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Story by Tor Pinney                                                                                                                                        Back to List of Tor's Tales

                  

 

Waxing Poetic Over the Puerto Rico Trench
2014 Tor Pinney - All Rights Reserved


 

Ship's Log - March 05, 2014, 0000 hrs.
Lat. 1917N x Long. 6614W

Midnight and Ive got the watch for the next 3 hours. One of my crew is sleeping belowdecks and the other, just relieved, will be in a minute or two. The good ketch, Silverheels, sails free under genoa and single-reefed main, heeling and rolling, creaking gently, the ENE trade winds a steady 15 knots on her starboard quarter. The GPS puts her squarely over the Puerto Rico Trench, an inconceivable five miles of ocean beneath her keel. Above, ten thousand stars blaze unopposed now that the crescent moon has set, their constellations like so many old friends. A favorite, the Southern Cross, rises off the port quarter, canted low over the alien loom of San Juan, Puerto Rico where millions of people live under their millions of electric lights barely 50 miles away, the glow strangely isolated out here, another world. Out here. We share our bit of ocean with a lone tanker 25 miles off, visible only to the AIS, bound for Rotterdam (the readout tells me) at 12 knots while we ghost at half that speed towards the Turks & Caicos and southern Bahamas, still hundreds of nautical miles ahead, our heading marked precisely by stout Jupiter slung beneath Orion's Belt. For the next 3 hours all this is all mine. Aye, it's a fine night to be at sea.
 

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