Chapter Five

The weekend provides the fisherman a chance to rest from their early morning travels out to sea. Most catch up with family and friends and the close-knit nature of the community, every weekend has a festival-like atmosphere.

Joma could often be found at the boat yard with Mariusz, the old boat builder. Mariusz is one of the village elders though remains in excellent health. His entire life, just like his forefathers, has been spent building boats and his hard, sinewy body reflects this. His skin is burnt orange and deep wrinkles form creases around his ever-smiling face.Mariusz had told Joma about his own upbringing too many times to count. This morning he felt it necessary to tell the young man once again, in case he had forgotten.

When Mariusz was about the age of Joma, he didn’t want to become a boat builder, in fact he hated the idea of spending his life at the boat yard. But he persisted. With time he grew fond of the work as his skills improved. Nowadays, rarely does a day pass where he doesn’t work on a boat.

Eventually the old man finished his life story, throwing in a few details that err on fiction rather than fact, like the time he built a boat a day for one hundred days. Joma, finally sensing an opening, quickly asked the old man, “Out of curiosity, what kind of adjustments would need to be made to the average boat to make it capable of longer journey’s on bigger seas?”

“Ahh, good question my lad! A number of changes would need to take place. For one, the sail fabric would need to be thicker and at least triple-stitched. I would add additional storage for food and supplies and place a greater emphasis on creating a finely balanced boat to make it as efficient as possible. There are of course many other things to consider, but do you know the most important detail?” the old man asked glancing up from his work. Joma shook his head. “You must know what you’re searching for,” said the old man with a knowing wink.

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