Next morning, children's shouts drew my attention away from my breakfast (dry Navy biscuits and bananas). I hopped down from my nest on the cargo hatch and climbed the ladder up to the bow of the ship. Kids were hanging over the railings at the front, pointing excitedly into the water. Pushing into a free spot, I looked down and saw the source of the commotion.
A school of dolphins was frolicking in the frothy furrows cut by the ship's hull. I watched in delight as the playful creatures leaped in and out of the water, chasing each other in their race to get ahead of the boat. We laughed and clapped and pointed at the playful abandon with which the dolphins carried out their dance below us.
Leaning over the railing, the sea breeze hit me full in the face, fresh and sweet. The sky had only a few token puffs of cloud, and had already turned bright, deep blue. The breeze must have been created by our movement through the water, because the ocean itself was stretched taut around us, like silk sheets on a slightly hilly bed.
Flying fish now joined the dolphins in the water around our ship. The funny little creatures would suddenly shoot out of the waves in a shallow arc, almost like a covey of quail startled from their bush. They looked like some medieval wizard had been dabbling in alchemy, and accidentally stuck leathery wings on a fish, or, from the top, like little silver airplanes sailing over the water. I sat down on the deck at the very edge, hanging my bare heels over the side, with my arms slung over the bottom railing. I let the breeze tickle my toes, and the kids push around me. I was sitting in that attitude when first land was sighted.