Location: Approaching Panama
We have come at last to the final night of our passage from St. Vincent to Panama. After jibing yesterday, we turned our course southward and have since been taking the sea on our port beam. Despite days of swell several meters in height and gusts of up to forty knots, keeping the wind astern had made the roll and pitch of the boat feel almost pleasant. Now the ocean washes into us from the perpendicular, and I must confess this has a resulted in some chaos on board as the shipmates struggle valiantly to keep the dishes restrained. Ahead of us waits the Panama canal, a doorway between oceans, carved through a continent. From there we will enter the Pacific having bypassed the tip of South America. I find myself in great appreciation of this shortcut. Imagine if we had to do this the long way around. They say the storms around Cape Horn are nothing to be underestimated. Just think of how hard it would be do the dishes then.
Sometimes I like to consider the flying fish. They’ve evolved themselves to flee from predators by escaping into the air. When they are disturbed by the passing of a ship, however, they don’t do the sensible thing and dive deep under the keel; they again take to the air, even though they are better suited to submerging, what with being fish after all. To their most unpleasant surprise, they then discover that there is more ship above the water than there was beneath it. Why haven’t they figured this out yet?
Before leaving St. Vincent we took extra care to remove every barnacle from Argo’s hull. But what if just one survived, hidden in a crevice? What must it be feeling right now? Out of concern, I’ve written this haiku.
The last of my kind
My people scraped away
From Argo’s belly
Pictured: Mac and Tim in the charthouse; Giselle and Trevor on bow watch; galley crew prepping for dinner and holding flying pots.