Thursday, January 12, 2012

Beautiful Serendipity

Captain Scott at the helm of Diamant


The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: "a fortunate stroke of serendipity".
A lot of you wrote wondering how Scott got his job with Island Windjammers...

It's actually a pretty cool story, but first I have a not-so-little anecdote...

The other day, a friend and I were talking about the Universe and how - when you are on the right path - things fall into place almost seamlessly.  On the other hand - if you are not on the right path, you might find you are coming against obstacle after obstacle and maybe just maybe something doesn't feel 'right'.  I have countless examples of this happening in my life - from both sides of the fence.

When my college roommate and I were driving to Key West, Florida one spring break, for example, I had this deep down, super eerie gut feeling we weren't going to get there.  Of course I ignored it.  There were beer bongs to be had and tans to be gotten!  Upon leaving, about a hundred things went wrong; phones went missing, credit cards were lost, items forgotten... little things like that.  Looking back, these were all signs to 'stop'.  The Universe was trying to tell us something, I believe that wholeheartedly.  Of course, being nineteen and invincible we plowed past these roadblocks armed with Dunkin' Donuts coffee and No-Doze.  Not ten hours later we were in a horrific car crash where we skidded across three lanes of traffic on a highway, rolled twice and ended up hitting a tree in a ditch on the side of the road.  The paramedics had to use the "jaws of life" to get us out of my completely totaled Ford Explorer and told us that it was nothing short of a miracle that we were alive.  I've never been the same since that day.  I learned something about instincts, about trusting your gut and believing in the Universe.  It truly will guide you if you are receptive to it.  Unfortunately, most people are not observant enough and pay no mind to (or don't even see) these signs.  Ever since that day, however,  I honed in on that channel and have been tuning in ever since.

How Scott got his gig with Island Windjammers is another such story, albeit one with a much more pleasant outcome.

As we were sailing down island taking stock of our finances, we realized we were going to need more money sooner than later.  We've always known we would need to work along the way, so this was no big deal.  I was making a pittance with the blog and other online gigs I have, but Scott wanted more.  He started emailing marinas, boat yards, crew forums and marine chandleries looking for work over the hurricane season.  He also sent a blind email out to every single charter and/or cruise company offering his services and he got a reply about a position for a deckhand on a tall ship that was based out of Port Louis Marina.  Ironically enough, we had just decided that was the marina we would be living after confirmation of sponsorship and a great deal on berthing.  That was the first sign that we were on the right path.

Scott emailed back and forth with the owner of the company a few times, and while she was very kind and accommodating, it didn't really seem like it would pan out.  However, she mentioned going to the boat, Diamant, once we got to the marina, checking it out, and meeting Captain Matt.  Scott said we would.  If you hadn't noticed, when Scott really wants something - he doesn't give up easily.  He'll continue to pursue whatever it is he is after even if it seems like a dead end.  To him, there is always a way up or around a road block.  It's one of the things I love most about him, where there is a will there is a way.

Meanwhile, we kept making our way South to Grenada.  One evening, we dropped the hook in Mayreau and were enjoying a cocktail during sunset when all of a sudden a beautiful tall ship pulled in and anchored right next to us.  "I think that's the Diamant " Scott said as he grabbed the binoculars.  It was, in fact, Diamant. "It's a sign!" he exclaimed.  We sat in the cockpit admiring the boat,  excitedly dreaming up how wonderful it would be if Scott could work on her.  Sign number two.

When we finally got to Port Louis Marina here in Grenada - we walked over to Diamant.  Captain Matt was there and Scott made an introduction and said that he was interested in the deck-hand position.  "Oh, you don't want to be a deckhand.  That's chump change" Matt began, " You want to be a captain.  If you really want to make some money, get your captain's license and then come talk to us".  Scott nodded and listened to Matt's reasoning.  We left a little discouraged because not only was the deckhand pay not bad (I mean, when you have no income any income is good!) but to get a Captain's license just seemed so far away and involved.  Scott just wanted some temporary work.  We walked back to the boat, jobless and a little bummed out.

A seed, however, had been planted (sign three if you are keeping track)...

We returned to the US for five weeks during the summer to stand up in two weddings and visit family and friends.  Scott kept rolling this captain idea around in his head.  "I think I should get my Captain's license.  There's a course in Michigan that coincides perfectly with our timing...what do you think?"  Of course it was a no brainer, I said go for it.  We got our money together, Scott signed up for the course and before we returned to Grenada three weeks later, he had passed his exam and was on the fast track to Captain-dom.

Things started to happen upon our return to Grenada.  The president of the company, Liz, emailed Scott asking him if he would sign on as relief deckhand and simultaneously offered us a free trip on the boat beforehand to see what IWJ was all about.  The answer to both was a resounding yes!  We had a fantastic time on the trip and within a few weeks, Scott was working as a deckhand.

