“You really are weird,” Joel said, while trying to catch Trevor’s heel with a shopping cart.
“Yeah right... What have I done now?” Trevor asked, pushing his own cart harder to keep his feet clear of Joel’s cart.
“Nothing in particular, it’s just something that needs saying often,” Joel replied, snickering and flipping Trevor off for good measure.
“Remind me to get that anchor for your neck,” Trevor shot back, and then he darted ahead, running with the cart.
Trevor and Joel pushed the shopping carts across the frontage road and onto the small boat ramp, and Joel glanced down at the Zodiac. “This is going to take a while,” he said, jumping into the boat.
It took a few minutes, but with Trevor handing the groceries out of the carts and Joel stowing them, the Zodiac was soon loaded.
Trevor glanced at the empty carts. “I’ll run these back and get your coins,” Trevor said, pushing the carts together and taking off with them at a jog.
When Trevor returned, he shoved the Zodiac off the ramp. Jumping in, he fired up the outboard and motored directly out from the shore. After a hundred yards and seeing the huge freighters on his right and the Rock directly astern, Joel asked, “Uh, aren’t you going the wrong way? Maybe you need a navigator.”
Trevor laughed and pointed at the breakwater ahead. “I’ll give you your first navigating lesson; boats don’t go over land so we’ve got to go around that then head north to the yacht channel. We’ve got about a mile and a half to go.”
“I hope you checked your gas,” Joel asked.
Trevor shrugged. “Hey, you said you wanted to do some swimming workouts, right? Towing me, the groceries, and the Zodiac back to Atlantis would be a good one.”
Joel shook his head and laughed. “Yeah, that would be fun, especially with all these big ships around to run us down. So, any ideas on where we head after Gibraltar?”
Trevor arched an eyebrow. “I thought you told me not to tell you anything about that until after you talked to your folks?”
“Since when do you ever listen to me?” Joel replied. “I’m just curious... are we going to be at sea for most of my trip, or anchored near land?”
“It’s about two thousand miles to the other end of the Med, and Cyprus is only a few hundred miles from Suez. The winds are forecast to be pretty good right now in the western Mediterranean, so we’d average about ten knots, which is about two hundred and fifty miles a day, or eight days to get to the eastern Med. Add some time for delays and I’m thinking ten days to two weeks cruising time, and the rest of it anchored or in port. I won’t tell you where because I don’t know. What I do have is Internet access from the local yacht club, so I was thinking that tonight you and I could do some looking online and pick some stuff. For a rough guess, I’d like to get about halfway across while the winds are good, then we can take our time,” Trevor said.
Joel’s eyes opened wide. “Halfway would be Italy,” he said, and then blinked. “Can we stop there?”
Trevor laughed. “Anywhere you want. Just name a place.”
A slow grin spread across Joel’s face. “I’ll accept that offer, and my pick is Switzerland! Remember, you promised!”
Trevor rolled his eyes. “I kinda meant anywhere that’s on the sea, or maybe a navigable river, you shithead!”
Joel shook his head. “You said anywhere so I took you up on it. But I guess if you’re too chicken to try taking Atlantis overland...”
“I’ll do it, as long as you get out and push,” Trevor replied, while flipping Joel off.
When they reached Atlantis, Trevor hauled the loaded Zodiac up on its davits, which made unloading easy. What proved harder was finding a place for everything.
“Where do you want these cans of hot dogs?” Joel asked, looking around the galley.
“I’ve got one idea, but it’s probably anatomically impossible and I doubt you’d agree anyway,” Trevor said with a laugh, and then pointed at the door of the starboard forward cabin. “Let’s just stow the canned stuff and some of the dry goods in there, it’s right off the galley.”
By the time Trevor and Joel were done, almost every inch of storage space in the galley was packed with food, and the portside forward cabin was loaded with cans, cereal boxes, rice, and several bags full of other foods. Joel pointed at the stuffed galley refrigerator and asked, “Could we put some extra stuff in your bar refrigerator?”
Trevor shook his head. “Nope, I shut it down. Running two fridges was too much of a draw on my power system. I’d have to run the diesel generator too much, and fuel costs a ton over here.”
Joel raised a troubled brow. “What about the beer? It’s hot here and you’re supposed to keep it cold.”
“It’ll keep for a while, but I’ve got to keep the electrical loads low,” Trevor replied.
Joel nodded. “We can’t let it spoil, man. So, I’ll pitch in and drink it, it’s the least I can do.”
