The Voyage From Montevideo
Zeke stayed below, preferring the comfort of a wadded blanket on a bench.
Rich started the engine and coasted into the harbor and the waters beyond. He set the sails to capture a slight breeze. I was just enough to gently nudge the boat to better winds and a favorable tide.
By the time the sun appeared Montevideo seemed as if too distant to recall with distinction. Rich figured by now Dennis had arrived in New York among family and familiar surroundings.
“It would not surprise me,” Rich said to himself, “if upon arriving in Canberra, Peggy will be at his side. He’d take her back and they would describe the time as their radical period. Love is strange in that way and why not? Sometimes a bad situation is replaced only with worse. If you can live through bad, you can live. All the flaws are exposed, but in something new, you are just waiting for the moment tragedy starts. You were so certain of the first one and it failed. An old farmer once told me he was afraid to buy a new tractor. He was afraid of the new problems. He knew all about the old ones and knew how to take care of them. Is this making sense, Zeke?”
Two days passed and on the third they met with turbulent seas blowing strong and waves not quite as high as experienced on the leg to Bermuda, but challenging nonetheless.
With the pilothouse up, Rich sat in its protection watching the seas and the integrity of the Beyond.
“I know, little Zeke,” Rich said, “this is something you did not sign up for. This will blow by and you will be safe.”
Zeke struggled, but managed to hoist himself on the bench across from Rich. He braced his front paws against the pilothouse walls and looked at the ferocity of the sea. He jumped from the bench and climbed upon Rich’s bench and snuggled close.
“You may not know this,” Rich said, “but you comfort me more than I comfort you.”
“We are in for worse seas,” Rich warned. “We must be ready. Zeke, this will be a worthwhile trip, you will see. Yes, there are dangers involved; not more than living near a busy highway. It’s a tough world for animals. Humans have manipulated and invented only for themselves. I will help you. If it makes you feel better stay as close as you like.”
In a short time Zeke fell asleep.
Sleep was not a luxury for Rich. It was for him to remain vigil. Although there were times he momentarily nodded.
The night did not abate the storm, it continued until an hour before sunrise.
The clear weather and softer sea allowed Rich to prepare more robust meals as opposed to a sandwich or a can of heated soup. Zeke appreciated the extra attention given to meals also.
While in Montevideo Rich purchased an apparatus that dry dog food could be stored and dispensed into a dish with the push of a paw. Rich installed it below the sink in the galley. With a push of Zeke’s paw a meal’s worth of dog food piled into his bowl and pushing another lever water poured into another. Rich also tied a rope to the cabin’s door handle. A short tug by Zeke opened the door. And he was trained to shut the door also.
Rich sat on the bench in the cabin reading a book. The gentle stroking of Zeke’s head eased Rich as well as Zeke, even though the seas tossed the boat, it was not violent, but nevertheless substantial enough that it would cause concern to a fledgling seaman.
“Are you ready for shore?” Rich said to Zeke. “I’ll find us a place. It will be quiet and out of the way. The further south we go the less populated it is, no more Rio, Buenos, Montevideo. I know, you like them, but you have to learn there is life beyond the big city.”
“So if you’ll excuse me I’m going over to the chart table and look at the map and figure out a quiet little seashore town were we can relax.”
Rich sat at the chart table for a half hour. He turned to Zeke. “We can be in Puerto Madryn in two days. How does that sound to you? No, I’ve never been there before, but I looked it up; it has some nice beaches. It’s about the size of my hometown. I know that’s something I never told you about. We’ll discuss it later. I had a dog there. You two would be good friends.”
“I’m going atop and take a reading and adjust course.” Rich held the sextant to Zeke. “Would you like to lean how to take readings?”
Zeke danced eagerly.
“I think you’d at least make an effort,” Rich smiled and climbed up the companionway.