It was a private hire. The four of us to visit the more secluded
inlets around the coast for a day of sun, sea and relaxation. The two
of us had made the same voyage last year ,on the same boat with the
same captain and had enjoyed it so much we wanted our daughter and son
in law to have the same experience. It wasn’t to be.
When we clambered aboard the captain showed no signs of
recognising us from last year despite are regular communication on
Face Book. It took ages to set sail as the captain and his young crew
member struggled to raise the anchor. It was an indication of things
to come when I innocently enquired if their was a problem to receive a
terse “ no -no problem” in response. We headed out to sea in silence.
After 35 minutes we anchored in a picturesque cove with no-one
else about except a small yacht a hundred yards off to starboard. It
was mid morning and already hot so we dived straight in for a
refreshing swim. We gathered a discreet distance from the boat and
checked out whether we had all detected an “atmosphere “ on board. We
were apologetic explaining that last year we had sailed with the
captain, his wife and their young son and everything had been all
smilies, the family keen to share with us their plans for this new
venture and the little boy playing in the sea with us as we swam round
the boat. Some one suggested the captain looked like and was behaving
like he had a hang over, drawing attention to the over flowing crate
of empty beer cans at the back of the boat but these could have been
from the previous day’s trip.
Back on board and the captain and mate were drinking coffee. They
did not offer us any so my wife asked for one. Coffee provided I said
last year your wife gave us a cake she had backed, is there cake
today. “No”. You don’t seem very happy is something
wrong? “No” Do you remember us from last year , showing
him a picture on my wife’s phone of us with his son and another with
him and his wife. “Yes of course I remember”. You were chattier
last year. “ Some guests prefer quiet, some like to talk. I
don’t know what they want”. Last year you seemed happier you smiled
a lot more. “ I am tired it’s nearing the end of a long season.
Doing the same thing every day is tiring”. But it’s beautiful here,
a great view, the sea is calm, it’s hot and sunny, we have the place
almost to our self. “Yes but if you see the same view every day,
no matter how beautiful you get fed up with it.” Where would you
rather be? ” I want to go off in a caravan “. With you wife
and son? “ No - just me”. This conversation took place whilst he
was lying on his front, elbows propping up his head smoking a
cigarette under a large No Smoking sign.
My wife returned from the head(toilet) complaining of a
disgusting smell and no toilet paper, in keeping with the general
neglected appearance of both the boat and its captain.
We stuck it out but it was clear that everything was not right.
The captain’s behaviour showed many of the characteristics of someone
suffering from depression just showing that even in an idyllic setting
with glorious weather and a life style the envy of most holiday
makers mental health is not guaranteed.
Blair Mcpherson www.blairmcpherson.co.uk