Once more upon the waters, yet once more.
And the waves bound beneath me
Like a steed that knows its rider…
– Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage
Around midnight the anchor dragged, setting us adrift in the Macona Inlet. Hunkered below, in the humid space of the sloop Spike’s galley, skipper Adrian “Yonkie” Pelt and I were unaware that we were drifting. The remains of our steak dinner lay cluttered on the galley bench; a bottle of rum stood open on the table between us as we plotted our course on a chart of the Whitsundays, an archipelago of 74 islands off Australia’s Queensland coast, where we were sailing.
The weather was atrocious. A screeching northerly buffeted the boat and the tar-black night spat torrents of rain. Donning raincoats we clambered on deck into the pool of radiance spread by the mast lights. The water lay milky green…
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