Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Trades

Thirteen degrees north, San Diego 1400 miles of sailing behind us.

Tropicbirds and boobies inspect us on the wing. Schools of flying fish flee before our bow. A tuna comes aboard at first light and gives us three meals.

Eric, unobserved in his crib for twenty minutes, overflows his diaper and spreads baby poo everywhere with both hands - in his hair, all around his crib, in Eli's bunk. We clear the well of the cockpit and turn it into a baby bath.

Over one long night we cross through Panama-Japan shipping. A tanker appears on the horizon at dawn, four miles away. At first I mistake the bridge for the entire vessel, before the bow mast appears impossibly far away and gives the thing its hulking scale.

Two dawns running find us near fishing boats, their lights ablaze. And then for days and days the ocean is perfect in its emptiness.

At night I pore over weather faxes and nurse the barky through eight hours of light wind. We want to be done with the northern hemisphere and this too-late season.

This ocean is VAST, Alisa says. How did I forget that?

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