Trevor laughed. “I figured you’d be willing to help with that. We have about a case of beer, with no way to get more. There’s whiskey, tequila, vodka, and gin in the bar, plus stuff for making cocktails.”
Joel looked at Trevor and grinned wickedly. “You assume too much. Unlike you, some of us are smart and check the important stuff out online, which I did. According to what I read, Italy has a drinking age of sixteen, so if we stop in Italy we can restock as well as hit some bars.”
Trevor doubled over, laughing hard. “I should have known you’d check out anything to do with alcohol. I’ll bet you checked other countries too.”
Joel shrugged innocently. “Nah, I’m not into alcohol enough to know that we’d be okay to buy and drink in Malta and Greece, too... Which we are, by the way; it’s seventeen in both places.”
“I’ve never been in a bar, that sounds cool. You’re a good tour guide, so maybe I won’t make you walk the plank – yet,” Trevor said.
“And so far you’ve been a good host and captain, so maybe I won’t mutiny – yet,” Joel shot back. He glanced out at the sunset over Gibraltar bay and added, “Just in case things don’t go well with my folks, maybe we better go see some more stuff. I’ll bet the stores will be open for a while, too.”
Snatching up his skateboard, Trevor shook his head sadly and said, “Man, you really are addicted.”
Joel grabbed his board, laughing. “Okay, I still need some shirts but if we’re stopping in Italy, maybe they’ll have better ones there. I just like looking at all the different stuff, doesn’t have to be clothes. I’m actually thinking more about food right now; looking at all those groceries made me hungry and we haven’t eaten in a couple of hours. We’ve got time to kill before I need to call my folks tonight.”
“Sounds good, let’s go,” Trevor said as he locked up.
Feeling slightly shell-shocked, Robert Whitaker dialed.
Bridget answered on the first ring, and Robert said, “Ma’am, my name is Robert Whitaker, and I believe you know my daughter, Lisa. This might sound a bit strange, but she asked me to call you about a murder... Okay, she’s right here, I’ll put her on.” Robert covered the receiver with his hand and said, “She wants your okay to speak with me about it, and to confirm who I am.”
Lisa smiled pleasantly, spoke to Bridget for a few moments, and handed the phone back to her father. Robert found himself mostly listening, as Bridget explained what she’d found.
As the call ended, Bridget asked to speak to Lisa again. After chatting for a couple of minutes, Bridget said goodbye, and Lisa hung up the phone and told her father. “Bridget invited me to play tennis with her and some friends Saturday.”
Robert looked at the business card in his hand and said, “I guess this is all real. Lisa, this could be dangerous. I don’t want you having any contact with Dirk.”
Lisa flipped her hair back. “He has my cell number and he’s called a ton of times but I haven’t spoken to him. I’ve already promised Joel and Trevor that I wouldn’t go anywhere near Trevor’s father. Joel was real insistent.”
Robert arched an eyebrow. “Joel said that? Okay, but be careful, and no more snooping around. Stay away from this, Lisa; it could be bad.”
Lisa shook her head. “All I’ve been doing is going to the library and county courthouse, but I need to do what I can, otherwise Trevor can’t come home until he’s eighteen.” Deciding to change the subject a little, Lisa asked, “Are you still going to call Joel’s parents?”
Robert sighed. “I don’t know. I can sure see why Trevor ran away, but... Joel is in Europe on a runaway’s boat, and this murder situation... I don’t feel right keeping anything from a parent when danger might be involved. If the situation was reversed and it was you over there, I’d certainly want them to tell me.”
Lisa rolled her eyes. “You’ve never even met them, and you don’t like Joel so what do you care? You do know Trevor and he needs a friend right now. As for any danger, that’s only possible because you told Trevor’s father Trev is in Europe and heading for the Mediterranean. I’m just glad I never told you exactly where, or they could be in real trouble.”
Robert looked at his hands, studying them for a moment as he mulled over how to answer. “I don’t dislike Joel, but... I know what you two have been doing, Lisa. I found those boxer shorts under your bed, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how they got there.”
Lisa took a deep breath. “I love Joel, and you and I have had this conversation before. I haven’t denied it; his boxers got under my bed just how you think, and that’s got nothing to do with telling his parents that Trevor is a runaway. Besides, if you tell them, they’ll probably make Joel come home. I can’t have sex with him while he’s in Europe, but I can and will when he’s here.”
