Thursday, March 06, 2014

A Greenland Yarn: A Night Encounter

Darkness fell but I could still make out a safe route, just, for the white bergs stood out clearly against the deep blue of the sea, reflecting what light was coming from the sky. We had a lovely display of noctilucent clouds to the north and Vega high above, the best nav light in the heavens.

By now I was faint with fatigue, mechanically paddling, brain shutting down with tiredness, cramp in my legs and muscle ache in my arms. Then I was aware of a faint green shape waving in the sky like a ghostly figure. It was the northern lights - and I was seeing them to my south, for our latitude was that high.

I stopped paddling, worn out and transfixed, and became aware of a presence in the water next to me. A great spike pierced the waves, followed by a head with an eye in it. It was a narwhale, watching me watch the north lights.  I slowly turned my head and we made eye contact, human and whale, aware of each other and the moment.

Then there was a cry from the boat. "We're sailing, you've done it!"

Instantly the narwhale dived, and as if in sympathy the northern lights flickered one last time and went out. I could have cried with frustration.

But someone was pulling the tow rope in, and unknown hands hauled me back on-board. I was exhausted beyond caring.

Without a word I crashed in my bunk into a dreamless sleep as Aurora sailed south through icy waters to our final anchorage, the little Greenland town of Tasiilaq.

--- The End ---

Tomorrow: The Greenland Yarn Literary Quiz!

No comments: