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All’s fair

Apr 23, 2012

Rough seas make for a droll run-in with a Tristan da Cunha immigration officer

While making a Trans-Atlantic crossing from Uruguay to South Africa, winds and seas clocked and backed in all directions with all intensities — from flat calm and no wind to 40-plus knots and the biggest seas we had ever encountered. Large waves frequently caught us off guard. We were usually able to grab a rail and steady ourselves, but in two separate incidents, we sustained minor, but noticeable injuries.
 

Marcie and David Lynn dive into voyaging in Vanuatu.

On one occasion, I was in the galley and was thrown into the teak knee above the galley stove, hit my cheekbone hard and ended up with a sizable, very colorful shiner. At the change of watch the same night, a huge wave hit as David was trying to get out of our bunk. He went flying across the aft cabin, hit a locker door with such force as to break the teak door louvers and sustained a gash across his forehead. With no steaks or ice aboard, my shiner was just left to color and heal. I cleaned and dressed David’s gash and we two bruised sailors carried on without much further ado.

Two days later, we arrived at Tristan da Cunha in the middle of the South Atlantic, a fine respite after three weeks at sea. On the radio, we were asked all the usual questions regarding communicable diseases aboard and our general health. No problems...come ashore.

We looked at each other and were just a bit concerned that we’d perhaps make the wrong impression. David still sported a bandage on his forehead and my eye was still a deep shade of purple with hues of healing yellow and green. We were an advertising poster for curtailing domestic violence. David had visions of being manacled and hauled off to prison for beating his first mate.

The immigration officer met us at Tristan’s tiny Calshot Harbour dock, grabbed our dinghy painter and gave us a long, hard look. It was impossible to cover up our injured faces. We had carefully rehearsed our rogue wave saga and were prepared to recite it on demand. The officer, however, was rather droll about his observations. “Looks like it was a fair fight,” he commented with a smirk and welcomed us ashore.

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Marcie and David Lynn voyage and live aboard their Liberty 458 cutter, Nine of Cups.

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