Robert stood up. “This is my house and you will NOT do anything like that under my roof!”
Lisa shrugged, affecting more indifference than she felt. “Fine, never under your roof. I’ll go somewhere else.” Lisa paused for a few moments, and then raised her voice. “Dad, if you do this to Joel and Trev, I don’t really care what you think about anything anymore. You know why Trev is on the run. Don’t you care about that?” Lisa yelled.
Shaking his head in exasperation, Robert sat down and replied, “You know I like Trevor, and I’m worried about him. I understand why Joel is over there, and it speaks well of him – of both of you. All right, I see your point about calling Joel’s parents, but Lisa, I’m just worried about you. You and Joel got so close, so fast... You’re so young... It’s like–”
“You and Mom,” Lisa said.
Robert nodded. “That’s part of it. We were younger than you, and we were so sure. But people change, I guess, and she just... shut me out, and you know the rest. You’re too young, Lisa.”
“I’m being safe, Dad, I’m not going to get pregnant like Mom did. Is that why you wouldn’t let me go with Joel, because I’m a girl?”
Robert was silent for nearly a minute, and Lisa waited impatiently, wondering what his response would be. Then Robert answered uneasily, “Yes... no... I... It’s not because you’re a girl, pumpkin, it’s because they’re boys. I know what it’s like to be a boy that age, and you’d be all alone on a boat with two guys, one of them your boyfriend and one your ex-boyfriend. Things could... happen, and–”
Lisa shook her head. “Dad, that’s crazy! For one thing, Trev was never my boyfriend! I’d never... I’d never do anything with anyone other than Joel, and I’m not a damn slut! I can’t believe you’d think I’d–”
Robert held up his hand, “Whoa, I didn’t mean it like that. You and Trevor used to be together all the time. I don’t know what happened, but he’s a guy, Lisa. Trust me on this, guys his age think about girls and sex all the time, and with you there on his boat...”
Clenching her fists in exasperation, Lisa shot back without thinking, “Trev is my best friend, and he set Joel and me up together! Trevor would never... My god, how can you think that of him? You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Trevor would never sleep with a girl. Any girl! You’re sitting there accusing my gay best friend of trying to get into my pants!” As soon as the words had left her mouth, Lisa’s eyes opened a little wider as she realized what she’d done, and then rationalized that it probably didn’t matter much, now.
Robert blinked in surprise. “Trevor’s gay? He doesn’t look or act gay.”
Lisa snorted. “All being gay means is he’s attracted to guys, not girls. He prefers to say he’s into guys.”
“Does Joel know?” Robert asked.
Lisa nodded. “Yeah, of course he does, and he doesn’t care, why should he? So, now that you know about Trevor, does that mean you’ll let me go on the trip?”
Robert shook his head. “Maybe, but not if Joel is there. I know damn well he’s not gay.”
“What exactly do you think would be happening there that wouldn’t happen here?” Lisa asked, crossing her arms.
Robert shook his head. “That doesn’t matter. You’re too young to be getting so serious and I won’t condone it. You and Joel have only been together for a few months, it’s far too soon for you to know if he’s the one for you.”
“It will be a year in December. I love him, Dad.”
Robert nodded. “I have no doubt that you do. The question is, will he still be around in a few months? He’s off in Europe on his own. If your relationship with him survives that, I might have to rethink my opinion a bit. I know how guys his age think, Lisa. I was one myself, not all that long ago.”
Lisa smiled sweetly. “Yes, and that gave you such great insight into Trevor, didn’t it?”
“Lisa,” Robert warned, angered by the sarcasm. Then he decided that, for the sake of his sanity, he needed to end the conversation. “Look, if you’re worried I’ll call Joel’s parents and tell them Trevor is a runaway, I won’t, not yet, and if I do I’ll make darn sure to tell them about the murder issue and that Trevor had good reason to go, and I’ll even tell them that I think very highly of Trevor. As you say, I don’t know them, and if I call and tell them this wild tale about murder, they’ll likely think I’m nuts. What I do want from you is your promise to go nowhere near Dirk Carlson.”
Lisa smiled, and then nodded. “Joel made me swear the exact same thing, so of course I’ll make you the same promise. In return, I’d like your word that you won’t tell Trevor’s father anything. If you do, you might be setting Trevor up for the same fate as his mother.”
Robert rolled his eyes. “Of course I won’t say anything.”
Lisa stood up. “Okay, thanks Dad. In that case, I’ll fix you some dinner.”
