I Heard the Mermaids Singing

I Heard the Mermaids Singing

I posted this on Facebook Thursday morning.

I posted this on Facebook Thursday morning.

“If you shut your eyes and are a lucky one, you may see at times a shapeless pool of lovely pale colors suspended in the darkness; then if you squeeze your eyes tighter, the pool begins to take shape, and the colors become so vivid that with another squeeze they must go on fire. But just before they go on fire you see the lagoon. This is the nearest you ever get to it on the mainland, just one heavenly┬ámoment; if there could be two moments you might see the surf and hear the mermaids singing.” – Peter Pan

After breakfast I learned we were only ten miles off the coast from Newport. We’d been beating upwind all night under motor, and by morning the cross current had the boat banging about like mad. I put three eggs in a frying pan, then went to rescue a falling cup and when I turned back around there were only two yolks in the pan. I looked around. Sure enough. One had flown out of the pan and landed in the space between the stove and the counter top, slid down and over and between three cutting boards and made a trail from there to the sole.

I used the f-word. Imagine, trying to clean that up while still cooking the remaining eggs. While the boat kicked back and forth with the zeal of a two-year-old on a wooden horse.

We docked extremely smoothly, without help of our constantly deflating small boat, and soon wrapped up for lunch.

The yacht club from the galley window.

The yacht club from the galley window.

An Invitation
In the evening we were invited to the house of a former captain of our boat. Captain Smiley, as I’ll call him, comes from a family of sailors. He’s captained many boats and knew of an old friend of mine from Sweden. On his mantle, keys to various cities were displayed, beneath a giant portrait of his mother and him as a boy. The house was nothing fancy – a hodgepodge of the practical and the inherited – and it made me think of a comment I made a few days ago about how you don’t really need much to live on. Fancy things are overrated. (Says the girl with the white leather couch in a storage unit.) But it’s true.

Captain Smiley grilled us pork spare ribs and made us Dark and Stormies, and watched The Life Aquatic while we rotated through his shower. We were all pretty beat from the transit – though I can’t talk, not having been up half the night on watch.

I asked Captain Smiley about how he and his wife met. They were both working aboard a tall ship. Then they sailed together, under one or the other’s command, for 10-15 years. I had been wondering about how people in this life make their romances work when they move around constantly. There are several long distance relationships among our crew. But whenever I suggest hooking up with a tall ship sailor, inevitably, someone pooh-poohs this, calling it doomed. But here he was, Captain Smiley, living proof that you can have it all – the girl and the boat and a house by the sea.

The first mate's banh mi.

The first mate’s banh mi.

 

Thursday’s Menu
Breakfast
Biscuits, cheese eggs, grits
Lunch
Banh Mi, with the pate, an artichoke pate for the vegetarian, pickled carrots and the special sauce… Delicious.
Dinner
Boneless pork spare ribs, macaroni salad and potato salad – and lots of dark and stormies