It is easy to see how the owners of Artisan took him on as crew and friend.
Our gam is too short-lived and as I watch him paddle back to shore, expertly crabbing what looks to be nothing more this an inner-tube against a 25 knot breeze, I am struck by the string of incredible coincidences that created this moment. Being here, the crazy chop exposing Seaburban’s lines, how the photo album ended up back in Grant’s possession, the Facebook pictures, all of it. It is beyond improbable lurking somewhere well past astronomical.
It is one of this trips most treasured moments to date. Something I will never forget. Something like the way Grant remembered Seaburban’s forefoot.
Follow my tracks in real-time: