First Night at Sea, Episode 79, Odysseys in Paradise

Rich returned to the cockpit and took over the helm. “By the time we get to Reao you’ll be able to handle The Odyssey like a seasoned sailor.”

“This is my first time at sea,” Ramona said.

“It will take some getting used to,” Rich said. “I do have some Dramamine for seasickness. You will be heaving your cookies if you don’t take it. It’s not a cure-all, but it helps.”

“I’m scared,” Ramona said.

“Of what?” Rich said.

“Just the trip and the sea,” Ramona said.

“You are as safe here as anyplace, really!” Rich said. “I’m a good sailor. I’ve sailed down the Atlantic from Maine, through the treacherous Strait of Magellan, and across the Pacific from South America. I’ve been in hurricanes and blizzards; you are safe with me.”

“That’s good to know,” Ramona said.

“Why don’t you go below and go all the way forward,” Rich said. “There is a head or bathroom on your right. You will have all the privacy you want. The entire forward quarters is yours, but no girly curtains. We can rearrange things tomorrow, but for now, try to get some sleep.”

Ramona disappeared down the companionway and into the cabin. Rich saw the light of the forward quarters through the louvers of the door. After an hour the light was off. Rich stayed near the helm the entire night, on a constant lookout for authorities. He sipped coffee all night long. A couple times he nodded into a sleep lasting up to 15 minutes.

About two hours after sunrise Rich prepared pancakes, sausage, and coffee. He sat at the chart table looking over the map and sipping a cup of coffee. Just as he was about to chart their course to Reao, Ramona stepped from the forward quarters still under the spell of sleep.

“Are we in international waters yet?” Ramona yawned.

“We’re a good 35 to 40 miles out to sea,” Rich said. “I’ll be taking a reading before long and we’ll know exactly. Breakfast?”

“Sure,” Ramona said.

“Sit tight,” Rich said.

Ramona sat at the bench and Rich brought breakfast to her.

“Thanks,” she said. “What time is it?”

“In our time zone it is 8:25,” Rich said.

“Did you sleep last night?” Ramona said.

“I nodded off a few times,” Rich said.

“You must be tired,” Ramona said.

“A little,” Rich said.

“Does the boat sail on its own?” Ramona said.

“Sometimes,” Rich smiled, “most of the time. They’re not like cars that must be steered all the time. You sort of point them in the right direction and set your sails and few other things and the only time you really have to worry about the helm is in rough seas and ports. There’s been days I only go on deck for some fresh air.”

“So what will there be for me to do?” Ramona said.

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