People talk, write and sing about “love at first sight”. I have often wondered if it was a real thing. Perhaps I’ve experienced it and just didn’t know it? I hadn’t, until now… Her name is Dariabar. She’s beautiful. When I first pulled into Honolulu aboard J. Henry, I saw her. She was looking at me too. I think we both felt a connection at first sight. Since then, we have continued to exchange passing glances at each other. Butterflies in both of our bellies I am sure. I have spent hours upon hours thinking about her; daydreaming about what life would be like with her. What is she really like? I have only seen what’s on the outside, and she’s perfect. My imagination forms the only image of what’s beneath the surface. She’s big, nearly 90 feet of steel that floats beautifully in the water. I was not surprised to learn that she’s a John Alden design. She has a mystique about her. Her thoughtful construction and curious attributes (like observation seats slightly outboard both port and starboard) combined with her sun and wind beaten canvas and grey teak decks, only make her more charming. She clearly has stories to tell. Although she looks like she hasn’t been sailing in awhile, it’s clear she had been put away with love. Axillary zincs hang over her rails in uniform increments from bow to stern. Everything lashed to the rails and deck is covered. I have even seen, as I’ve peered through her windows from the dock, that something aboard is circulating air in the pilot house.
Dariabar and I have been whispering to each other. I had to find out more about her. If I am serious about her, I need to meet her family. Obviously she was built and raised well. She has been loved. How could she not be? I had been searching for weeks before I finally found her owner. What do I say when I speak to him? I was honest, “I was struck by Dariabar, she’s a beautiful boat. I keep day dreaming about how she sails and where she has been; where she can go”… “ what are your plans with her?”… “Can I see what she’s like down below?”. I’m clearly already far down the road of daydreams with this boat. I think the owner knows it. I feel like giddiness shook in my every word as we spoke on the phone. He and I have had a couple of conversations now, and he finally is coming into town this week. We will meet and talk about her. I am on the edge of my seat. Nervous and excited.
The big thing is that Dariabar has sparked a daydream that has been evolving into an idea and a plan. Perhaps this is the perfect vessel to complete the circumnavigation that I started in 2019 and perhaps to continue sailing for years to come. She’s big enough to share the experience with others. She’s built for the sea. She’s built for exploration. She’s also built for marine research. She’s a marine mammal acoustics research vessel with an impressive resume and poised to continue on a voyage in support of marine sciences, environmental preservation and communications. She has fanned the flames inside of me to continue on around the world. Perhaps she is the one. Time will tell.