The banging on the hatch woke me to Sergio’s excited, heavily accented Italian voice… “Berlusconi has resigned. Fantastic News, Dave, Wake Up, Berlusconi, he’s gone.” It took me a few moments to rouse myself to the important news about Italian politics of which, of course, I had no knowledge of. I stuck my head out through the hatch, “That’s brilliant news Serge. He had it coming the bastard,” I was still in a dreamlike state…
Sergio, our very good friend and neighbour here in Ala Wai Boat Harbour, is passionate about his homeland. He’s passionate about his incredible plan too. You see, Sergio is a talented artist and, like all Italians, an accomplished chef to boot. He’s also seventy years old and desperate to leave.
So I must tell you about his plan to sail his boat Impulse solo from Hawaii to Italy…
Sergio the Sailor has been living and working on his boat these last three years whilst still running his mom and pop Italian restaurant here in Hawaii. His female staff dote on him like mother hens. They make sure he’s fed, tend to his absent minded injuries and ensure his restaurant is run smoothly. But there’s a problem… Sergio hasn’t told his girls he’s planning to sail alone back to Italy because he’s afraid they won’t let him go.
Then, to complicate things, there’s Sergio the Artist. He’s painted his restaurant in the renaissance style of Michelangelo, it’s unbelievably good, reproducing the Sistine Chapel in incredible detail. Japanese tourists flock to eat Sergio the Chef’s genuine northern Italian cooking, using his mama’s secret recipes which, he reliably informs me, he’s invented and made up. “Americans and Japanese don’t appreciate real Italian food,” he tells me authoritatively.
But, and here’s the amazing thing… Sergio the Artist’s incredible Michelangelo plan is to paint churches along his sailing route to the Mediterranean, reproducing the Sistine Chapel whenever he can. Sergio and I discuss his options on a daily basis, how he’s going to get to Italy and which churches Sergio the Sailor will find to paint. We talk about the route he will sail across the Pacific and the harbours he will find that want their ceilings painting in the Sistine style. There’s quite a few it seems and I truly believe there are. In the meantime, Sergio the Chef’s girls suspect he’s planning something up his sleeve and are keeping a close eye on him in case he tries to leave…
And then there’s Sergio the Sailor’s boat. It’s his dream and he’s almost rebuilt it from scratch. He works on his pride and joy seven days a week and finds time to visit his restaurant twice a day to keep an eye on things. I’ve been watching him closely too… and I can see Sergio knows a thing or two about sailing boats. Impulse is coming together and shaping up. She’s well capable of sailing to the Mediterranean with Sergio onboard.
Yesterday he asked me if I thought he’d make it back to Italy which, now the bastard Berlusconi is no longer President, he’s very anxious to do. I told him I thought not. His face dropped and he asked me why. “You’ll never get past the Philippines with all the girls there waiting to get their hand on you,” I said, “And if they don’t get you the ones in Thailand will.” His face lit up with a glint in his eye and we both laughed.
You see, Sergio’s been married four times and he has the Italian charm that’s difficult to resist. Maybe Sergio the Artist will paint his church and Sergio the Sailor will sail the seas, but the friendships Sergio the Romantic will make along the way’ll get him in the end.
Dave & Marie Ungless are currently sailing their boat Sänna around the world from west to east. Their nine year voyage so far has taken them into the North Pacific and to Alaska where they are now located. Dave is a freelance writer and journalist writing about their travels and the social aspects of their journey.
You can also Like their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sv.sanna.