Laughing, Robert replied, “No need to be so cruel, Pumpkin!” Cooking was not one of Lisa’s finer skills, a fact both of them acknowledged, and often joked about. With that resumption of levity, things returned to something close to normal.
Returning from a meal of Indian food and a nighttime skate through Gibraltar Town, Trevor and Joel climbed aboard Atlantis. Joel glanced at his watch and said, “I guess it’s about time for me to call my folks.”
Trevor nodded as Joel sat down and flipped open his phone. They were both surprised when Joel’s ring tone, the opening bars of Metallica’s ‘Unforgiven’, sounded.
Joel answered and then motioned for Trevor to share the phone, saying, “It’s Lisa, with news.”
Lisa told them what had happened with her father. Trevor and Joel asked a few questions, and then talked about their day in Gibraltar.
After the call ended, Trevor asked, “What if Lisa’s dad calls your parents? Lisa doesn’t think he will, but he might.”
Joel shrugged. “Not as bad as if your dad calls. Lisa said her father would tell them the whole story. Yours would just say you’re a crazy runaway. Actually, I’m thinking that it might not be a bad idea to have my folks call Lisa’s dad. If they knew the whole story of why you ran, I don’t think they’d mind me being here. They know you and like you, so I think they’d understand.”
Trevor shook his head adamantly as he stood up and began pacing. “You’re forgetting something. Lisa outed me to her father, remember?”
“So?’ Joel asked, puzzled.
“So, he could tell them!” Trevor said.
“So what?” Joel replied, and shrugged.
Trevor stopped pacing and turned to face Joel. “Duh! How do you think your parents are going to react when they find out you’re alone with a gay guy on his boat?”
Joel hid a smile as he realized what Trevor was worried about. Joel shrugged again and said, “What they said was, ‘Have a great time, and say hi to Trevor.’ They’ve known about you for a while, man.” Joel let his smile emerge, and he began to chuckle. “You’re worried for nothing, as usual.”
Trevor blinked in surprise, wondering if Joel was telling the truth. “How did they find out, and why didn’t you tell me they know?”
Joel smiled. “They know because I told ‘em, not long after you told me. What’s the big deal? My uncle on my father’s side is gay and they think the world of him. There was zero chance they’d have an issue with you, so when they asked me why you’d set me up with Lisa, I told them. I also made sure they know it was a secret, which is probably why they never let on to you that they know.”
Trevor’s eyes narrowed. “You’re bullshitting me, like you did with that monkey. And since when do you have a gay uncle?”
Joel laughed, hard. “I’m on the level, man. I wouldn’t mess you around about something serious. And yeah, my Uncle Carl. You met him last year. I never said anything because I didn’t know about you then. I’m telling the truth, Trev. Just ask my parents when I call; they’ll probably want to say ‘Hi’ to you anyway.”
Trevor sat down across from Joel and stared at him for a few moments. “If that’s true, how could they be okay with you being here with me?” he asked.
Joel rolled his eyes and let out an exasperated snort. “Trev, I swear, out of everybody I know, the person most uptight about gay stuff is you. Look, I get the fact that a lot of people are homophobic, but a hell of a lot aren’t. Me and my parents, for a start. They know I’m straight and my dad knows I’m having sex with Lisa, and my mom probably does too. My dad’s concern was me getting her pregnant, not that we’re having sex. He just wanted to know that I was being safe. So, they know nothing will happen between you and me, and even if they thought it was, they probably wouldn’t much care.”
“I guess I am kinda paranoid sometimes,” Trevor said quietly.
Joel smiled and nodded. “Understatement of the year, man. Yeah, you sure are. I understand why; I know a lot of people are really down on gays, but Lisa’s right; unless you chill out on that stuff, you’ll have a hard time finding somebody. Trev, I love Lisa. I’ve never been in love before, and it’s so great, better than I could have imagined. You’ve got to find somebody you can have the same thing with, and to do that you need to be okay with who you are.”
Trevor looked at Joel and grinned. “I hear Lisa’s words in there.” Trevor’s grin faded slightly as he thought, ‘He’s right... I just wish it was that easy.’
Joel sat back and laughed. “Busted. Yeah, we talked about this before I left, and she said it better than I could so I used her words, but I feel the same way. Anyway, first things first: I have to call my parents. Seriously, they do know, ask ‘em and then ask how they feel about me being here with you. They think you’re doing me one hell of a big favor by letting me be here and I agree.”
