— A QUARTER CENTURY 'OUT THERE'
that caused us to stay so long in the Pagrandparents and extended cific was the island people. The further family. With possessions, they away you get from the main towns, the share everything. If there is a more genuine the traditional cultures need, someone is always there are. People out there have very few mato fulfil it." Paul adds, "A terial possessions, but they lot of people do have fish in in island cul"With possessions, they the sea, vegtures are very share everything. If there etables in the poor by our garden, and standards, but is a need, someone is the weather is none of them always there to fill it." usually pretty are hungry good. And aland none of though they them are unhave very little, giving and sharing are loved. The house they live in such important parts of their culture might be something they built — so different from the way Americans from the grass and palm trees are brought up." nearby. But they do have a Whether in the South or North Pahouse to live in, and there's cific, whenever they visited small island really not much poverty in the groups they found a refreshingly strong sense of people starving or besense of community, far beyond anying malnourished." When traveling among peothing found in North America or Europe. "Within the family, all the children are ple who are so generous by raised and loved by all the parents, their very nature, it's nice to have something to offer in return. In this regard, Paul had an ace up his sleeve which won him endless gratitude. "Being a sailmaker, I knew how to fix sewing machines. Especially in Tonga, a lot of the women have old treadle machines that probably went out of style about 100 years ago everywhere else. But I got a big kick out of fixing them. Their machines are very important to them, because they do a lot of handicraft work for gifts and income — and they make all of their own clothes." One of Paul's favorite anecdotes concerns one afternoon in Tonga, when he and Susan were set to sail off the next day. Paul was enjoying a little send-off party, sitting around in a hut with the village men drinking kava, when a broken machine was
The primeval beauty of Thailand's Phang Nga Bay is a delight. 'Elenoa' spent some glorious days there in the late '90s.
slid quietly through the doorway, anonymously. Paul fiddled with it, fixed it and shoved it back out. But no sooner was he back sipping kava than a couple baskets of tapa cloth and food were shoved in — followed shortly afterwards by more broken machines. Plied with kava and gifts, Paul was eventually able to nurse them all back to life. Years later, when he and Susan returned with a completely different boat, the customs man immediately recognized him: "Ah! You're the man who fixes sewing machines, aren't you?" All those years of exotic traveling yielded a wealth of magical moments. Paul reminisces: "I remember being anchored in 115 feet of water in Tahiti one time and we could see the anchor on the bottom. That's hard to beat. Other times we'd be anchored in a lagoon someplace and we might only have a foot of water under the keel. With the moon shining brightly, we'd look down to the sandy bottom through crystal-clear water and see the boat's shadow and fish swimming around, almost like it was daytime. We'll carry these memories around with us forever." July, 2007 •
• Page 147
The July 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.