We were sitting at a small black metal table outside the airport in Culebra. Erik was tapping away on the laptop and I was watching a chicken that kept fanning her feathers at him. “She’s flirting with you, “ I mused. Erik rolled his eyes. We were keeping an eye out for an official looking border patrol guy to come in so we could pay for a decal required in U.S. waters. Details.
Then I saw him. Black baseball cap. Black sunglasses. Black short-sleeved button up shirt. Black pants tucked into thick black boots and a black holster housing a black gun at his hip. “I think this is our guy, “ I said. Erik snapped the laptop shut and stood up.
We stepped into the air conditioned border patrol office a moment later. Without his hat and shades we saw officer B. had silky brown hair and rosy cheeks. He invited us in and advised us on the use of out-of-date contract lenses. He’d stopped at home to look up the information for himself. That’s why he was late getting back from his rounds. As we filled in our paper work and Erik put Writer in the occupation line, Officer B. confessed he wrote poetry in college. Love poems. Gabriel Garcia Marques is his favorite, but of course…Neruda. Who can deny Neruda? He read in English and Spanish, but let’s be honest, Spanish liberates love by giving it a different name for every nuance unlike English where we love a slice of pizza and a person with the same word.
Officer B. kindly offered to FAX our decal application. Suddenly, I noticed he was brandishing a serrated buck knife. My seat scraped against the cold tiled floor as I instinctively moved away from the knife. My nervous laugh wrapped around the word, “Wow!” Erik looked up from his binder and saw the knife. Officer B., noting our surprise, innocently showed us he was merely removing the staple from our application. Then he rattled off the names of his favorite beaches and gave us directions to the best place for tacos. He also advised us to steer clear of the street next to the airport because that’s where the drugs are sold. “It’s so annoying,” he said. I bet. We waved goodbye to our new favorite knife wielding, poem writing border patrolling good guy and thought…People are amazing!
In lieu of a picture with Mr. Border Patrol - glimpses of Culebra. I could live here!
The next morning we woke up in a different spot than we fell asleep. We realized we had dragged anchor in the rainstorm that night. This was confirmed by Don and Janice on Plane to Sea. They shouted across the water to say, "You dragged last night. We had our bumpers out in case you hit. We shined lights on your boat and shouted to you, but you must have slept through the whole thing!" Luckily, Bill and Mary on the monohull anchored behind us had dragged to or we would have woken up in a different boat than we went to sleep in. None of the three boats, the two that dragged and the one we dragged past. Whew! That would have been awkward. As it was, we got to meet these thoroughly delightful people with Texas accents and Texas hospitality. Don and Janice have retired from firefighting and health services respectively, but they are not retiring from life. Setting out to cruise the world, they were surprised to find themselves buying beach front property in Puerto Rico. After renovating and renting out rooms there, they were taking a two week sailing break with friends in Culebra. Thanks to their Chris Parker weather reports, we knew we had to jump on a weather window to the Bahamas, but we were sorry to leave our new friends. We formed a bond. People are amazing!