“What favor? I’m just glad you’re here. From my point of view, it’s you who’s doing me the favor. Anyway, what about having them call Lisa’s dad?” Trevor asked.
“I think it’d be better than your dad getting ahold of them first. I think we’d better run the idea by Lisa first though,” Joel said, and dialed her number.
Joel quickly explained what he had in mind, and his reasoning. Lisa thought it over for a few seconds and then replied, “That just might work. I don’t see how it could make things worse. You might want to give them Bridget’s number too.” Lisa read off the phone number, and then added as an afterthought, “While you call your parents, I’ll tell Dad he’ll probably be getting a call, and why.”
It was nearing seven o’clock in the evening, and Lisa found her father at the kitchen table and sat down next to him. “Dad, remember when I asked you not to tell Joel’s parents?”
Robert stopped reading and glanced at his daughter. “Yes, considering it was just a couple of hours ago. I said I wouldn’t call, so stop worrying.”
“Well, ah, Joel just called me. He’s decided to tell them himself and he wants them to call you. He feels that if they know the whole story, they’ll be fine with it. My guess is they’ll call as soon as Joel hangs up, and he’s calling them right now.”
Robert looked at Lisa in surprise. “Leveling with his parents was Joel’s idea? That’s mature of him. Okay, just what do you want me to say? And what about Trevor’s... uh, preferences?”
Lisa laughed. “The word is ‘gay’, Dad. They’ve known for a while, that’s not an issue for them. Just talk to them about the other stuff. They’ll probably be calling Bridget too.”
The phone calls took awhile. A few minutes into the first call, Joel handed the phone to Trevor because his parents wanted to say hello. Trevor spoke to them for a couple of minutes, and asked no questions before handing the phone back to Joel.
Joel took a deep breath and began telling his parents everything that was going on. Initially, they did not seem pleased, and fearing the worst, Trevor went out on deck and topped up Atlantis’s water tanks from the dockside supply line. By the time he was done, Joel’s parents had finished their second call with their son, and Trevor entered the salon in time to see Joel putting his phone away.
“How did it go?” Trevor asked.
“They were kind of stressed at first. Then they called Bridget and then Lisa’s dad, and called me back. Long story short, they understand what’s going on, and they said to tell you how sorry they are. They also said they’re not okay with us being here.”
Trevor frowned and sat down, head in his hands. “They want you to go home, don’t they?” he asked in a sad tone.
“Trev, I told you I wouldn’t go, and besides, I said ‘us’, not ‘me’. They don’t want us here. They said it’s too easy to find out where we are because too many people know, then there’s my flight records, me using my ATM, this being a logical first stop in the Med, and a bunch of other stuff my dad rattled off too fast for me to remember. They want us to leave in the morning and be real careful who we tell where we are. Other than that, things went pretty good, I think. They said that if your dad calls they’ll tell him to take a long walk off a short pier, which is one of my dad’s favorite sayings.”
Trevor smiled with relief. “I was sure they’d freak.”
Joel laughed and jabbed a finger in Trevor’s direction. “You chickened out, dude. When you were talking to them when I first called, you were gonna ask them how they felt about me being here with you.”
Trevor shrugged. “I figured that with all the other stuff going on, I’d better leave that for some other time.”
“Translation: you were stressing again. You’ll get another chance on our next stop; they wanted to talk to you again, but you were out working on the boat. Okay, so what about leaving here in the morning? Are you okay with that?” Joel asked.
“Yeah. My dad knowing that I’m in the Mediterranean has me kinda spooked anyway. I topped us up with water and we’re ready to sail. I need to check the weather and forecasts, which won’t take long, and I can do that from anywhere; the weather stuff comes down from a satellite. What we won’t have is internet access once we sail so that’s where I need your help,” Trevor said.
“Doing what?” Joel asked.
“Picking a destination, remember?”
Joel slapped his head. “Oh yeah, I forgot that. I guess we do need one, huh?”
“It would help,” Trevor replied, grinning.
For the next hour, Trevor and Joel crowded together in front of Trevor’s computer, looking at Google Earth and then doing Internet searches on some of the places they found. By the time they were done, they had their destination, some things to do once they got there, and Trevor had showed Joel how to pull up charts and harbor information from the navigational system.
After eating, the two guys headed for their cabins for some much-needed sleep.
