"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Friday Afternoon

>> Sunday, April 26, 2009

At first glance not much seems to be going on 70 miles off the coast of northern Florida. The gulf stream, with its giddying speeds, sobering amounts of large ship traffic, and promise of snaring a tuna or dorado on the fishing line veers eastward and out to sea after Port Canaveral (beware falling rocket parts 1730-2100, Monday through Friday, the chart says), leaving the Gamage steaming alone at five knots in a glassy sea. Watches in such conditions are seldom particularly interesting; there is little or no sail handling, and the helmsman and navigator have only to keep the boat pointed at the destination and slowly count down the remaining miles. Fortunately nature stepped in to entertain us with a series of wildlife visitations.

First came a three or four warblers who lost offshore, decided to catch a free ride. They landed on our rigging, flew around catching insects, and eventually, stripped of their natural wariness by the sheer novelty of the situation, started landing on peoples arms, heads, hands and with a marked preference for Mr. Hunter.
Although the warblers were extremely popular they were by no means the only visitors. The sea was filled with by the wind jellyfish, all of whom seemed to be headed south, becalmed like us but having no engine. Dolphins visited twice, looking up at us from some of the clearest water we’ve yet seen. A young shark passed on some indeterminate mission of his own by without paying us the slightest attention. We turned the ship around to look for a sea turtle spotted by captain, simply enjoying ourselves on our flat patch of ocean.

As the sun set much of the ship’s company still lingered on deck, talking and laughing. The visits of so many animals in such an unexpected place had in some way washed away all the malaise normally associated with motoring through a calm, leaving the Gamage a happy and contented ship.

Eric Simpson (Second Mate/Engineer)


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