shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.

Do You Believe in Magic?

October 27, 2014

With hurricane Omar bearing down on St. Croix in October 2008, many of us prepared our boats to the best of our ability. We secured our boats with extra line and anchors; we removed canvas, sails and any other objects that would increase windage. But only one boater in Christiansted Harbor performed a Wiccan ritual to ask for protection for his boat. And the Gods complied.

Peter Dybing would soon be the national president of Covenant of the Goddess, the largest and oldest Wiccan organization in the world. But at the time he was just a concerned boater, doing all he could to keep his boat safe during a Category 3 hurricane. After preparing the boat the best he could, he did a "protection circle" for her. He called on the spirits of Four Directions, inviting the Goddess to be present. He asked the spirits (Gods and Goddesses) of air and water to protect his boat AND to keep it from damaging other vessels. Then, confident that he had done all he could, he left her in the protection of the Gods.

Boccous in Christiansted Harbor, St. Croix

Many boats broke free of their moorings and anchors and many others dragged their anchors. Several of these boats did indeed damage others as they raced for the rocks on shore. Peter's boat was one of those whose mooring parted. His boat drifted back and then the anchor that was sitting on the bow launched itself. The rode wasn't attached to the boat, but as the boat drifted back on its loose anchor and the rode flew out through the bow roller, the rode became tangled in such a giant knot that it could not pass through the bow roller. Before this happened the anchor had pulled out enough rode to provide adequate scope to stop the boat from dragging more than a few feet. Peter's boat did not touch any other vessel, nor was it damaged in any way.

After the storm Peter explained that normally after performing this ritual he would open the circle of protection, but it seemed best to leave the circle cast. We were moored directly downwind of Peter's boat, so it seemed like a fine idea to us, too. A few months later we looked out at Peter's boat and his dinghy seemed to be drifting free. But before we could get to it in our rowing dinghy to "save" it, we realized that it wasn't actually drifting, it was just sitting there. About 30 feet behind his boat, with no painter attaching it to the boat. As we rowed up to it we saw that his painter was going straight down into the water. We tugged and yanked and tried in vain to bring his painter off the bottom so that we could re-secure it to the boat, but to no avail. Later, when we saw Peter on the boardwalk we told him what we had seen. After diving on his dinghy painter he discovered that the painter had parted from the boat, hung down into the water and somehow wrapped itself around some unseen object, buried in the sand, which stopped it from drifting to shore.

Peter Dybing is a forest fire fighter, an EMT, a dive instructor, licensed captain, sailor and Wiccan. He is also one of my favorite people on the planet. When I asked his permission to write this post his response was typical Peter: "Yes, you can use my name. I don't even remember where the broom closet is."

Which boat is the right boat? It depends on what you want to do with it. MONDAY we'll share a few variations on the right boat for the job.

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