Friday, October 9, 2009

Croatian Sunsets and Pirate Ships

I am glad I stayed in Zadar, it is a beautiful city. A romantic place full of picturesque sunsets and cozy cafes along old streets. Aye but vast bodies of water tend to get my blood flowing so maybe it was being reunited with the sea that captivated me.

I boarded an old pirate boat. A tour around the islands, Kornati and the National Park there.

The sea lapped at the walls surrounding the old city as we set sail. It was early but were greeted with by a tall man with a striped shirt and a friendly face, our captain, a pirate. First things first, even though it was barely past 8am in the morning, we started with a shot of Rakia, the local moonshine. This particular variety was reminiscent of diesel fuel with a plum finish. I believe Rakia is about 80% alcohol and can easily knock an unsuspecting landlubber on their ass.

The helm was made of wood and looked as you would imagine an old steering wheel to look like. Varnished wood with knobs sticking out of a central circle. The feel of the helm felt right in my hands. I accepted the opportunity to navigate that pirate ship through the waters off the coast of Croatia. I accepted my place as captain.

I poured over the chart which had our course laid out and maneuvered us between small islands leaving a snake shaped ripples in our wake. We were sailing to Kornati and I had as my crew a random assortment of Europeans. Germans, Sweedish, Polish, Croats, Spanish, a guy from Hong Kong and me, the pirate from Hawaii at the helm.

The snug weight of a captains hat rested on my head. I wore it like a crown. King of the ocean. I would be a benevolent dictator. Protecting the natural resources and winning the hearts of my subjects with charm and kind leadership. Ahh but those are daydreams for another time. There is the sea to explore and a job to be done.

Salty sea air rushed past and the taste of wine lingered on my lips as my grasp tightened around the helm. Yes once again I find myself at home.

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