It’s always leaving, that’s what this sailing life is. It’s making a fresh friend and then casting off the lines that tie you and drifting away into the dawn.

I love so much, that’s my problem. I moor myself readily to each new dock in each new harbour, my heartstrings and dock lines pulling tight in the wind. And then we’re off again, your unattachable heart merrily seeking the next temporary destination while I’m still trying to undo the knots I’ve looped myself ashore with. And it’s not just people I grow fond of: the rounded hills at the mouth of the loch across the sound, the sudden misted glows in the sky behind the boat yard, the night-time curve of the village lights around Marine Road… And that grey-cloaked heron croaking by each eve, and the wee rock pipit flitting from deck to deck in the mornings, and the eiders which are always paddling about, calling to each other in incessant gulps and gargles.

So now, at the end of another winter’s berthage, I’m brimming over like this bay at this high tide. I used to be a solitaire, but there’s something about these groups when you find them – the friendly marina crew, the happy gang of harbour staff, the quick communities of sailors sharing docks and drams – all these sea friends and shore friends; all this coming and going in my heart.

Port Bannatyne marina, Bute, Argyll, Scotland
11th April 2018