From May 9
The 150-mile wide eddyline between northern hemi weather patterns and southern is called the ITCZ (Inter-tropical Convergence Zone), and last night we found it.
The wind died. The sea was a swell stew, thick with lumps going every which way. Little sailboat Misty twisted and bucked. We started the engine and headed south.
Squalls punctuated the horizon. Fuzzy sea beneath an approaching cloud. Rain sheeted down and we quickly stripped naked to let it cool and rinse our sticky bodies. The reefed mainsail became a spigot, filling my mug in seconds with rainwater infused with the funk of 3 years in a Guaymas boatyard. We left the desalinator running with its shy voice like a windshield wiper hiding below the engine’s bass drone.
Lightning astern, dark skies ahead. We took turns hand-steering through the night. Dawn put on its orange rain suit too, then quickly changed to grey.
The ITCZ is where waves and clouds convene. An inter-faith revival. Clouds of every level and denomination brush fingertips. Waves from all directions merge and pass through each other. The swells bring news of storms and sailors down, births of whales, the taste of coastlines; of glaciers calving, ice flows shifting, and the progress of undersea volcanoes.
Clouds talk of convection currents and winds aloft, the high-altitude migration of impossibly tiny things, the shine of cities on their bellies and the feel of coal smoke between their toes. They gossip of Skamokawa, where all clouds pass to drop a calling card or two. They whisper rumors of deserts seldom seen.
The convention is a masterpiece in greys and whites and subtle steely blues. Dark on light on dark, complex and ever shifting. Sea and sky fill the giant circle of canvas. Swells and clouds, clouds and swells, they feed each other, and the long-winged sea birds hang in between.