We finished another day’s work and kept watch down the channel for the Irving Johnson—she’d been gone for a week on a voyage among the Channel Islands. Tiffany brought Judy aboard—she’ll be here two weeks as a volunteer, bless her heart—and Saul dug into his stuff and brought out some refreshing beverages. Judy immediately began making a big dinner in our galley, with me peeling potatos, Courtney drifted in and out—pried away from her MySpace account for the moment--and the whole operation shifted into after-work mode. A couple of truly stupendous luxury cruise ships went by, their decks crowded with waving people—you need to look way up to see them as these mountain ranges go floating past. The mariachi bands were already warbling away at the fish market dock beside us, and Saul came into the galley to hang out awhile.
You know, he said, living aboard a tall ship is really the best way to go. You make almost no money, but you have room and board taken care of, you get to hang out with a lot of brilliant crazies, and every day or so you get to sail. You get to climb to the top of the mast and look at whales or dolphins, explain to a bunch of kids how to haul a ton of mainsail and gaff to the top of the mainmast, and then stand back and watch them do it, steer the boat, anchor at interesting islands and explore them, zip around in your little inflatable, and be generally arvy-dar and self reliant among the pasty white landlubbers you see ashore. You really could do much worse.
Saul’s headed off this week to work on another tall ship, this one in Chicago, where he’ll be first mate. It’s probably not the career his scientist parents envisioned for him, and maybe he won’t stay with it. But for now, like so many people who drift into this world, he is captured.
A bit later, Irving came grandly in and discharged her crew of college students, the Irving’s regular crew came over for dinner and the sun went down on another raucous Saturday in San Pedro.
The evening drew on, the refreshing beverages got refreshed, and things in the nav station got increasingly debased until Tiffany finally crawled off to her cabin—not even Carlos wrestling her to the floor could stop her--and the party broke up. Tomorrow, another sail among dolphins and whales.
Yes, Saul, I know what you mean.