almost half way
Tuesday, 21 April :Day 10
Today is all about the dolphins. And here I have to agree with Herman. It strikes me incidentally, that I am now perfectly entitled to consider myself on first name terms with the dead American, having read – nay, endured – every last word of both his pompous rant in defence of the dignity of whaling and his unutterably tedious chapter on Cetology (the classification of whales and other spouting fish with horizontal tails). I do not take such liberties lightly. Far be it for me to refer to Ms Austen as plain “Jane” or Mr Dickens as “Chuck”. I cannot even bring myself to refer to the Brontë siblings by anything other than their surnames, even though this can lead to great confusion. However, last night I did Mr Melville the great courtesy of not skipping over his coma-inducing prose and I feel he owes me a little something in return.
I digress. Back to the Dolphins. To quote Herman, on the ‘Huzza Porpoise’: “if you yourself can withstand three cheers at beholding these vivacious fish (sic), then heaven help ye; the spirit of godly gamesomeness is not in ye.” I concur. This morning as I sat alone in the cold damp drizzle of a sunless, grey pacific dawn, I was feeling a tad miserable. Herman’s prose was probably not helping my mood. But now I am full of the joys of spring. I have been filled to bursting with godly gamesomeness and I fear a little may be trickling down my leg even as I type. If my huzzas were internalised, it was simply because Mrs Skippy was trying to sleep at the time.
What brought on this gleeful gushing of gamesomeness? Why, Dolphins of course. Even to view the delicate curve of a dolphin’s back at some distance from the boat stirs the soul (Provided, Mother, that one is actually looking at a real dolphin and not yet another wave that looks a little bit like a dolphin if you’re squinting because the sun is in your eyes at the time. Waves we have enough of. Waves we see daily. I could see no more waves for months and it would not fill my heart with yearning. But dolphins… Give me excess of them!). To see a dozen or more gambolling about the bows of the boat for an hour or more, diving under the boat and then leaping ahead of it, sporting in ranks of threes and fours (and indeed every other mathematical factor of twelve: interestingly they never grouped in sevens): that leaves a smile of the face only surgery can remove. To witness two dolphins doing backflips and somersaults not 12’ from the starboard beam was truly awe-inspiring. But to then see three dolphins, nose-to-tail, leaping clean out of the water and vaulting right over our now naked whiskerpole as if trained at Chessignton World of Adventures, now that really would have been worth writing about. I’ll keep you posted. Call me Guido.
Today’s Tool Of The Day is the humble slotted or flat-head screwdriver. I am not talking of ratchet screwdrivers or electrical screwdrivers here, just the honest-to-god, salt-of-earth manual screwdriver. It is remarkably adept at fastening screws, provided the gauge of its head matches the gauge of the screw you are trying to fasten. And if you want to undo the screw? Just use the same tool, but rotate the shaft in the other direction. Genius. It’s also pretty handy for jamming ropes into jamming cleats which don’t actually want to jam, and the handles of the larger ones will also serve as a cosh in extremis. Nice.
It is one of those days. I only saw the dolphins briefly as I was catching up on sleep and then had to clear out a cupboard cos a tin had burst (sell by date 2010 for those of you who know my propensity to hang onto things)
Also the alternator is playing up again.
At least the wind is still good and it has now stopped raining so the sea is blue again and it will soon be beer o’clock and supper time. Beef in beer casserole. I managed tom yum goon yesterday which was quite authentic despite the lack of fresh coriander and lemon grass.
It’s all been said, save 2 new cleats in action. How did we ever mange without them?