Location: St. Eustatius
When I think of James, I think of the boat he wanted to build, the boat he was going to build. He talked so eloquently of the way the boat would work, using the bodily forms of marine mammals, the shape of their caudal fins and flukes. And it would be powered by the sun; the same sun that he enjoyed watching set every day from the stern of Ocean Star, and the same sun we watched set from a dock on Pigeon Beach in Antigua as he told me about this boat. Id heard about this boat many times over the program. James and I, being on the same watch team, shared many hours during passage either at the bow or around the helm. Three topics of conversation that never disappointed during these times were this boat, fishing, and his travels. James not only had amazing dreams of boat designs, but he had amazing stories.
Time, and the need for sleep, limited which of these stories he divulged, but I know the ones I did not hear were as good as the ones that I did. I know this because as he and I stood on the rim of the crater atop La Soufriere on St. Vincent, I asked him what he thought while he leaned into the howling wind. He looked at me; This is cool. He said, My life has been so cool. James was a great friend and one whose company I was happy to share. Few people have made me laugh as hard as James made me laugh in the two months we shared together, and I will look back on my time with him with nothing but fond memories. He is the only bosun I know of capable of soaking a deck team, with the hose, through their foul weather gear, and the only person I have known to have truly lived life to its final day. He was pretty spectacular. So how else does one conclude this other than by saying something to James? James, your presence will forever be felt as the halyard hoists the anchor to the cap rail; the seat on the deck box will forever be your seat on Ocean Star as she navigates the Caribbean waters, and your place at the helm will always be yours whenever you are ready to return to it.