Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 24 Nov 2017 12am

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    Thursday, November 23, 2017-3:51:31A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Variety Features

Sailing slowly

A COUPLE of weeks ago, I accepted an invitation to go sailing in one of the boats peacefully tied to the dock of Smiling Cove Marina.

Photos by Raquel C. BagnolThe bright afternoon sun was scalding, but it was one adventure I was not willing to forego, sunburn or no sunburn. At the marina, I finally had the chance to walk on the floating docks.

At the end of the dock, wedged  between two other sailboats was the Zen, owned by my friend Matt from NMC. I eyed the boat doubtfully. There were six of us, and it was not a big vessel.  Honestly though, I was more concerned for my camera, since I forgot to bring a plastic cover for it.

My friend Donna maneuvered the sailboat smoothly out of the cove and toward the open water of the Saipan lagoon. Matt and Jason started unfurling the sails and suddenly the wind caught them —which took me by surprise. The sailboat tilted to a precarious angle that alarmed me. I had boarded boats of different kinds, some amid the angriest of waves in the Pacific. I even survived an inflatable boat ride in Saipan’s choppy waters, but this time was different. I was not prepared to  drown with my new camera, for which I had saved up a lot of money to be able to afford.

Matt removed one of the sails and the boat went upright again, but the waters were not calm.

With only single ropes acting as handholds, it was quite challenging having to jump to the other side whenever the boat tilted and you had to maintain your balance so as not to fall off. But all this added to the thrill.

As the trip was unplanned, Matt didn’t have a GPS to guide us, so we just sailed back and forth in the lagoon, enjoying the view and watching schools of fish swimming near the boat.

An hour later, we were rewarded with one of nature’s gifts: a spectacular sunset, which we captured with our cameras. When the last rays of the sun were tucked beneath the horizon, we slowly made our way back to the dock.

The boats offering sunset dinner cruises for tourists and locals were also approaching. From a distance, we could see the passengers of the Stars and Stripes waving at us while dancing on the deck.

I jumped on the floating dock of the marina after the boat was securely tied, legs shaking but glad for the experience.