Monday, August 22, 2011


Thank you Susan for your subscription!

Jack woke to the hot tropical sun streaming through the hatch. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes, totally refreshed and alive. The barely perceptible motion of the boat told him all he needed to know about the night's events, as did the sun pouring straight down the bow hatch on what would otherwise be a southbound vessel. Jack snuck a grab at Linda's rear as she stirred their breakfast on the galley stove, then emerged on deck to find Willie snoozing in the still cockpit. The Caribe now lay off the port side, both vessels twirled about in the swirling current. All being secure to his satisfaction, Jack then mounted the gun'nel, crossed over the life lines, and plunged into the glossy sea. The noise roused Willie from his blissful slumber, and Jack laughed when he saw him at the life lines with a ring buoy at the ready. “I ain't drowning” he said, then dove down deep beneath First Watch. He surfaced on the other side, then dove down again, swimming deep, deep down into the cobalt blue.

When he surfaced again, the boat was twenty yards to the west from where he left it. As was the Caribe, who's stern now presented. Jack watched the shadowy form of a shark pass well beneath him as he hoisted himself back aboard. A large omelette of powdered eggs, Rotel, and diced mahi mahi awaited him, along with a mug of what remained of the coffee. A rather weak brew, but still plenty enough for the well rested Jack. Willie finished up and went below to continue his sleep while Jack fetched his binoculars, more out of habit than necessity.

In them, he saw the remnants of Caribe's crew- those who were not asleep below- moving lazily about the deck. He could see them without the binoculars, but with them he could see their faces in detail. A dark black man, probably from the Caribbean. A slight red-headed fellow, likely of Irish descent by the look of his clothes and the pipe that protruded from his teeth. A thick bodied woman- not obese, but stout; with dark hair and eyes, probably of eastern European lineage. An older fellow, with white hair and beard, looking much like a Greek, who walked with a limp.

He studied them for a bit, then turned his attention to the surrounding sea. Nothing... Nothing but empty, dead calm ocean surrounded them, as if they had crossed into the equatorial doldrums themselves. Barely a ripple marred the oily surface, and the deep blue was only occasionally broken by the shadow of a shark or a billfish taking refuge in First Watch's shadow, along with the remora and myriad small fishes that ply the open sea. A small pod of dolphins came by, made game of the fish that lay in the shadow, and even sent a wayward chub over the bows with a swat of a mighty tail. Jack couldn't help but laugh with delight at the spectacle; and Linda smiled with him, catching sight of his grin from down below.

On and on they drifted across a mirror sea, barely a hint of wind to be found. Once again, a vast mat of sargassum enveloped them. Linda delighted in the small sargassum crabs, shrimp, and seahorses she found beneath the floating weed, and Jack delighted in a lively thirty pound yellowfin tuna that took his cast-netted puffer fish bait. Over an hour after hooking the speedy brute, having chased it 'round the deck six times, Jack finally sunk the gaff into it's shoulder and brought it aboard. Several delicious meals it would make for the four of them, and Jack was grateful to have landed the fish. As were the Caribes, who landed several more themselves, sending out tremendous cheers for each one as it came aboard.

Though the species varied, the same routine carried for days. The ships (for the second was now almost in hailing distance) and First Watch continued on with their whirling about in the current. Further northward it carried them, out into the open Atlantic. Out toward danger...


  1. Darn MayBerry but you are good! Hook us with a great relaxing story we all wish we were in and then BAM! You gaff us and pull us abroad - there be danger ahead!