Somewhere in the Atlantic, an hour or two before daylight.
We’re headed for home this morning. We’re supposed to get to the dock around 6:30 am. I’m ready to put my deck shoes in some Mississippi dirt.
This trip started as a dream. We wanted to celebrate 50 years of marriage.
Three years ago, we made a plan.
Step one, fly to Barcelona Spain. Step two, spend a week in Barcelona, being typical American tourists. Then step three, get on board a brand spanking new cruise ship, one right out of the shipyard. We planned sail back to America. Think about a maiden voyage, a big celebration, our 50th. anniversary, a new ship, crossing the Atlantic in fashion and then wrap it all together in one sentence. Someone tried that with the Titanic and it didn’t work out too well.
We were hoping for a better outcome.
We put our money together, bought our tickets and made our plans.
I wanted to see a bullfight. Sue wanted to see the big Cathedral they’re still working on in Barcelona. There’s just a lot of things to do and see in Spain.
Covid killed those plans for 2020. The cruise line kept our money. They said “we can book you on another trip as soon as we get to sailing again.”
We opted to take our trip in 2021. Covid was emphatic. “NO, no cruises in 2021.” The cruise line still held our money.
We wanted to sail across the Atlantic.
Then, a year ago, the Cruise ship people said “How about Portugal to Tampa in 2022?”
Not a new ship, not a maiden voyage. Just a trip across the North Atlantic.
Well, we are still married, so why not?
We got our shots, we got our boosters. We packed and repacked two or three times..
Finally, we flew to Portugal. Portugal is beautiful. We spent a week there. I could spend a month and then still not want to leave. If you get a chance to go, pack your bags. Go!
After the week in Portugal, we finally got on board the big ship. The Captain set a course nearly due west. He planned to stop in two places in the Azores. It’s the north Atlantic and it has a reputation to keep up. The weather was angry. We stopped at one island then skipped the second.
As we sailed the North Atlantic, I sat by the window, I’m looking out at the deep blue sea for hours at a time. I’m thinking about the Pirates, the Explorers, the Man of War ships that crossed back and forth. Mostly, I thought about the convoys of World War II , the German submarines and the brave men who are sleeping in this vast ocean we’re crossing.
Yes, Jimmy Buffet, they did switch from sail to steam. Today, diesel engines push the big boats from one world to another. Yes, the mysteries are still there, too.
And, I thought about how something greater than anything we can imagine. Someone put this all together, this wet, blue marble floating in the midst of the universe. There’s something out there, bigger than all of us. I know it.
As the sun breaks over the horizon, we’re back in the Caribbean, headed to Tampa. After 21 days, it will be a short flight home and I’ll be making my morning coffee out of Mississippi Water once again.