Over a beer following our first season of cruising, I debriefed with a good friend, a navy man who had spent years of his life at sea, many of them in command. In response to his question regarding what we had learned that first year I shared with him the extent to which Eulalie took to heart her captain’s role. It appeared, as I recounted it, the weight of her role was a hard thing for her to set aside. My friend, in turn, confirmed that this burden was real and could be relentless. He confided his own methods for shouldering the weight and the palpable relief that followed his last sea command.
As co-owner and partner in our travels, I shared much of the burden. Yet, a part was uniquely Lal’s—the Captain’s burden. For shouldering that extra load she has my respect, gratitude and love.
Last Monday, Lal celebrated her birthday—hundreds of miles off shore. In a not altogether surprising turn of events, Lal accepted Luiz Goncalvez’s offer to help sail Elizabeth Jean another 1300 miles to her winter cruising grounds in Antigua.
Happy belated birthday Captain Lal.
Lal at a particularly dramatic moment in the Panama Canal. Off camera a Canal Authority Tug has just gunned its engines pushing Elizabeth Jean towards the canal lock wall.
The blue dot 0001 marks Elizabeth Jean’s position on December 11, the good captain’s birthday. If it looks as if they are pretty far off shore it’s because they are, on a direct course to clear Puerto Rico and reach the Caribbean’s windward islands.