carine hartman 2021

By Carine Hartman

Chief sub-editor


Chasing sailor dreams: A woman’s Cape Town escapade

Jilly dreams of adventure in Cape Town, inspired by a sailor who paid her bill and left a lasting impression.


All work and no play makes Jilly a silly girl – so this Jilly is counting the sleeps to her playtime before she goes truly dilly.

Where else but in the fairest Cape can a woman find “sailor energy” – so called in the family after my last visit when a tattooed seafarer settled my R700 bill with the sweep of his card while I was still making sums about a tip.

I never found out his name and, even constantly looking over my shoulder, I never again spotted him.

But I thank him for more than saving me hundreds – he set the tone for the visit: us girls hardly touched our purse strings eating or drinking for nearly two weeks.

And I met sailor energy in person.

Did I ever tell you that I walked into the Woolies in Sea Point – yeah, me, flush because I don’t spend and could now – and brushed against Trovato on his way out while I’m in for a bottle of red?

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Recognition instantly, me and the 6ft 2ins giant – but it can’t be.

“What are you doing here” without saying a word.

No fleeting recognition, compare to the bergie and I who recognise souls in need too.

I just didn’t piss under the no pissing sign where nobody parked like he did every day, while I watch from the balcony.

I’m thinking I have a thing for Trovato but he’s in Durban, right? No Woolies brush this time around when I land this morning. But he is my hidden sailor tackling the winds… “You’re not looking for a sailor. A rich farmer?” youngest son ventures.

“Ah,” my friend says. “A sailor gets out of your face.”

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Who needs a weekend farmer or a week-or-six-long sailor out of your face?

Not me. I know I don’t want to till the land or slaughter chicks, or pull cows’ teats any more over weekends. Or ever.

But I do know I want. I want to sail the high seas with my grey locks blowing in the wind, stopping off at exotic ports where Jeeps get stuck and mosquitoes buzz and I know I’ll bitch over a tent that will collapse.

Beloved would smile now. He only followed the call of Loreleis, ever.

Land-locked me could call with my long legs and warm whatever for over 30 years, but my siren was never quite heard.

But I’m ready. I hope you are, Cape Town. With all your sailors.

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