Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 12-13: Pea soup

Ishmael called me around 10 PM. The fog had gathered, wooly and thick, and the air was so wet you couldn't tell whether it was raining or not. There was a barely-perceptible wind, but it was next to impossible to steer -- no reference point except the compass, and in light air the boat takes five minutes to respond to the helm. I relieved Ishmael and he went into the cabin and collapsed in his turn.

I fiddled with the radio and found a religious station, with a preacher engaged in earnest exegesis of the Epistle to the Romans. He had actually read the book and done some hard serious thinking about a hard dense obscure contradictory text. This is a undertaking I admire deeply, and have done a bit of, in my day.

My man knew his Greek, too, and though preachers usually make me groan when they start talking about the "original Greek" or the "original Hebrew", this chap got it right. So I followed his reasoning with pleasure and respect until the aether stopped cooperating and I lost his signal. I don't know quite where he would have ended up, but I was right there with him for a rather intensely focused half hour, which is longer than I can usually stay with NPR before I snort or chortle or say, right out loud, "Thou fool!"

By the time the radio preacher went away, the wind had gone away too. The Scapegrace was, for all practical purposes, adrift -- and so, of course, was I, without my radio preacher to guide me; but I'm used to that. I take my guidance where, and when, I find it.

The wind was more often out of the west than anywhere else, but you couldn't do a damn thing with it. So around midnight I hove-to against what wind there was and went and took a nap.

By 2 AM or so we had drifted almost back to Sesuit, but the wind had come up a bit, and the air was a little less thick, so I popped my bleary head abovedecks and set sail. By 4 AM we had won our way back out of the corner-pocket of Cape Cod Bay to the vicinity of Barnstable, where the wind failed us again. In the faint chalky pre-dawn light I dropped the hook, in twenty feet of water, and went to sleep.

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