Sunrise this morning tasted cherry. I swallowed a lot of reds and purples and yellows. After it rose, I closed my eyes and looked up in the direction of the sun. I like the fluorescent patterns that the sun makes behind my eyelids while the boat dances around.
It’s the greatest abstract art I’ve ever seen. I call it The Sundance.
I needed this moment with the sun this morning. I didn’t sleep much. It was all rock and roll last night. In the middle of it, Sava busted through his lee cloth and got thrown out of his bunk and onto the floor. Josh got attacked by oatmeal that was in a hammock above him. And I have been getting slammed from one wall to the next in the quarter berth as well as getting drenched by waves that climb down the companionway. I currently sleep in a puddle. I think we all do.
The mermen call my berth “the sarcophagus!” I don’t mind it though.
We have fallen off the wind to a beam reach, and it’s a fast and wild ride. On the Beaufort scale, today is a 6. Otherwise known as a strong breeze. That’s 22-27 knots or 25-31 miles per hour winds.
If you drive anywhere today, find a hilly road, stick your head out the window and go down it at that speed. Imagine that the trees are wave crests. Think of larger waves forming, whitecaps everywhere, more spray. Think of a whistling heard in canvas and wires and mind. Think of being rocked back and forth hard in all directions. And think of an unexpected rushing of salt water inside your vessel.
Then think of me.
It feels like the sea is chasing me inside and out. I wonder-still staring with eyes closed at the sun- if maybe the sea wants to wolf me down. Take me to some undertow. Toss me around, give me a tickle, see how squishy I am. Then let its creatures eat me limb for limb?
I open my eyes after I’ve had enough of The Sundance. I’m drenched. Dripping. I’m in the trough of a wave, it towers taller than me. I see the crest of the wave break, ever so slightly, before smashing into me and Juniper. It hits with a thud. Sounds like a hammer pounding into metal and feels like I’ve just been attacked by a bull that’s made of water.
I drip more.
I see 25 knots of wind sustained. And I know that I should be double reefed, but I’m not. Everyone is still sleeping. Even though I’ve reefed one hundred times on my own, if someone is here, I prefer them on deck watching. Just in case the sea does want to eat me, ya know? At least I’ll have a witness. Someone who can tell my story. “Bro, I sailed to Tahiti once and I kid you not, this chick gotten eaten by the ocean! All I saw were bones and foam by the time it was through with her.”
A wave crashes. I’m soaked. Another wave. More wet. More waves.
I drip. I drip. I drip.
I ride out 25 knots with only one reef for a long time. Three hours. The whole time my eyes dart back and forth from sea to instruments to chart plotter. I grip onto the helm.
Josh comes out. I throw in the second reef and pull out a little more jib. We are flying close to 7 knots now. I can smell Tahiti. It smells like coconuts and sharks and French pastries.
My watch ended. I lay down beneath the rainbows in the saloon. Bathe in them. It’s all I have the energy to do.
I’m a little melancholy today. It’s the kind of day where you wanna get lost, but then realize that you already are. And you also realize that there is no way that you could possibly get more lost than this.
I think it’s the exhaustion. The heat. The salt. The puddles. My body slamming into everything. It’s not just me, we all feel this way.
I laid under the rainbows until I remembered why I love being out here, until those thoughts were palpable enough to take me away from the thrashing of today.
Josh just finished baking a new loaf of bread. I said, “Guys lets just eat that whole loaf and see if we can make ourselves feel better.”
They said “yes,” with as much enthusiasm as one can muster under these circumstances.
I’m putting on some elastic pants as we speak.
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