Atlantic Crossing Day 16

The sun is setting abaft the starboard quarter, the sapphire sky burning at the horizon. Deep azure blue set ablaze by yellows and pinks, then fading to purple and finally molten crimson. Soft shadows cast by the shrouds and ratlín’s crawl across the deck and creep over the doghouses and grilles giving emotive dimension to the archaic lines of the ship. Looking off the beam, the horizon rises and falls over the gun again and again. Smells of sun baked teak oil and Spanish cooking fill the cooling air. We’ve had some rough days as of late but this isn’t one of them. The sea has calmed and our rolling is a gentle sway, so much so that we were able to have a man overboard drill and everyone is well rested. We are nearing the end of our journey across the sea and the crew is absolutely vibrant. The excitement to return to their home country is evident on their faces.

As is normal for me on El Galeon, this being my third year as the Ship’s Carpenter, I am covered head to toe in sawdust, teak oil, cuts and scrapes. I suppose I have the best job on the ship, getting to work on such a beautiful vessel and lend my hard earned skills to improve and maintain her bygone-era grace is a true joy. I have nicknamed the ship “Luci”, short for “El Galeon Andalucia” and she is a true lady. Out here, in the middle of the Atlantic, everything we do is for her. She holds us, cradles us like her babes, rocks us to sleep, keeps us safe from the abyss, and strengthens our little nautical family that has formed on her.

At night the stars dance with the masts swinging back and forth like the pendulum from a gargantuan grandfather clock keeping time with the sea. The monolithic stern castle cuts its gothic silhouette against the stellar sky and, oh, what a view it is! There are more stars than the sky can hold, some of them spilling down into the water below in the form of bioluminescence glittering and sparkling in our wake. I enjoy the night watches. To me, there is just something more authentic about it, more majestic. The last little sliver of moon shines on the water and lines the ink-black sea with silver, creating the effect of silk rippling in a breeze. Manning the helm of this ship out on deck and under that ethereal sky is truly time travel.

I am sad the the journey is almost over but am very excited to see Spain, see my old friends from when I first joined El Galeon, and help build the new ship, the Santa Maria. For now, however, I will go sit by the bowsprit, on the cutwater, and gaze at the inviting horizon, wondering at what’s beyond it.

Wyll Dykstra, Ship’s Carpenter