Indian Ocean, Pakistan

  • Date
  • 26 December 2000

Last night we pitched our tent on the dirty deck hoping to shield ourselves from wind and moisture. Listening to the BBC before falling asleep, we heard that two bombs exploded yesterday in Pakistan. They had nothing to do with Christians and Christmas; instead the bombs were retaliation from India on Jinnah’s birthday (founder of Pakistan).

In the afternoon around 3 p.m., the crew insisted we’d arrive in Karachi in an hour, but land-ho was no where to be found. Another night on this boat was almost unthinkable. My bottom, elbows, knees and neck ache from the wooden floor. And I am dirty all over. My body doesn’t stink but has that strenuous-work-in-the-yard scent. And my hair is filthy – the bottom layer is stuck to my scalp. Plus my four-day worn clothes are in need of a serious washing. The up side of this journey is that during the last few days, I’ve immensely enjoyed reading (Crime and Punishment, The Story of Colette and the Quran), but I’m ready to rid of this environment. Just when I’ve become adept at plunging the bucket into the ocean to fetch water for flushing!

After a few days at sea we really are a motley crew. Jim, unshaven and un-bathed for five days now, could be a pirate if he’d tatter his clothes a little more. But there’s certainly a wonderful solitude out here. I find myself longing for an ice-cold Pellegrino and a sack of something salty, perhaps popcorn, to go along with my reading. We’ve seen little beyond lapis-blue water while cruising the Indian Ocean – a few dolphins when we woke near the Gwadar port on night two, schools of fish and jumping fish inside the port on day three and a few old wooden dhows, much like ours, out in the middle of the sea on day two. We see cliffs far, far away, sea gulls and even a few ducks. Around our boat, the liquid is sometimes still, sometimes brewing and other times rolling.