After seeing what a great worker Scott was and how well he fit in with the culture and crew, Liz said she would like to take a chance on newbie Scott to be their relief captain once his license came through.  If you haven't noticed, his boss is an incredible woman.  Not many people would take a chance on a such "green" captain who'd never piloted a boat over 55 feet, but Liz is not most people.  She's been around the block a few times when it comes to captains and she's dealt with her fair share of "Captain Ron's" with mile-long resumes who brought with them nothing but problems.  The way she tells it, she figured "What the hell? Why not try the other way?"  We were ecstatic!  Sign four!

Getting the actual license was a bit of a scramble due to the bureaucracy of the whole thing - but Liz and Scott never lost hope and kept plugging away, again despite seemingly impossible odds.  We were working against the clock.  Liz, incidentally, is another woman who's tuned into the Universe and, while I was frantic trying to get everything in order while Scott was away training on the boat, she was cool as a cucumber.  Despite Scott being license-less not a week away from when he was scheduled to take over the ship, she simply said, "I'm not worried at all.  It will all work out".  Girl's got some zen, that is for sure.

Anyway - his license obviously came through (though it was only mere days before he took the helm) and we all know the end of this story.  It was incredible.  I have never been so proud (and relieved).

It's hard to believe that it was only six months ago that Scott and I gazed at Diamant lying at anchor next to us, dreaming and scheming about what it would be like to work on her - and here we are.  He's been working on her thirteen of the past nineteen weeks and has loved every minute.  To say we are thankful doesn't describe our gratitude.  I have a very good feeling that this is only the beginning of what will be a wonderful working relationship.

Moral of the story:  Once you make up your mind, the Universe really does align itself for you.  Granted, you have to be willing to do a lot of work and must be an active participant to make things happen for yourself - but if you can listen to the voice within and pay close attention to the signs that whisper "keep on going" you will get where you need to go.  It will happen.  It's amazing.

All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.  
- Swami Vivekanada


Travis and Maggie said...

Its so simple and maybe that's why most people miss it. Just follow your intuition. The more you do the stronger it becomes. Happy for you both!

Maisis said...

Neat story.

:) However, from this post and others you've made in the past, my gut seems to be telling mesomething as well, and I think its saying I really don't ever want to find myself riding shotgun while you drive. :)

Windtraveler said...

@Maisis - haha - but I was not driving! My roommate was, and she fell asleep at the wheel. While my speeding record is not so good, my accident record is squeaky clean!

Robert Salnick said...

I too have come to this same conclusion, tho I have never worded it so eloquently. If it feels like the everything is against you... it is. Stop. Re-evaluate.

And when you are going the right way, it is like sailing on a beam reach on flat water, going with the current. Yes!

(And by the way, I have found that there are days when I should not try to do complex things... everything seems to go wrong. Same resolution: STOP. Try again another day.)

s/v Eolian

Carolyn Shearlock said...

Summer of 2001, we planned a trip to the Middle East in January 2002. That got cancelled days after 9/11 -- and we did a 2-month camping trip through Baja instead. Along the way, we looked at the beautiful cruising boats took pictures of gorgeous harbors and the boats anchored in them.

In La Paz, we met Maggie, a cruiser, who suggested we use our airline tickets to do a trip to Turkey, one of her favorite countries. We did, it was fantastic.

While in Turkey, we talked about Maggie and other cruisers we'd met in Baja and decided to get serious about getting a cruising boat, planning to head to the Caribbean.

One day, instead of searching US boats in, I hit North America. The perfect boat was in Puerto Vallarta.

Without our camping trip, we never would have considered buying a boat in Mexico. But we did.

Nine months later we crossed the Sea of Cortez. We anchored, the only boat in the cove. Ten minutes later, a second boat came in.

It was Maggie on her boat. We had a wonderful time getting reacquainted.

A couple of months later, we anchored off Juncalito, just north of Puerto Escondido. We went with some other cruisers into Loreto and stopped along the road to take photos of our boats in the harbor.

Yes, on our camping trip, we'd stopped at the same pullout and taken pictures of the pretty boats.

Just coincidence . . . or signs that we were doing the right thing?

Windtraveler said...

Thanks for the comments guys - I love that so many of you are "like minded" :) Carolyn - that story is INCREDIBLE. I love it. Yep, definitely a sign!! It's amazing the people you come into contact with for but a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things, and yet they end up changing your life forever. Incredible.

RumShopRyan said...

Great story about following your heart...and the signs! I agree, Liz is a great person with a sharp business mind. My time on the Diamant was magical. The crew, the boat, the friends environment like that just breeds memories.


Mid-Life Cruising! said...

Great story, and so true! Love the quote at the end as well. It is often ourselves that stand in the way!

Anonymous said...

Needed to read this today, thank you!

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