Friday Photo

This post was originally published on June 5, 2008. Fond memories.

The Day the Sea was Lighter than the Sky

Having passed Cape Guadarfui, we have entered a zone of absolute calm. For the last 48 hours the sea has been smooth and oily, except where a slight breeze ruffles its surface or covers it with a network of minute wrinkles as regular as the weave of a tapestry. Upon this mirror flying-fish rise up, glide, and take off again, like swallows skimming the water. In the middle of this great shoreless lake the evenings take on an exquisite beauty. Yesterday I could never tire of looking to the east where the sea was uniformly milky and green, with opalescence that was still not transparent, lighter than the background of the sky. Suddenly on the horizon a thin diffuse cloud became tinged with pink; and then with little oily ripples of the ocean still opal on one side and turning to lilac on the other, the whole sea looked for a few seconds like watered silk. Then the light was gone and the stars began to be reflected around us as peacefully as in the water of a quiet pool.

– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Letters from a Traveller, written somewhere between Egypt and India, 1923.
We have returned to the Pacific Northwest after being gone a few days over a year. The foreign yet familiar smells of the coast: the salt and seaweed, the rocks and the trees were one of the first things to assail our senses, quickly followed by green. Despite being in many different and stunningly beautiful far-away places for the last twelve months, this is home and there is a strange beauty to this countryside. Strolling through the quaint streets of Port Townsend, Washington, I realize how good it is to be home, even though I’m not quite there. Sailing down the Strait of Juan de Fuca a few days ago was a surreal feeling. The lights of Victoria offered a glow on the horizon off to port, escorting us along. Are we really back? Yes, but no. There are still ten days left before we sail into Victoria’s Inner Harbour in all our glory. Ten days to keep living this isolated, simple life that exists on board. Ten days to continue to enjoy life with this wonderful group of trainees and crew that I’ve spent the last three weeks crossing our final stretch of Pacific Ocean with. Its been an epic adventure; one full of amazing experiences and valuable lessons and lots of good times.

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