+xA Fish up my Sleeve
Alex Blackwell, s/v Aleria
It was the antithesis of a “Dark and Stormy Night”. It was well into my ‘midnight to four’ in the morning watch. We were about halfway across the Atlantic, en route from the Canaries to the Caribbean. It was, in fact, one of those nights all sailors dream of. There was not a cloud in the sky and the stars shone brightly from horizon to horizon. The milky way was like a brushstroke painted by the hand of God. The constellations were easy to spot, even for the astronomical novice I was and still remain.
Being out at sea, and out of sight of land has always been a very special and emotional experience. This was particularly true when there were only two people on board. The person on watch was responsible for everything that was important in the world.
There was an ever so slight chill in the near-equatorial air. I had donned a light jacket over my tee-shirt on Daria’s advice to keep myself comfortable and warm.
As I lay there in the cockpit of our boat, contemplating the stars, the universe and everything, my thoughts once again came to what an insignificant speck we were out there in the middle of the vast ocean. I smiled knowing that I was not alone. Daria was below sleeping soundly, as our boat glided almost silently through the water. A little gurgle was all that was to be heard.
Just then there was a shower of meteorites. I had but one wish, and repeated it over and over again, in the hopes of improving my odds.
Life was good. I sighed, briefly closing my eyes, savouring the moment.
Just then I felt something go up my sleeve and slam in to my right armpit. Pain shot through the length of my arm. I jumped up and let out a small scream in shock. I then reached under my jacket with my left hand. It closed on something cold and slimy.
Crying out “shit, shit, shit”, and stomping on the cockpit floor, I grabbed hold of whatever it was and flung it overboard.
Daria appeared in the companionway, just in time to see a lovely flying fish being hurled out and away.
“That would have made a nice breakfast”, she remarked.