I spend a lot of time on this site talking about yachting around South Florida and the Bahamas. As a family we were privileged to do so in an era when things weren’t so crowded—or regulated—as they are now. We also got to miss the thrill of the piracy wave that swept over the region during the 1980’s with the drug trade.
Our last yacht leaving the Palm Beach Inlet, with Singer Island in the background. My father changed the naming convention for this one. 65′ long, attractive and comfortable, it nevertheless wasn’t the best craft for a storm, as we found out the hard way. Note that the sea just in front of the beach is a different (brown) colour from what our craft is going through. This is because Lake Worth was badly polluted at that time; when the tide went out, the foul water went with it. The line between the lake effluent and the ocean was usually very crisp, as one can see above. (Photo by Bernice Ransom Studios, Palm Beach.)
One of our ports of call was Key Biscayne, near Miami. It is basically the last barrier island in the chain that runs along all of Florida’s east cost before the break west of Fowey Rocks begins the Florida Keys. It’s a nice place to visit, or at least was in the late 1960’s when we tied up our yacht at the Key Biscayne Yacht Club. In those days it wasn’t as much of a problem to let me and my brother putter around the island a bit, although I preferred to fall into the drink trying to get into my Dilly Boat dinghy.
Slightly overloaded: on our last yacht, we had two dinghys. The smaller of the two is shown at the left. Called a “Dilly Boat,” it was an 8′ long, cathedral hull fibreglass boat, not really suitable for all of the three people occupying it in this photo, taken at the Ocean Reef Resort on Key Largo. One of the things that has changed dramatically since our years on the water is the engine horsepower that propel ships of all sizes in the water. For me, it’s still hard to believe the power that’s put into boats now, large and small, and the speeds they routinely achieve. However, this craft took slow to a new level. The outboard motor driving this small craft was only a 3 hp Johnson with a self-contained fuel tank.
One night, however, it wasn’t the kids that got into trouble: it was my parents. They went out partying and “bar hopping” one night. In the midst of all of this revelry my mother’s Movado watch left her wrist, victim of an unlatched band clasp failure and a broken safety chain.
Needless to say, when she realised this, panic ensued. All hands were on deck—or on the island, really, searching for this watch. My parents attempted to retrace their steps, but that wasn’t easy as they were having a job of it trying to remember what their steps were. Us kids were sent out literally along the roadsides to try to find the watch. As time went on the fear that the Movado was the victim of South Florida crime became greater. Finally, there was victory: they found the bar where it had fallen off, the bartender having found and kept it, hoping for the return of its rightful owner.
There are few who haven’t experienced the loss or misplacement of a possession. Such a common phenomenon finds expression in the New Testament:
“What man among you who has a hundred sheep, and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine out in the open country, and go after the lost sheep till he finds it? And, when he has found it, he puts in on his shoulders rejoicing; And, on reaching home, he calls his friends and his neighbours together, and says ‘Come and rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ So, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in Heaven over one outcast that repents, than over ninety-nine religious men, who have no need to repent. Or again, what woman who has ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, and sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And, when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbours together, and says ‘Come and rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I lost.’ So, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of God’s angels over one outcast that repents.” (Luke 15:4-10)
Jesus compares such an event to God’s diligence in seeking lost souls on the earth. Like my brother and I, he even refers to searching the roadsides: “’Go out,’ the master said, ‘into the roads and hedgerows, and make people come in, so that my house may be filled…” (Luke 14:23) For Christians, it is an impetus to do likewise, to spend as much time seeking the lost as we do looking for our stuff.
But what if the lost soul is you? Has that empty place in your life remain unfulfilled? Do you feel that you are of no worth? My mother’s Movado had diamonds around the face, but it was of little value to her while it was lost. When we find unity with God, the value that has been designed into us becomes real, and our life finds the purpose our Creator had for us from the very start. We all have diamonds mounted in our being, and when we enter into a relationship with Him who moves all things, our value in principle becomes one of reality, and our existence becomes a real life.