It’s 6 am and I’m standing on the port side deck in the damp, chilly air. The moon is full and still high above the horizon. Orion and Gemini are almost directly overhead in the clear dark sky. All around are the sounds of land, waking birds, cicadas, peepers, and off in the distance, the muezzin. I’m remembering the sounds of the sea.
It’s been a long time since the magical night watches of a long passage. Far from land in deep water there’s little chance of encountering another vessel and I loved the 360° horizon, our tiny boat an insignificant dot suspended in what seems like outer space except for the rhythm of the ocean swell and the distinctive creaks and moans of a sailboat underway.
I grab my flip flops and a camera and walk in the dark to the other side of the island to watch the sun turn the clouds to gold. Two herons wade along the shore, pecking for breakfast at low tide, and as the sky brightens more birds join the chorus.
The sun breaks the horizon and just like that, it’s morning and the sky is a brilliant blue, with billowing clouds marching up the Malacca Strait to the west. A troop of macaques makes their way through the treetops and down to the water. More and more monkeys arrive until there must be 30 or so, the young ones racing up and down the tree trunks while the godfathers guard the perimeter on the ground.
I leave the shelter of the trees and I can see both the rising sun and the full moon from one vantage point, a phenomenon that never fails to bring me joy. I love living this close to nature, where the weather informs what you do on any given day, where the soundtrack is provided by birds and insects and other creatures, by the wind in the trees and in the rigging. These early mornings are precious to me, a walking meditation.
We have sold Escape Velocity, our magic carpet, our life. Change is always hard and the next few weeks will be especially challenging as we transition away from this island that has sheltered us for nearly three years, from this vessel that has been our home for more than nine years. We will be off the water for the time being while we do some land travel to places we can’t sail to. We’re going to indulge in a buffer somewhere and take time to recover from the stress of the sale and the move before we fly back to the States to visit family for the holidays.
What comes next after that we haven’t a clue.
Back at the boat, I’m having coffee in the cockpit. A troop of monkeys is making a racket near the end of the hardstand, and I can hear at least five different birdsongs. Other than that, the marina is silent. Soon the boatyard will come alive with the sounds of sanding and grinding, and carts and bicycles rumbling along the docks. That’ll be time for me to get busy packing.