Just the other day Charlie was busy going over the safety equipment on a yacht tied to the dock when a huge commotion erupted nearby. A little old lady was standing on the dock crying uncontrollably and was in a most distraught state of mind. A pretty young staff member of the charter yacht company was trying to console her but with little effect. It turned out that son-in-law had left mother-in law on the dock and sailed off without her.
Half an hour later all was well. After frantic VHF communications the boat returned to the dock and retrieved the poor woman. It was all a big mistake – son-in-law thought mother-in-law was resting below in her cabin whereas in fact she had stepped ashore to use the toilet facilities.
It seemed that everything had returned to normal when they departed a second time but raised voices could be heard as they rounded the bend out of the marina. Now, there are ways to deal with uncomfortable situations. Charlie would have just explained that the waters in the channel can get lumpy and at least three Dramamine tablets would ensure no violent eruptions of breakfast. Then all would be serenity itself as mother-in-law slid into a coma.
In this particular case the trip, after such an inauspicious start, rapidly went downhill. Apparently differences of opinion led to violent arguments that might have turned even uglier if the son-in-law hadn't finally conceived a plan. At Trellis Bay, mother-in-law was ferried ashore in the dinghy to buy a couple of missing grocery items and was also informed not to miss the wonderful souvenirs at the artsy shops. The lady returned to rejoin the tender for transportation back to her yacht, but instead found her bag – with a note attached: "Big storm forecast. Get on the first plane out! Love you to bits! Son-in-law." She looked out into the bay and there was the boat steaming out of the anchorage at a fair rate of knots.
It was exactly as Charlie would have done and he wondered at the weird conundrums of telepathy.
Mother-in-law informed the charter base and explained the situation. The yacht was steaming back to the base for safety due to the impending storm and she was already at the airport. The workers at the base were perplexed; nothing but blue skies were on the horizon. At the end of the week the boat returned with a suntanned, happy crew. "I see you weathered the storm," said Charlie as he helped them tie up.
Julian Putley is the author of "The Drinking Man's Guide to the BVI," "Sunfun Calypso," and "Sunfun Gospel."