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The Void

November 18, 2010

For the last few days, the water has been eerily calm. There are almost no waves, the only disturbances in the ocean made by our boat, and the boats all around us. We have become surrounded by boats as we move into the pirates domain, everyone banding together for safety in numbers and to be protected by the gunships at either end. After seeing nothing but sea for days, it’s been a strange feeling to look out and see these huge ships all over the water, hulking and unmoving, fading as they get further and further into the haze of the distance.

And then they were gone. As we made it into the Red Sea, the threat of pirates was considered over, and the ships dispersed and went their own ways. We were back to ourselves floating across the sea once again.

Waking on the 17th, the calmness of the water had reached a whole new level. It was like glass, with gentle gentle ripples, the surface of the water smooth as silk. Japanese people have a word for this – nagi. The character is drawn by combining the characters for Wind and Stop, and means absolute stillness. The decks were full of people just staring out at the calmest water I think any of us had ever seen. It’s hard to believe this is supposed to be an ocean, as it feels like we are sitting in a giant glass of water. To add to the effect, the sky was filled with white, formless clouds, which when reflected on the still water gave the impression that the boat was just floating in a void of nothing. Unreal.

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