The night chill covered the Dusty Rose. The water was calm and the wind was constant. A gentle tug on the sail and a check of the stars kept the course straight.
Ike scanned the water white caps lit by the full moon. In the distance he could see a lime green glow just under the water. “Is it seaweed or some microorganisms still alive under the sea?” he pondered. “Could the oceans survive whatever happened here? Protected by the depths of life’s origin?”
“Want a cup of coffee?” came the break in the thought process from down below.
“Just black for me.” He replied.
In an instant, Ginger wrapped in a wool sweater sat next to Ike, both cuddling cups of warmth in the night air.
“It’s so quiet out here.” Ginger whispered looking up at the giant sail full of the night’s breeze.
“Found this sweater down below. It’s an interesting weave. Nicely done, but I could do better. I don’t understand the pattern yet”
Ike stood and pointed to Ginger to hold the wheel. “Keep her steady. Follow that star two degrees of starboard.”
Ducking the boom, Ike managed his way to the bow. Face down on the deck, Ike dipped his hand into the water as it rushed pass. Shifting left then right the craft cut a swap through the churning highway. Bringing his hand back to his face, he looked at the small puddle in his palm. With only moonlight to light his examination, he studied the swirling pond. It was alive with creatures.
“There is life here.” Ike said to his hand. “We are not the only ones.”
“We are not Adam and Eve. There is life in the water.”
“What are you talking about?”
Ike poured the contents of his hand back into their home, wiped the remaining moister on his pants leg and crawled back to the wheel.
“I remembered those sharks. The ocean is alive. Whatever has happened here has not affected the oceans.” Ike smiled.
“Thanks for raining on my parade.”
“Take the wheel, I’m going below. It’s cold out here and I’m tired.”
“I guess so.” Ike smiled a bigger smile.
Ginger gave Ike a gesture and climbed down the steps to the glowing room below. “Sweet dreams.” She said as she faded into the dark of the forward rooms.
A few more sips of hot liquid and refocus on the horizon. Ike became one with the wood, sail, wind, water.
As the horizon started to wake the clouds with an orange glow, the shoreline became a pencil thin line in the distance. Pointing the bow to port, the Dusty Rose responded with a jump and let the waves push her forward. Ike tied off the wheel with the new course and stepped down the slick walkway to the galley.
Looking down the hall to the darkness, he smiled knowing Ginger was asleep and dreaming sweet dreams in the rocking cradle. Ike prepared another cup of coffee and climbed back to the wheel.
The sun had broken the plain of the horizon and lit the sky with beams of yellow and red rays. As the vessel grew closer to shore, the dark black line blossomed into a green and yellow mass of vegetation.
Ike turned the wheel to run parallel with the coastline. “Where there no buildings?”
Turning back toward the shore, Ike spotted a blip in the water. Rubbing his eyes, he looked back at the speck bobbing in the waves. He turned the wheel to rendezvous with the object and kept a close watch.
The white sand cut a line on the coast against the same jungle Ike had been watching. Tacking back and forth to avoid sandbars, the Dusty Rose crept closer to the mysterious shape.
“It is a man!” Ike’s eyes widen. He stomped three times on the deck to awaken Ginger then stood, almost being wiped out by the boom swinging back with the fresh wind.
“What?” came the muffled sound from below?
“Get your pretty little butt up here. There is someone I want you to meet.”
“What….. who…..” a crash of chair, a stack of books and a bottle echoed through the hole.
Ginger struggled up the steps squinting into the new morning sunlight. Ike’s frozen star pointed the observation in the distance.
“What is that?” Ginger whipped her eyes in wonderment.
The silhouette of a human form lifted an arm and waved back and forth.
Ike steered toward the form, the shaking boat responding to the captain’s every request.
Bouncing on the waves, straddling a surfboard was a blond young man. Bare chest, long hair and a beaming smile.
“Dude!” he called out waving friendly. “Been a while since I’ve seen someone else.”
Ike released the sail to slow the vessel as it came along side of the surfer. Ginger eagerly went to the portside and offered a hand to the young man. The lad grabbed her arm and almost pulled her into the drink.
Dripping on the deck, the smiling visitor presented himself to the amazed couple saying, “Dude. Where have you been?”
There was a pause as Ginger and Ike starred at the bare chest young man with bright color jams and then to each other.
“Hey man, you got anything to drink? “
“Ah…yes, welcome aboard the Dusty Rose. Currently the skipper is Ike Patterson.” Placing out his hand. They met in a firm handshake.
“Will wine do?” Ginger asked slyly.
“Sure babe!” the new passenger grinned still firmly grasps checking out the female physic. “Nice chick.” The grasp became firmer.
Ginger lowered into the hole constantly smiling at the tanned young man.
“So WHO ARE YOU?” Ike interrupted the scene.
Hair flipped as the young man’s head turned away from his vision to a stern face. “Dude, I’m Jack.”
“Yeah man, nice ride you have here.” Rubbing his hand over the rails.
“Jack, where did you come from? We haven’t seen any life in….”
“Hey man, me neither.”
“So why did we find you outside of what should be Wilmington?”
“Man,” the boy said pointing to the shore, “Wilmington is there.”
Ike looked at the shore as it crept closer and saw a pier on the white broad beach.
“That’s Johnny Mercers.”
Ike smiled remembering the years of surfing between the barnacled pilings as a youth.
“Red OK?” Ginger asked bringing up two glasses of wine from below.
Ike looked at the couple as they clinked their glasses and wondered where his glass was?
“The bottle is down there.” Ginger smiled staring at the blond surfer with a knowing smile.
A moment of silence was broken with Ike looking at Jack saying, “Do you know how to steer this thing?” His face grimaced with a grin.
“Sure dude,” came the crusty reply, “ me and the ole lady can handle it.”
Ike released the wheel and slid down the stairway. Entering the galley he found the wine and an empty glass. He slugged a swallow from the bottle, and then wiping his lips filled the glass. “Who is this guy?”