Dirk waited until the morning to phone Jim. “Lisa’s father Robert told me yesterday that Trev is the Mediterranean,” Dirk said without preamble. “He promised to find out exactly where and call me back. He didn’t phone me, and now he won’t answer my calls. I don’t know what to make of this. If it’s true, I don’t have to worry about Trev searching off Bimini for a while, but now I’ve got to worry about him crossing an ocean when he returns. I never thought he’d do that. I have to find out for sure, one way or another.”
“Dirk, calm down,” Jim replied. “If true, this solves the Bimini issue for now, which was your main concern.”
“For how long, and why is Trevor in the Mediterranean? Where is he going and why? Jim, please get that lawsuit ready for filing. If Robert keeps dodging my calls, I’ll want you to file it.”
“You know my opinions on that. It’s dangerous and ill-advised,” Jim replied.
“Jim, please, do this for me. I have to know.”
“I’ll get it ready. I have a few other ideas that I’m pursuing at the moment, and I’m hoping that they’ll bear fruit and make the suit superfluous. I’ll tell you about them when I see you in person. Are you still coming up tomorrow night?” Jim asked.
“I’ll be there,” Dirk replied.
At eight the next morning, Trevor woke up, pulled on his boardies, and padded sleepily out into the salon. Seeing no sign of Joel, Trevor smiled. ‘He’ll probably sleep until noon. He’s got to be tired after his trip and the day we had yesterday, so I’ll get underway quietly and let him sleep,’ Trevor thought, and went out on deck, where he began to make ready to cast off; After a few minutes, he was ready to release the mooring lines. ‘I’m still half asleep. I’d better wake up a little before heading out,’ he thought.
Stepping down into the galley, Trevor smelled, and then saw, the coffee, and even in his half-asleep state, he knew that it hadn’t made itself. ‘Joel is, or at least was, awake,’ Trevor thought, pouring himself a mug and then glancing at Joel’s closed cabin door.
After taking a drink, Trevor walked through the salon and back out on deck, seeing no sign of Joel. When he returned to the salon, he noticed that Joel’s skateboard wasn’t where he’d seen Joel leave it the night before.
Suddenly unsure as to whether Joel was still aboard, Trevor knocked on Joel’s door a few times, and then called out Joel’s name, but heard no response. ‘Either he’s not here, or he took his board into his cabin.’ Another possibility occurred to Trevor, and he stopped to listen for the sound of Joel’s shower, but heard nothing.
Trevor returned to the salon and began to pace, trying to wake up and think. Then he knocked on Joel’s cabin door again.
“I don’t think I’m in there,” Joel said, making Trevor jump.
Trevor turned around to see Joel standing in the salon, skateboard in one hand, a bag in the other, and wearing the same shorts and tank top he’d had on the day before.
Trevor gave Joel a relieved grin. “I was wondering where you were. Dude, I thought you were asleep. I was going to cast off quietly so I wouldn’t wake you up.”
Joel headed for the galley, chuckling. “Oops, I never thought of that. I figured you’d see the coffee and know I was up. When we were in the Safeway, I noticed that they serve hot food, so I skated over and got us some hot breakfast. I also remembered that my dad told me to draw out as much cash as I could from the ATM, so I don’t have to use an ATM when we reach the next stop; I’d just change British cash for Euros. Man, it would have sucked if I’d gotten back here and found you gone! I’ll make sure to leave a note next time.”
Trevor sat down with Joel at the galley table, and as they began unpacking the breakfast of scrambled eggs, English sausages, and beef samosas, Trevor laughed and told Joel, “No big deal. I’d have probably noticed you weren’t aboard after a few days... a week at the most.”
Joel laughed. “Thanks a lot. Seriously, you didn’t know I was gone and you were going to cast off?”
Trevor shrugged. “Not exactly. I did notice the coffee, and then I saw your board missing. That’s why I’ve been knocking on your door. If not for the coffee and the board, I probably would have cast off. It wouldn’t have been that big a deal; our phones still work within a few miles of shore, but yeah, leaving a note might be a good idea. Put it on the salon door so I’ll be sure to see it when I go to the cockpit.”
Joel took a bite of English sausage, and then mumbled around a full mouth, “Okay, but why didn’t you just open the cabin door and see if I was there?”
Trevor shrugged uneasily. “I didn’t know if that was okay to just... go in.”
