Over the years Charlie has had many types of guests on board his various charters. There have been all sexual orientations, alcoholics, perverts, pirates, party animals, naturalists, historians, marine scientists, divers, watersports lovers and wannabe adventurers… to name just a few. A few weeks ago Charlie had a different category.
There was a mum and a dad, three sons, a male friend and female relative. Not an unusual mix really, but the boys, in their 20s, were decorated with tattoos, in one case from head to toe. Hair styles were in various shades of blonde, pink, blue and brown with partings in odd places. The family was from the midwest and had not a clue on provisioning. They had brought a couple of boxes of steaks, being from beef country – but that was about it. They stocked up on hot dogs, white sliced bread, oodles of snacks, coffee, fizzy drinks and peanut butter. Not a fruit or vegetable in sight. They were a scurvy bunch all right; and from their dietary choices, scurvy would be ready to break out by the end of the week.
By the second day the BVI’s Baths was on the itinerary and Charlie gave the leader of the assorted bunch detailed instructions on how to run the dinghy so they could tie it up properly to the mooring line, swim ashore and enjoy one of the Caribbean’s premier attractions. Reluctantly the youths managed to pull their noses out of their cell phones for the first time. As they headed to their destination the mum called out to Charlie, ‘Help yourself from the fridge if you’re hungry.’ Charlie waved back – and yes, he was hungry – a hot dog on a piece of white bread was the sum total of the day’s intake of victuals. Charlie opened the fridge and to his dismay it was almost empty. But in the back was a large bag of trail mix – an assortment of peanuts, raisins, dried cranberries and bits of chocolate. Charlie dived in and after devouring about three handfuls he noticed some small pieces of white chocolate – his favorite. He picked out several chunks and as his appetite diminished a dizzy feeling developed. ‘Oh no,’ thought Charlie, ‘I hope I’m not becoming allergic to peanuts.’ As time went by the dizziness got worse and hallucinations developed – sheets and halyards turned into snakes writhing in the wind. The sparkling sea became frightening flashes and the gently rocking boat took on an ominous foreboding of a sinking vessel.
Eventually the happy guests came back and Charlie tried to act as normal as possible. After mentioning his predicament and how a sudden allergy had overtaken him, Tattoo One quietly admitted that the trail mix had been laced with LSD ‘and whatever you do, don’t eat more than a couple of spoon-fulls, especially the white chocolate.’
It took all of Charlie’s concentration to sail to a safe anchorage (downwind under genoa alone) and to anchor with double the required rode. He immediately retired to his cabin and did not emerge for the next 30 hours.