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Windless at Sea

Boundless time at sea brings ceviche, secret treasures, and plenty of ukulele time.

I

stood dutifully in the galley, washing the dishes, stacking each in the rack by the sink, affording myself the slightest chuckle at the care with which I did so. Maybe, just maybe, there could be wind, and no selfrespecting sailor wants a chef ’s knife launching itself across the salon. No self-respecting sailor should tolerate, in my opinion, even a not-so-dangerous clanking of metal pots and melamine dishes should the lot of them go flying. I’d seen it happen, even on this 44-foot Antares catamaran. But there was no wind this day, not even a whisper of it. Oh, there had been—there had been delightful trade winds when we departed Grenada aboard Sea Horse six days prior, winds that forced us to furl in the jib a touch when the boat was galloping along at nine, nearly 10 knots. I could remember it just as I remembered the sweet smell of the honeysuckle outside my childhood home, but those winds were no closer to us now than the shrubbery of my parents’ yard in 1960s Missouri. I rinsed off a squarish bowl, one that had held ceviche earlier in the day, a gift to our meal plan afforded us by the generosity of the ocean and a sizable dolphin that had decided that our lure looked tasty enough to eat. Dolphin change color as they fight being caught, and this one was as yellow as a crayon sun when we pulled him on deck. I snapped pictures as he lay there 52 July 2021 SpinSheet.com

By John Herlig sacrificing himself for us just as he had hoped the small fish that would have been his dinner would have sacrificed itself—had it in fact been a small fish and not a purple plastic plot twist with an embedded hook. I find no particular joy in watching a fish suffer, and as the iridescent yellows faded from his body, we offered the poor fellow a shot of vodka to the gills to ease his suffering. His last drink was Belvedere, from a bottle I found in a galley locker. I hope my last, when it comes, is a decent scotch. The dolphin never got a vote in the matter. I smiled as I rinsed that little dish, although I am not sure if the smile made it all the way from my brain to my lips, a smile from knowing how ##Sailing through the Bahamas.

different life was aboard this boat compared to life on my little world cruiser Ave Del Mar. On Ave we most often wash the dishes curled over in the cockpit, spraying the scant soapy water off with a misting bottle. But there was no need for that here. I had just run the watermaker, itself powered by a large Cummins generator the likes of which Ave will never know, should never know. She’s from the wrong side of the tracks, my old gal, and luxuries like these are foreign to her. Water posed no problem aboard Sea Horse, though, and the soap ran off the bowl and down the drain, forgotten. Afterwards I sat a spell on the foredeck, scanning the horizon and feeling the sun beating down on my

Profile for SpinSheet Publishing Company

SpinSheet Magazine July 2021  

SpinSheet is a Chesapeake Bay sailing magazine written by sailors for sailors. Our sailing coverage goes "deep" rather than "wide," and we u...

SpinSheet Magazine July 2021  

SpinSheet is a Chesapeake Bay sailing magazine written by sailors for sailors. Our sailing coverage goes "deep" rather than "wide," and we u...

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