Joel rolled his eyes. “You and Lisa are so alike in some ways. You’re both only kids and it shows with stuff like this. If you’d grown up with two brothers like I did, you wouldn’t think twice about walking in. Lisa was kinda like that when we first started going out, but she learns fast. Either you don’t, or this has to do with you stressing on the gay stuff again. Which is it?”
Trevor laughed. “Me being into guys never even crossed my mind this time. I just... didn’t feel right barging in. Maybe it is because I’m an only child. I never thought of that. I guess it’s different having brothers, huh?”
Joel shrugged, and then took another bite of breakfast before answering, “I’ve never been an only child so I don’t really know how different it is, but my brothers would have just opened the door to see if I was there. If they thought Lisa was with me they’d have knocked first... maybe... but otherwise, they’d just walk in.” Joel paused to look at Trevor for a few seconds before adding, “We might be onto something here. Maybe being an only kid is why you’re so weird?”
“Remind me to tell Lisa about that theory of yours,” Trevor shot back. “Hey, thanks for breakfast, man. This is good. And I promise I won’t cast off before making sure you’re aboard somehow from now on.”
“Have you ever left one of your charter customers behind?” Joel asked, with a wicked grin on his face.
Trevor mulled the question over for a few moments before answering, “I know you’ll make me regret telling you, but yeah, once. I had six passengers and Julie did a head count when we were about to cast off from Freeport. We were just pulling away from the dock when we saw a guy running up, jumping, waving, and hollering. He’d hopped ashore to get a postcard and we hadn’t seen him leave.”
“I’ll try to remember not to do that, and you’re right, I’ll be reminding you of this for a while. Hey, when we cast off, can I con Atlantis out?”
Trevor nodded. “Sure, but I’ll be at the other wheel, just in case. She can be kinda hard to handle in close quarters when you aren’t used to her. I plan on teaching you how to run her, so you’ll be getting plenty of practice.”
Joel grinned and stood up. “Cool. Are we ready now?”
Trevor nodded, and then they went on deck and Trevor talked Joel through casting off. The only time Trevor had to adjust the controls was to reverse the port engine to tighten the turn in the channel, but other than that, Joel conned Atlantis out of the yacht basin and into the Bay of Gibraltar.
As they cleared the outer harbor, Joel asked, “Now what?”
“Now we clear the channel and head south, unless you plan on running us aground. Watch out for other traffic, and remind me to explain what all the buoys mean. Your first lesson; in Europe, keep the red buoys to your right when leaving harbor, and the green ones to your right when going into a harbor. I’ll pull up the navigational charts so they’ll display on the LCD screen on the wheel housing – I’ll teach you how to do that later. Okay, they’re up, and now you can see shipping channels, navigational warnings, and depth information. Atlantis draws less than four feet of water but I usually double that for safety – depths aren’t always perfectly reported, and stuff can change. The depth finder display is to the left of the LCD screen, and that’s depth under the hulls and not from the bottom of the daggerboards. We want a minimum of five feet on the display.”
With Joel at the con, they sailed south, past the southernmost tip of Gibraltar, and Trevor pointed at it. “That’s Europa Point. Normally we’d turn east once we were clear, but in this case, we can’t; the shipping through the Strait of Gibraltar is some of the busiest in the world, and it obeys the same general rules as car traffic; it stays on the right side of the channel. That means the traffic is coming west on the north side of the Strait, and we don’t want to meet it head on.”
“So which way do we go?” Joel asked.
Trevor checked the radar display at his station. “It’s busy, but we’ve got to head across the westbound traffic and then we can turn east. This is why we’re still on engines; Atlantis is a lot easier to maneuver under power. We have inbound traffic four miles to port, but it’s slow. I can see about twenty ships on the scope, so the best thing to do is firewall the throttles, right to the stops, and cross the westbound lane at flank speed.”
Joel grinned and eased the throttles all the way forward as Atlantis surged ahead, accelerating to fifteen knots. “I’ve always wanted to do that,” he said, as the wind whipped through his hair.
Once they entered the eastbound lane, they turned east and reduced throttle. Trevor talked Joel through hoisting and trimming the sails, and soon Atlantis was gliding along, engines off, driven by the winds.
Looking south at Gibraltar; Africa in the background. The Siege Tunnels are in the nearest part of The Rock. The yacht basin is on the right, just above the runway. If you trace a vertical line from the right-most boat in the yacht basin and go up until you hit the waters of Gibraltar Bay, that's where the Safeway was. It's now a Morrison's, but in 2006 it was a Safeway.