Even here in “water, water everywhere.,” the day’s rhythm is like that of any exploration we have made. I wake, I rise and shower, I find coffee or tea and the time to organize my thoughts while my Dear One makes up for often fitful sleep.
The swells are large; islands are visible as shadows on the horizon, many of them disappearing into piles of white and gray-blue clouds. Breakfast proper will not be ready for another twenty-five minutes but a few determined souls are following the Promenade Deck in a counterclockwise direction; ten circuits is a mile. I, however, write at a table on the back of the Lido Deck. I watch the foam break on the indigo water, leaving an abstract lacework that some couturier could only fantasize about replicating. The table and my chair roll in unison, keeping my fingers steady on the keyboard as wind wraps my hair around my face.
Our anchorage on the north side of Virgin Gorda yesterday was a quiet harbor where the water is the purest turquoise, a color that seems nearly unnatural, like the hue of suburban swimming pools. In the distance, a straight line demarcated the edge of the shallows and a stripe of navy blue marked the horizon. A sister ship was already there. She is a young thing, modeled on the Sea Cloud but not so beautiful. We are square rigged throughout; this boat, whose name I did not catch, only on the front mast. Having had our swim—well, after I had my swim in The Baths on the other side of the island, my Dear One and I commandeered a pair of deckchairs on the port side of the boat, the shady side. I finished writing my postcards; we read; we drowsed; we enjoyed a lavish tea of cookies, little salmon sandwiches, a slice of blueberry cream cake and fruit tart. Then we walked off that indulgence on the Promenade.
The sunset was as long, leisurely and lovely as the life here on board. As the tones of gold faded into the coming darkness, the wine was served.
But now the sun is up. It is past seven-thirty, the sky clear overhead, haze at the edge of this world, A frigate bird swings past on the drafts, seeming to dance with the Sea Cloud. We have not seen a great many birds: a frigate or two, brown pelicans on the docks of various harbors. At The Baths we found a largish creature we dubbed the “brown bellied trash-can bird” for its foraging. And, of course, there are lots of chickens, black and bronze beauties with scarlet combs, and crowing is audible everywhere. Yesterday as I sat with my Dear One in the shade of a scrubby tree bearing the sign “Lime don’t Litter,” a tiny black bird, quick as a hummingbird dashed from one to another of the few wilted pink flowers on the twisting branches, drinking the nectar. Above its eye a long thin stripe of yellow gave it a rakish expression. Apparently “lime” is local slang for “hanging out,” “enjoying the moment.” The invitation is clear but unneeded; all we do is lime.