Really left you hanging at the end of my last post, didn't I? Well, I like to build suspense. Otherwise, I get bored. Without further ado:
Most days of this passage passed without any incident at all. Sunrise faded to sunset, and sunset warmed to sunrise over and over again as they tend to do. Sail adjustments, one chafed sheet (rope), and the occasional squall were all that broke up the monotony until various members of the aquatic kingdom began climbing aboard to attack Leslie.
The first incident occurred on the tenth night out. Leslie took over her shift and settled into her beanbag with a fluffy mystery novel. The skies were calm, but the wind was piping at twenty, plus. The waves were climbing to seven or eight feet above the surface, curling over themselves and roaring beneath my hull in a flurry of white foam - a perfect launching board for flying fish. Suddenly, Leslie is screaming. She jumps from her beanbag and scrambles around in the cockpit - jumping and squealing. Andrew wakes in a freight and runs to the companionway. I sail on, but look back through the darkness to see what the commotion is about.
"Flop!" A wet, slippery thud lands on my deck then flops around wildly. His bony wings flap and flap, looking for purchase on something helpful.
"Oh my god!! A flying fish just flew down the back of my shirt and got pinned under my life jacket strap!!!" Leslie cried in utter disbelief, fish scales and the sensation of a frantic flopping fish still clinging to the skin on her back. In one rapid movement, she cups her hands, scoops the up the fish and tosses him overboard. Laughing, we all marvel at the low odds that a fish would land on Leslie and the even lower odds that he would land on the back of her neck and flop his way down her shirt! As everyone calms down, Andrew heads back to bed, and Leslie settles back down to spend the next few hours finding errant fish scales hiding in her seat and on her body. I laugh and sail on.
(They later learned that flying fish are mighty good eating, so when one "jumped ship" a few nights later, Andrew gutted him and pan fried him in butter for breakfast.)
A couple days later, night falls and Leslie begins reeling in the fishing line we had trailing beyond my wake all day. As she reels, a strange purple goo begins dripping from the fishing line. "What is that?" I ask.
Leslie looks down. "I don't know, our line is blue, maybe the dye is leaking off?" Leslie and I both look at the line skeptically. She continues to reel, carefully trying to keep the purple goo off her. The line is heavy, though and as she reels, she is holding the rod between her knees. The goo is dripping on her legs and spraying a little bit as it winds around the reel, hitting her face, left shoulder and chest. "I don't know," I say, and the possibility that it could be jellyfish dawns on me at the same moment Leslie begins to yelp. "It stings!" She cries, "What the heck? It's stinging!!"
"Uh, I think it's jellyfish!" I say.
Again, Andrew is up the companionway. "What's the matter?"
"Jellyfish!!!" Leslie howls. "I'm covered in jellyfish!! It stings, ahhh! It stiiiiiinnnnnggggssss!!!" Leslie struggles to put the reel back in the rod holder.
Andrew looks on, completely confused. "Jellyfish? How would you get stung by jellyfish while in the boat?" His eyes move to the fishing rod and see little clumps of goo dangling from the line. "Do you want me to pee on you?"
Leslie looks at Andrew with horror, "No!!!" She heads down below and tears off her clothes and jumps in the shower to wash the jellyfish off. Andrew carefully reels in the line trying to avoid getting anything on himself as Leslie continues to howl like a little girl in the shower down below. All I can do is sail on, staying on course until the commotion dies down (again).
Leslie completed her watch, and shift change happened at 2:00 a.m. About an hour later, I look back at Andrew. "Hey, was that my bilge pump?" I ask. Andrew looks overboard and sees the bilge pump pumping water. Then it stopped. "Yeah, probably just a bit of water from the squalls in the bilge." I keep sailing, but a couple minutes later, the pump goes again. "Hey! The pump again!"
Andrew looks overboard. "Weird. I'm sure it's nothing."
A few minutes later....pump. "Andrew, you need to go check that out!" I say with a little concern. Keep the rig up, and water out. Those are my two priorities! Andrew went down below. In the dark, he could see Leslie sleeping like the dead, with Osmond perched just above her head, also sleeping. Andrew turned on a light and noticed not a little water on the floor near the bathroom. Making his way forward, he peers into the bathroom and sees the water faucet turned on, full blast, set to the hot setting. It has filled and overflowed the sink (its drain valve closed because otherwise sea water gurgles up), soaking the toilet paper, partially filling the shower, and draining into the bilge. "What the...???" Andrew exclaims. On deck, I can hear him, but I can't see what's going on.
"What? What?!" I say. Andrew explains the situation. He looks at me as if to inquire as to the intention behind my mischief.
"I didn't do it!" I say.
"Well then who did? Leslie's dead asleep, and I sure didn't do it."
Andrew cleaned up the mess and waited until morning. As soon as Leslie peeked up out of her bunk, he started his inquisition. One by one, all crew members denied responsibility. We all looked at each other. This is not the first strange instance aboard. Leslie and Andrew have been complaining of hearing voices aboard since we departed. We will be sailing along and one or the other will say: "What did you say?" and the other will respond: "I didn't say anything." On numerous occasions, the crew member sleeping in the bunk awakens to the sound of several people quietly conferring in hushed voices over by the navigation station. My fans sometimes turn on by themselves; once, Andrew and Leslie were eating breakfast on the starboard salon bench when suddenly the fan over the port salon bench turned on. We have all thought the fans are caused by an odd wiring issue, but then again, it's not always the same fan....hm.
"I think Christopher Columbus is screwing with us again." Andrew proclaimed.
Now it is true that those great captains of old often roam amongst those who sail today, looking after them and helping out in times of trouble. In one great instance, Joshua Slocolm - the first man to sail around the world alone - tells of Christopher Columbus taking the helm while Slocolm recovered from hallucinations brought on by eating a foul potato. So, I guess anything is possible. But I point out that Christopher Columbus really only hangs out in the Atlantic Ocean.
"Maybe it's Richard Henry Dana," I suggested. He was the author of Two Years Before the Mast,and an explorer of the California Coastline. Dana Point is named in his honor. "Maybe we picked him up at our stop in Dana Point."
That night, several squalls move through leaving my decks dewy with fresh water the next morning. As the sun rose higher in the east and squall clouds cleared, a brilliant and complete rainbow developed just to my port side. It was amazing. Everyone gathered on deck for the beautiful view, everyone including Mr. Dana.
As of the time we wrote this post, (10 PM Pacific on 5/24) we were at 8 degrees South and 134 degrees West.