Pay it Forward

pay it forward

We were anchored in the tight squeeze of Mahon, Menorca and a French boat come in to the already-packed area looking for a spot.  He began to slowly circle the anchorage, coming around our stern on the outside edge.  He slowly began to circle us when he, well…stopped.  The motor was running but there was no movement.  Darold called to him, “Are you aground?!”  However, it was clear that he didn’t speak English.  No matter because it was also clear what Darold was asking and even clearer was his response, “Oui!”

So the Benevento crew went into action. It was, after all, our karmic responsibility to help this man.  Cruisers should help other cruisers, but we had been helped off a grounding on Vulcano Island by a French boat, so we needed to return the favor.

The only problem was, the man only spoke French! Our Spanish, Italian and English were of no use.  Our French was limited to foods, directions to the bathroom, please and thank you, and the phrase, “how do you say_____ in French?”  There were quite a few other boats who came over to help, including a Spanish man who worked in the nearby port, a Canadian from our friend’s boat, and another American from a new boat we’d just met.  Through a combination of dinghies pushing, other dinghies pulling, and Benevento taking a line from the boat and winching it in (with our motor in forward gear), as well as pulling his main halyard down, we all finally got his boat free.  He backed out the same way he came in while blowing us copious kisses in a charming French kind of way.  Later, he came by with a bottle of Bordeaux for us, which was consumed almost immediately. Even better was the feeling of doing the right thing.