From left; Sista Rachael, Jes-sea Rae, and me in Panama 2011
I don’t have any sisters by blood, but this life has provided me with a beautiful bouquet of amazing woman though out the years. These are ladies who’ve gone beyond friends. Who’ve shown up at just the right moments to share and experience the current with me, there to help steer, encourage, and inspire. They are the gals with whom I’ve shared my deepest thoughts, giggles, and awe-mazing moments. And they have shared their, wisdom, love, families, and beautiful presence with me. They are all exceptional in their own ways, you all know who you are, please know you are very much loved and appreciated by me.
This particular post is about just two of these ladies, Jes-sea Rae and Sista Rachael my sailing soul sisters if you will. They have already been mentioned here and will un-doughtily be mentioned quite often so I figure I should give them a proper introduction. Jessie Rae or Jes-sea as I like to spell it, is a Floridian Eskimo. Sounds like an oxymoron but it’s true, her mother’s full blood Inuit and her fathers a Florida boy. No wonder she’s a master fisherwoman who’s got a green thumb that’d make a bird of paradise bloom in the desert. Girl walks around with herbs stuffed in her pockets, a braid always in her hair and her eyes on constant observer mode. On land or sea at she knows how to fashion a meal and some basic comforts with whatever she’s got. As a sailor she’s got more miles under her keel than most sailors I know, our age or not. She spent about three years hopping from boat to boat, crewing deliveries, gaining certifications and a whole lot of experience along the way. The girl’s sailed all over the Caribbean, the Atlantic, both American and European sides as well as a-crossed the pond, she has made it as far as Madagascar on her ventures. It’s not surprising that when I randomly met her just weeks after I began sailing I was instantly captivated by her. At the time we met she had just returned to St. Augustine after her 3-years adrift and was laying plans to go to England to get her Yacht Masters certification. I was determined to soak up as much knowledge and influence as I possibly could before she left. Luckily she didn’t mind, she liked my enthusiasm and we became quick friends. A week later she introduced me to her friend, Rachael.
Known throughout Jacks Beach and St. Augustine as Sista Rachael for her Reggae singing, long blond dreads, and sultry attitude this girl’s a whole lot more than just a soulful voice and a fine behind. Girl’s got the kind of brains and raw energy that makes the seemingly impossible plausible. I’m talking all kinds of smart, book smart, street smart, I’m overachieving before I’ve had my coffee smart. There’s something about Rachael, some would call it luck some would call it charm, me, I think she may just be magic. She’s got a way of finding the most amazingly beneficial, but completely unheard of situations. Case in point for the last year plus Rachael’s been “managing” Paramour a 38 ft. West Wind Vagabond sailboat. Through a series of curious events this boat pretty much landed right in her lab. I will have to tell the tail of Paramour at another time, it is interesting and full of strange one-thing leads to another events. Now Paramour is not hers, but she is welcome to live aboard it, to sail it whenever she likes, in exchange for maintaining the boat, not at her expense but at the owners. Basically she has a big beautiful blue water boat to play around and learn on at no expense to her self, oh yea and a place to live rent-free. See what I mean? Of course this won’t last forever Paramour is for sale but I’m sure by the time that bridge falls into the sea Rachael will be half way across her next unimaginably bridge that appeared as soon as needed.
Now the three of us don’t get together often, distance, busy schedules, all the details of life keep us warped up in our own worlds. But in the fleeting moments in which our paths do intercept there is such an intense energy of joy, confidence, camaraderie, and love it feels as if we’re some unstoppable force capable of anything. And while we’re not always sailing, jumping ship, commandeering dinghies, washing up on tropical islands, sneaking into places we wish were free, slaying fish or drinking out of coconuts it always feels like an adventure when we’re together. Even when all we conquer is a bottle of rum and a silent night, our laughter and song ringing out for all to hear.
We are Trece Amigas, sailing sisters three, the only lasses ever known to be saltier than the sea.