Tuesday 14 July 2015

L'Ametlla. The night

I hadn't made any sleeping arrangements so when I was asked, in the final stages of dinner, the simple reply was 'In the boat.'

It was late, gone midnight, and groups, reluctant to call it a day, stood smoking and drinking on the fish dock. It seemed wise to sort out my bed before the befuddlement became too generalised. But then it also became clear that with the bedding in the car and the boat on the other side of the port that I'd have to drive round and, given my degree of yaw, this would have been breaking the law. However, I could row the boat to the car.

Stepping carefully over the be-dewed decks of two other boats I settled into Onawind Blue, slipped her damp mooring lines and gave a gentle push. She glided noiselessly across the water, a drifting cursor on a flat, black, reflective screen. When she'd come to a natural halt I silently took up the oars and gave a pull, the water coiling like warm oil around the blades. And away, past the bright lights and babble on the fish dock, past the sleeping boats, past the avenue down which I should have turned to reach the car, past the mighty tuna fishing boats, past the green and red flashing lights that marked the port's entrance and past bedtime. Out onto the sea swanned Onawind blue. The moon, lacking a slither to its left side, rode over the remaining swell. I purposefully splashed an oar into its reflection to watch it deform and re-assemble.

What do you do out on the sea at one o'clock on a warm summer night? In my case I kept on rowing, out towards that place where the rim of a black disc met the rim of a black star-flecked dome. And then suddenly, like the tide rising in time-lapse, tiredness overtook me.

Back at the pontoon by the car I had to moor stern on which makes getting in an out of the boat treacherous—she rolls wildly as I step around the mizzen mast. Once I'd scratched my knees transferring my person from boat to quay I decided to scratch my plans to sleep aboard. Instead I slept in the car amongst clothes and kit, spare lines and life jackets, with my feet protruding out of the boot.


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