Resolve - Robert Davey
We set sail from Ireland, heading East with a determined wind. The sea was sumptuous, under a rolling sky.
After steady hours the Isle of Man was looming and the tidal stream increased, currents jostling together for the frenzied race around the rocks just south of the island. A tall white lighthouse stood firm on the southernmost, Chicken Rock.
The sea was growing churlish as we steered a course to give the lighthouse a good offing on our port side. Though the tide was with us the wind sent larger and larger waves towards the boat. Sudden rain spattered my hood.
dancing around the maypole
in the rain
The waves grew. To avoid a broadside that might roll the boat, we steered into each one, surging up the slope to the crest where the boat dithered momentarily before slumping down the other side. Even with careful helming the biggest waves drenched us with chilly water. And the sail caught the rain, sluicing it down on top of us. Icy trickles found their way into our waterproofs.
The lighthouse, in a brief shaft of sunlight, was suddenly much closer, rearing from a boiling cauldron of mists and glittering spray. The tidal race was sweeping us along faster and we both knew it was too late to turn back. The wind had increased to the maximum forecast and we hoped it would not increase further. At least in a few miles we would sail out of the tidal race into calmer waters.
bearing away -
the flapping sail
It was slow going. My arm ached from wrestling with the tiller. I was getting cold.
But gradually the lighthouse sank astern. The coast of the island unfurled and the sea became a little easier. We could see the hill behind which waited Port St Mary’s sheltered harbour.
And at last we were sailing towards the dark harbour wall, through waters more boisterous than mutinous.
As we rounded the end of the wall the sea magically flattened and the wind dropped to a gentle breeze. Fisherman, lounging on top of the wall behind their rods, glared at us in case we fouled their lines.
lulled to sleep by the sighs
of waves on sand