Day Five Hundred Fifty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Strangely uneasy all day.  But no one else aboard shares my apprehension.

It started this morning over breakfast. The dawn was slow arriving. The darkness clung everywhere, refusing to lift and give place to the light.

I mentioned this to Elijah. He only shrugged his shoulders and kept eating.

I planned to take some exercise on the deck, stopping first to check in on the bridge. Both the Captain and Tomas were present. But each was irritated about something, so I took the cue and launched into my walk down below.

It seemed to me that the storm of a couple of days ago had returned, only this time it was internal instead of external.

Time for the special cabin.

Day Five Hundred Forty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A storm lashed the ship all day. Our guests remained in their quarters except the five of their number who are joining the crew. G oversaw their baptism as it were into this lot of a sailor’s life.

Elijah remained in the special cabin for the duration of the storm.  I could sense him wrestling for our safe passage.

I kept to the bridge and to the company of Tomas and P. Between the times of intense activity we talked about our lives, our past, and what it was that led us to this point in our life journeys.

Come my turn, their jaws dropped at the revelation of my great age. And marveled at my memories of my youth.

Day Five Hundred Twenty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

At the end of my time in the special cabin today, I was comforted by the realization that it still looked and felt the same, but then I wondered for a moment was I still the same or have I changed. However I shook the notion off when I realized that I was falling to the temptation to judge myself and not placing my reliance where it should be.

A lesson learned long ago, but needing to be relearned. I am such a leaky vessel.

Tomas was coming in as I was going out. We had a brief exchange – momentous news from the bridge – the radio has sprung to life – a sign that the global authorities are extending their reach.

Day Four Hundred Seventy Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The Captain called me to the bridge in the forenoon. I’d been busy crunching numbers so I welcomed the interruption to get away from my desk and office.

I was surprised however to learn the reason for my summons. The Captain handed me his binoculars and pointed to the shore. He said our next port used to be there.

I looked, but beyond a screen of naval ships it was hard to make out what I was seeing.

It helped when he added that skyscrapers used to stand where an inlet of water lay.

I wondered out loud why the Commodore had not forewarned us.

The Captain shrugged and asked  me to prepare things for the port next in line.

Day Four Hundred Forty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Heavy rains moved in today. The Captain’s concern grew when the wind picked up. He ordered the ship underway after a thorough checking of the lashings. In charge of that detail, Tomas had some of them doubled.

I watched from the bridge as the shoreline slid by. Elijah pointed out the rickety staircase by which we climbed up off the beach. The wind then died and a mist settled in along the coast of the island.

We were no sooner into the channel between the island and the mainland when the wind freshened. And within seconds day turned to blackened night and the wind mounted in ferocity.

The Captain commanded the ship about and we sailed away from our destination.

Day Four Hundred Forty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The Captain has signed off on transporting Emil’s special container. It has been maneuvered out to the dockside.

There it is undergoing its last review. Emil himself is running through the checklist prior to its placement atop the pyramid of containers secured to the deck. After all, last on, first off.

Elijah looks on. Approving and very satisfied with himself.

As part of the deal, we will be returning to this port with two or three containers in an agreed upon trade.

The Captain watches our endeavors from his perch on the bridge high above us. He is too distant to make out his feelings at this moment.

I look forward to the end of this day. And time alone.

Day Three Hundred Thirty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

On deck the air radiated hot and oppressive, despite the fact of our swift forward motion. At the bow it was more akin to a blast furnace.

Elijah stayed in the sanctuary cabin over night and was missing from the vigil we were keeping on the bridge in the early dawn hours.  So I assumed he was still there.

Out of the grayness a wide expanse of ocean came into focus beyond the closing pincers of the enveloping morass.

The Captain despaired. In his judgment the welcome sight was still too far away.

But then it were as if we crossed a line into a polar region and a fierce wind blew from behind us forward, forcing the pincers apart.

Day Three Hundred Thirty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Stan’s former cabin is now swabbed out. The crew to a man refused to do it. The Captain was at the point of rolling up his sleeves and pitching in himself, when the Purser and the First Mate volunteered for the chore.

However, the Captain ordered the entire crew forward to view the cabin before the two volunteers tackled the task. And he had them all go through it after it was cleaned. His goal, I am sure, was to cure them of their fear.

I was standing at the rail near the bow, wondering if he had been successful in his intent, when the view changed my focus.

I climbed back to the bridge to report an approaching ship.

Day Three Hundred Eighteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The sun shining and the sea mild today. It made it easy for walking about. To that end, we climbed down from the bridge to the deck and skirted the containers to the bow.

Almost too much fresh air in our faces there.  Before we ducked out we did see islands ahead, but not ours. And we saw a porpoise alongside racing the ship, leading several others. We kept them in view on our walk back to the superstructure and the bridge. It was a magnificent sight.

The Captain was present so Elijah stayed to converse with him. I continued to the cabin set apart for quiet contemplation.

I must be getting old. For I had a series of dreams.

Day Three Hundred Fourteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The Captain has extended to us an open invitation to join him on the bridge any time he is there. (I think he wants to keep an eye on us).

We came on the bridge just after eating, and hovered in the background. The sea anchor was still down as the shore ahead was shrouded in clouds or fog. The Captain looked at us and shook his head.  

Elijah told the Captain he would take care of it and to prepare by weighing anchor.

He sent me to our cabin to retrieve his staff.  

The Captain had us underway by the time I reached Elijah on the bow. He raised the staff and the sun broke through dispelling the clouds.