THE  SECOND CHASE


The  transition is a keen one, I assure you, from schoolmaster to sailor, and requires a strong decoction of Seneca and the Stoics to enable you to grin and bear it.


—Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

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South of Gore Point, where tide rips collide, the rolling swells rear up and sharpen into whitecaps. A moment ago, Chris Pallister was rhapsodizing about the miraculous anatomy of dolphins, which he’d read about in Discover. “The metabolic calculus wasn’t enough to account for their speed in the water!” he hollered. “They’ve got all kinds of physical traits and adaptations for diving at depths! They’ve got a cortex that’s kind of like a sponge!” Then we slammed into a steep ten-foot wave that sent Pallister’s toilet kit flying from the dash, a tube of toothpaste and a disposable razor scuttling across the cockpit floor. I scurried to retrieve them. Now the second ten-foot wave hits. I stumble back to my station in the copilot’s seat, port side, behind the busted windshield wiper, and ransack my shoulder bag for yet another one of the ginger candies I’ve brought along as an over-the-counter remedy for seasickness. Quiet with  concentration, Pallister decelerates from fifteen miles per hour to eight, strains to peer through a windshield blurry with spray, tightens his grip on the wheel, and like a skier negotiating moguls coaxes his little home-built boat, the Opus, through the chaos of waves. Our progress becomes a series of concussions punctuated by troughs of anxious calm. In this, I have begun to gather, it resembles the rest of Pallister’s life.


—”The Second Chase: Resurrection Bay”