Beyond Beyond; Episode 48
A full two days of sailing spanned between Rich and Fernando de Noronha. During which he edged closer to the South American shore. He set a course for Porto Seguro.
Circling the port on a map Rich said, “Anything named Porto must have a port deep enough for The Odyssey. I hope more English is spoken there.”
He estimated from Fernando de Noronha the trip might take at least a week.
Rich picked a book from the shelf, To Have and Have Not. He laid on the bench beneath the shelf and placed it on his chest. As the cabin rolled from side to side he thought, “As much as Salty was a great companion he is not missed in one sense; he was at danger. However, he was a good man, wise with many stories, and an agreeable nature – that will be missed. I hope he is doing well and thinks little of my absence – although I know he will worry everyday. And so will I, about him.”
On the third day from Fernando de Noronha Rich awoke to overcast. The weather vane indicated rain. Before preparing breakfast Rich erected the pilothouse. No sooner was it finished and the rains came – a rain of which Rich had never seen the likes. Drops speared through the air like tiny a horde of meteorites crashing to the sea and momentarily leaving fearsome miniature craters.
Rich prepared a breakfast of an omelet with onions, sausage, and cheese. The coffee purchased in Fernando de Noronha was strong, rich, and flavorful. It warmed and soothed. The rain pelted in varied tonal frequencies – hard, very hard, deafening.
Little difference existed between the cabin than his apartment in Rockland and his room back home – a refuge from the outside, a castle and stronghold for his soul.
The heavy rains lasted four hours and tapered to a drizzle.
As Rich sailed on endlessly it became clear that the real danger in long distance sailing was loneliness, boredom, and complacency. However the threat of someone perusing him with deadly intent held any of those enemies at bay.
Rich sailed on.
He played chess. He being his own opponent, or course. It wasn’t exciting, but many might argue with some degree of conviction that chess under any circumstances is not an exuberant endeavor. It provided a diversion.
Reading and writing occupied a great deal of time and mental activity. He now possessed a small collection of short stories, all about the sea.
“What else is there to write about,” he thought, “that is all there is.”
Reading over them he thought, “I wonder what Dennis would think of my stories? I think he would herald my effort, but deeply criticize my prose. My writing is choppy and tarnished compared to his free flow of good words. He will be a famous writer someday. Maybe he’ll model a character after me in one of his books. Wouldn’t that be something. I’ll send him my logs and journals and from them he can create a proper novel.”
“But it is my story and no man can write another man’s story. Leastways, do it justice.”
“When this is all through, I’ll look him up and share my adventures. He’ll be famous by then, but he’ll have time for an old friend.”
It was not as if there was nothing to do other than watch the sails and waves. There were small maintenance chores and minor repairs that had to be tended. Rich knew that taking care of them while being only minor averts major problems later. If something seen or thought, Rich attended to it immediately. Nothing else deemed more importance than The Odyssey. The boat is everything and everything on the boat is everything.
He exercised vigorously twice a day and measured his progress.
He thought ahead to beyond the Strait of Magellan, the Pacific and the vastness that would test his mettle far more than what he had experienced thus far. There were those times he doubted himself, whether he had what it takes. “There will come a time when it is a matter of just enduring one day at a time.”
“I love to sail,” Rich muttered looking out over the roof of the cabin and beyond the bow. “The flap of the sails, the dash of the waves, and the comfort of a snug vessel in an uncertain environment gives me completeness and a strange sort of purpose that I can’t define.”
Forward The Odyssey split through the waves and wind and crested the waves like stone skipping across a pond.