Woke up: Bahia de Las Muertos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Went to sleep: 22◦ 57’ north; 108◦ 24’ west
Back On Watch
I can hardly stand being “on watch”. Being on watch is the most pathetic non-activity masquerading as an important activity ever conceived. I read two pages of a novel. Then I stand up and gaze out over the bow to make sure no unanticipated land mass or fast moving freighter has appeared out of nowhere. All I see is gray ocean bumping up against gray sky. I look to starboard and all I see is gray ocean bumping up against gray sky. I look to port and all I see is gray ocean bumping up against gray sky. I look astern and all I see is gray ocean bumping up against gray sky. I check the compass to confirm the autopilot is holding us steady at 120 degrees magnetic. I admire the sail trim. I check my watch and verify two more minutes have elapsed. Only 6 more minutes until I take the 2:00 pm reading.
At 2:00 pm I’ll get to go down below and record our latitude and longitude. Then I’ll plot our current position on the chart and connect the dots between our current position and the position I recorded an hour ago. Good news! We’ve progressed almost ¼-inch and only 127-inches more to go. I long for a chart with a bigger scale so our progress would feel more satisfying. I go down below to use the head even when I don’t have to. Sitting on the toilet contemplating the crack below the door is a welcome distraction. I’m grazing on animal crackers at the rate of 14 ounces per nautical mile. No wonder I’m getting so pudgy.
Plus, I turned 58 this month. Right before my eyes I’m morphing into a pudgy, wrinkled, blotchy skinned matron. Each evening you plan for the next day, set the alarm, hope for a restful sleep, wake up, do it again and while you’re busy living life – God willing – you wake up a pudgy, wrinkled, blotchy skinned matron who lies about her age for discounted movie tickets.
Peter comes up to check on me. He informs me we are dragging a 3-foot Mahi Mahi on the hand line. I assure him I have, in fact, been paying attention. I was watching for freighters and mountains, not little fish committing suicide on your grantedly enticing lure. He pulls the fish to the side of the boat and impales it with the gaff. I go below to fetch the fillet knife, the sharpening steel, the red bowl and the zip lock bags.
Twenty minutes later, the fish is in the freezer and I’m back on watch. Only one more hour to go.