In my new book, A Storm Too Soon, three sailors, JP, Rudy, and Ben set off from Florida to cross the Atlantic in a 45 foot sailboat. This short excerpt is from chapter 2 and illustrates how women see to have the ability to understand premonitions and intuitions far better than men.
Before casting off at 6:30 in the morning, JP checks the marine weather forecast as he has been doing the last few days. He downloads computer-generated forecasts and studies them for anything unusual, but finds nothing out of the ordinary. Their destination is Gibraltar after first landing at the Azores for refueling. As they untie the lines some friends from the marina come down to wave goodbye. JP then makes good on a promise. He will stop smoking now that the voyage has begun. To prove it, the short and slender captain with wispy gray hair takes his last pack of cigarettes, ceremonially holds them high in the air, and tosses them into the water. There are no hidden cigarettes on the boat –his new life as a non-smoker begins at this moment. Rudy and Ben exchange glances; they hope their polite and relaxed captain doesn’t turn into Ahab.
After doing some 360 degree turns to calibrate the new equipment, they slowly motor down the St. Johns River, going right through the heart of Jacksonville as the sun clears the eastern horizon. As they approach the first bridge Rudy can’t help but wonder if the mast—all 61 feet of it–will clear the underside of the bridge, but JP assures him it will, and it does. Near the river’s mouth they stop at a marina to top off the diesel tanks and fill up Jerry cans with more fuel. During the refueling Rudy says, “I’ll be right back, I’m going to make a last stop for food.” He leaves the boat and walks to a market and purchases three orders of fish and chips.
JP uses this opportunity to call his wife Mayke (pronounced My-keh), a highly regarded artist. They talk for a few moments but JP wonders why Mayke is so mad at him for not calling at the earlier scheduled time. She doesn’t tell him the real reason: she has had an uneasy feeling–“the kind you get right where your navel is”– that this voyage will not end well and is fraught with danger.
Mayke knows her husband is a safety-conscious sailor and that the Sean Seamour II is more than capable of handling rough weather, but ever since she dropped JP at the airport a couple weeks earlier her apprehension has grown in intensity with each passing day. Sleep has been difficult and her time painting in the studio has suffered, and now, talking on the phone, she just wants the conversation to end before she blurts out her misgivings and puts a damper on JP’s enthusiasm for the voyage.
When she hangs up the phone Mayke tries to analyze her anxious mood, but she simply has no idea where it’s coming from. If it’s intuition, it seems totally illogical. But try as she might she can’t shake the feeling that the trip is doomed. She doesn’t even try to return to the studio, knowing that anything she paints will be dark and foreboding.
(My next installment will be about the vessel encountering its first trouble from the storm.)
The book can be ordered on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Storm-Too-Soon-Disaster-Incredible/dp/1451683332/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349777523&sr=1-1)