top of page

Things That Go Crash In The Night!

Four of us were asleep on the boat, quietly moored outside the Cabo San Lucas harbor entrance. It was midnight. In my sleep-distorted memory, what I recall was a high-pitched whine, a flash of light, and a bone-jarring crash. Had we drifted off our mooring and hit the rocks? No. That didn’t make sense—it was a calm night, and it didn’t explain the flash or the whine. I ran on deck to see a panga* off our stern, moments before it sped away. It was a midnight hit-and-run.


Solstice with her mangled steering gear from a midnight hit-and-run in Cabo San Lucas

Earlier, when we took the mooring, a crew member commented that it seemed like we were on the “freeway” into the marina, and that it might be unsafe. It was the last available mooring, and our alternative was a late afternoon move to the anchorage. We talked ourselves out of moving, saying “It’ll be alright. They wouldn’t have assigned the mooring if it weren’t safe.”


The takeaway from the experience was noticing that we had the right instinct but ignored it by telling ourselves “It’ll be alright.” It revealed the following wisdom:


When you catch yourself saying “It’ll be alright” it is often you trying to talk yourself out of doing what you know you should do.


That wisdom helped us avoid numerous mishaps in the following years, with exceptions when we ignored it. You may not remember this story five years from now, but the emotional imprint ensures that I will never forget it. Which brings me to my next point.


Beware of unearned wisdom. — Carl Jung


I remember a respected high school teacher telling another student that young people can’t be wise, that wisdom is only acquired with age. As teenagers, we rejected this idea, not understanding the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Experience, and the ability to connect the dots in our lives, is the basis for wisdom. Those with little experience, and those who do not reflect on their experiences, have little foundation for wisdom.


I will be the last person to claim being wise. The few things I have learned along the way only emphasize how much further I have to go. I think a large part of wisdom—maybe most of it—comes from the awareness of our inner voice and the ability to recognize our own lies and rationalizations, and then to reject them for what they are.


For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. Romans 1:22 

What about received wisdom, isn’t that valuable too? Absolutely! I seek as much as I can, even interviewing friends to discover what they have learned. These are my favorites:


Do what helps you sleep at night. Mark Mendelson on choosing anchors


If something isn’t working, try something different. Jack Jones on trying to turn a valve the wrong way as a commercial diver 

I continue to seek wisdom wherever possible, both received and experienced, but the experiences matter the most. It’s like learning to ride a bike, you don’t get it from someone explaining it.

*Panga - A fishing/utility boat widely used in Mexico. Pangas are typically 20 to 28 feet in length, made of heavy fiberglass, and carry high-powered outboard motors.


bottom of page