In the evening, Oliver collected table scraps to chum the waters.
Grunts, snappers, and remora seemed to hit any type of bait-bacon
to bread. The water is so clear, of course, that aiming the beam
of a small flashlight at the bait suspended six feet down catches
the iridescent and darting shapes of fish making passes. All hooked
fish were admired, photographed, recorded in our unofficial log
Slowly, the three of us were sinking into tropical indolence. We
had no computers to wake and rise to, no email, no telephone ringing.
Anxiety over unfinished and awaiting tasks began to fade. Each day
we sailed, ate, and snorkeled, sailed, ate and snorkeled....
|The chef's culinary cleverness was a highlight
of each day-perhaps grilled sea bass or shrimp pasta, asparagus,
pumpkin and coconut soup, Mediterranean salad, fruit, fresh
baked brownies, bananas flambé. Most evenings we dined
in the cockpit, illuminated first by an inverted basket lamp
hung from the bimini frames, later by the swelling moon. As
the days passed, the profile of my stomach was waxing at the
same rate as the moon, and by the end of the week, both were
in the same state of fullness.
Oliver said," There are three things that happen on de
boat: You will be hungry all de time. You will be tired all
de time. And you will be sleepy all de time.. That's what de
salt air do"
It was true. At home, Andra and I normally sleep six to seven
Snorkeling off Treasure Point
at Norman Island
Our first night on La Creole, we logged nine, which we attributed
to the stress of the trip. But each succeeding night we fell asleep
earlier and arose later, until it seemed we snoozed half of each
day. The less we did, the less we did. Spoiled, somnolent, satiated,
we were the childlike Eloi of H.G Wells' The Time Machine (starring
Rod Taylor as the Time Traveler in the movie version), clothed and
fed for consumption by the underground Morlocks. Perhaps my perspective
was a little skewed, but as Morlocks was the way I now viewed practically
everyone back home in the, you know, rat race.
Oliver proved to be a most amiable captain and companion, especially
to Steve, who regarded his elder as if he were an oracle of the
deep, the very voice of Poseidon. If Oliver said there were no manta
rays in such a and such a bay, then there were none. If he said
the fish wouldn't bite before dark, they wouldn't.
Oliver was happy to make conversation whenever we desired or when
we fell silent, simply to drift off to some other part of the boat.