Gibraltar marina, where things begin to unravel.
All’s fair in love and sailing.
Apart from the fact that I have never garrotted anyone or chopped anyone’s head off (honest) the main difference between Ferdinand Magellan and me is our respective attitudes towards women. When Magellan married Beatriz at a high ceremony in the church of Santa Maria de la Victoria in Triana he received a dowry of 600,000 maravedis, a considerable amount. When I married Robin I paid for the hire of our yacht club’s function room and the fee of the marriage celebrant who was an atheist like the rest of us. Magellan forbade Beatriz to set foot aboard his ship. I was only too happy to welcome Robin aboard Wathara, as the spider said to the fly.
This is obviously a reversal in the relationship between men and women in the space of a mere 500 years. It’s less than the blink of an eye in the inertial frame of reference described by Albert Einstein in the 20th century. Magellan proved the world is round not flat. Einstein proved that space and time are bent, so what does 500 years amount to?
Holy shit! She should have been keelhauled for wrecking the boat, never mind a property settlement. She had already been given cash and property exceeding anything she owned before the marriage. I got on the phone to my solicitor in Sydney, who informed me the bank account had already been frozen.
“What a load of crap. How am I supposed to live? She was just a crew member who liked to fuck.”
“She is also your wife.”
“What a mistake that was. Fifty thousand dollars! Regard that a-postiori as the dowry that was never paid when we got married.”
“Dowries are rather out of fashion, I’m afraid.”
“I’m just an old fashioned kind of bloke. I mean, I’m here to investigate the life of a man who lived 500 years ago. Magellan would have straightened her out.”
Living aboard a yacht puts a marriage in a special category. She always claimed she was not a women’s libber. She never once complained about being called out of her bunk in the middle of the night to stand watch or change sails in howling wind, rain and rough seas, but she objected to washing the dishes. She offered to do oil changes on the engine, she would paint and varnish, repair sails and make fancy rope work. She had a charming smile and a delightful laugh that endeared her to strangers but, really, the only thing we had in common was the love of sailing. When that began to pall after the shipwreck, then the hard sail against strong headwinds in the Red Sea, then the equally frustrating calms in the Mediterranean, we had nothing left. I knew I was going to miss her, the bitch, but when it comes to a choice between a woman and my boat the outcome is clear. To top it off, Bucko fell overboard one day while I was away and drowned in the marina because he couldn’t climb out. Shit happens.