The moon sparkles on the water, the gentle splash of waves tossing the boat against the anchor and the shore ties. The tropics always have a distinct feel to them - I've never been able to describe it except to say that blindfold me and drop me in the midst of them and I'd know in a heartbeat where I was. The gentle pitching makes sleep the most desireable thing in the world right now - oh God how I want to close my eyes, just for a moment. My love and my friends are below decks. Only I am here watching the skies and the shore. There is no sleep for me - I am the youngest aboard and the only night owl as well, so I will lean against the bulkhead, waiting for the return of the natives who tried to swarm us today, weapon balanced easily on my legs, searching for anything. any slight disturbance in the water, anyone closing on our shore tie.
I rise, walk forward to look over the bow, stepping over and around the multitude of lines needed to keep a modern sloop headed in the right direction. Damn I'm tired - that hasn't changed. I return, my hourly run abound the 50 footer complete. A swig of water and I'm good for a while longer. I flip on the VHF to see if anyone else is up - I dont feel like advertising that we're here alone, so I just listen to a couple of boats chatting post party - down the coast another 25 miles I'd guess. It helps pass the time. I check the instruments, making notes in the deck log of the wind, waves, and visibility.
You keep your eyes constantly sweeping, as much to keep from falling asleep as anything else. I think I'm seeing a little better onshore - I turn and notice the sliver of pink light at the edge of the world and I know it cant be that long now. All I have to do is hang on a little longer, then someone else can take over. The breeze picks up a little, as it often does at that hour. Toothpicks - that's what I need - toothpicks to keep my eyes open for the next hour. I grin at the thought - that would be a fine sight to greet the early risers - my eyes held open with toothpicks. I move around again, rechecking all the knots that keep us here, in this place of relative safety until the sun comes up. Oh - sleep is coming, I can feel it - only a few more minutes. Daylight is no longer a soft glow, really beginning to sweep the bay. I sense the heat rising - even on the water you feel the heat of the day start early.
Finally it is time. I head down the companionway and reach in to wake the cute blone head nestled under the covers. I'd love to make quiet passionate love, but at the moment I have other needs - sleep, I can just feel it. I tell her 10 minutes and she sleepily nods. I head back up on deck to finish up my watch. It's been delightfully quiet - more than I half-expected. Not that I'm looking for a fight, you understand - I just want to be ready if there is one. A few minutes later I hear the sounds of coffee being started in the galley - last thing in the world I want. Damn. Sleep, all I want is to go below and curl up in the dark and sleep.
My sweetie pops up on deck, wrapped around a steaming cup of coffee. No words, no formality, no turning over the boat - she just nods and I head below, leaving her in charge. I hardly get my clothes off, fall onto my berth. Sleep. Oh yes, sleep. Damn that feels good.
Was just not feeling good last week - I had a story in mind but I was (still am) fighting off a chest cold and I just couldn't quite get everything together. It would have been Microfantasy Wednesday by the time I got it in.
What actually happened was that i got 45 minutes of sleep and we wound up in the midst of a school of porpoises. I would up on deck sleepily watching them cavort - I never did get any real sleep that day...