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A Hundred Gourds 3:3 June 2014

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Pris Campbell - USA


Midnight


Another black wave rushes under us, the boat surfing forward in this night passage from Mannesquam to Atlantic City. We've already reefed the main and doused the headsail, leaving only our tiny storm jib. The rush of water, so dark I can't see it coming, becomes so strong that I can no longer hold the tiller steady. If I can't, we'll be flung sideways and possibly broach or even roll. My stronger companion takes over while I navigate our position. We're ahead of schedule, since we're racing well over hull speed, over the bottom. The buoy that takes us safely past the shoals for the turn towards Atlantic City bobs in a sea of other buoys ahead. We were supposed to arrive at this point two hours after sunrise . . .

I grab the handheld compass and take a reading on the last buoy we passed, then a second reading on the glow that can only be Atlantic City. Where they intersect on the chart tells me, hopefully, where we are. A line drawn from that fix to our buoy should help identify it. Back out on deck I point the compass along that heading to one light.

My companion asks if I'm sure. I hesitate. I calculated this course hurriedly on what amounts to a carnival ride. I'm almost sure--not totally, but we need confidence.

"Yes," I say.

First light shows it's the right buoy. We round this most welcome sight, sail into the harbor, drop anchor, and fall into a deep sleep.

seagulls
ride the updrafts
uncoiled lines



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