I’m paddling alone, my four buddies opting to catch a series of ferry wakes that carry them away from our nearing takeout, Red Rock. I choose to paddle in the opposite direction, no ferry wakes for me, get as quickly as I can into the shadow of Red Rock, the ebb pushing us away from the island less malicious there.

I admit riding the wakes is the more challenging, more enjoyable, option. But I’m more inclined for an easier, less strenuous paddle the last quarter mile to Red Rock. A wimpy choice, I know, but there it is.

So, I’m paddling alone the last quarter mile to Red Rock. But I’m not. Flitting up and down on my starboard side, on the edge of my peripheral vision, is a white moth. Leastways, it looks like a white moth. The moth keeps pace with me, flitting gently up and down, around and about. Darnedest thing.

Can’t say I’ve ever seen a moth on the bay. I did see a flight of butterflies once, many years ago, but never a moth.

I paddle on 100 yards after my first sighting, watch the moth out of the corner of my eye. I don’t stop for a closer inspection, afraid the little critter’ll flit away, never to be seen again. After another 50 yards, my curiosity gets the best of me, convinces me to stop. I stop, hope for a closer look. The moth stops, too.

Have I mentioned the bay’s flat, polished to a sheen, not a whisper of a breeze to ruffle, smudge, the shiny surface? I haven’t, have I? And a nearly full moon high overhead? Well, there is, a nearly full moon high overhead.

Not too observant, that’s me. But, once I stop, I quickly see the moth for what she is: the moon reflected in the water next to my boat, her small, white reflection flitting up and down, around and about, on the gentle, smooth wakes coming off my boat’s bow.

I’ve been kerfluffled by the crisp, white reflection happening in bright daylight, the sun still up, another 30 minutes before he sets. That kinda reflection, the moon bright on the water, that’s not surprising at night, you’d expect it. But in broad daylight?

All my excuses aside, the moon’s reflection really does seem to have a life of her own. It’s not a stretch of the imagination—well, perhaps it is—to see her chasing after the sunset, a tasty thin layer of ripe orange hanging low over the horizon behind Red Rock, spilt juice covering the bay. How could a spirited reflection not be drawn to a cocktail as sweet? 

Sweet orange juice cocktails aside, the five of us—Gandalf, Patrick, Don’t Follow Don, Dragon, me—are drawn to Red Rock’s Toilet Bowl Beach for our weekly Thurseve meal. Our reason for paddling.

Tonight’s meal is ushered in with vegetarian sushi rolls, fresh from the refrigerated aisle at Whole Foods. Upscale, if maybe a day old.

Gandalf’s signature salad follows. Gandalf mixes the salad up on the beach: to hand-shredded lettuce, he cuts up apples and avocados, throws in handfuls of cranberries, blueberries, walnuts, feta cheese, flavors it with pomegranate apple cider vinaigrette.

Chicken masala’s our next course, courtesy of Irene, Dragon’s First Mate. Steeped in a tangy tomato sauce loaded with spices and herbs, Dragon brings the masala to a boil over the  cookfire. Nothing left to waste, we soak up leftover sauce with warmed Afghan bread.

Don’t Follow Don, Patrick, and Gandalf team up on the next dish, a vegetable medley. Don’t Follow Don fills his wok with chopped eggplant, kombucha squash, yellow peppers, cashews. Patrick tosses in spears of asparagus. Gandalf adds mushrooms and red onions. The whole confab’s flavored with Thai red and green curry sauce.

Patrick’s brought filets of salmon, the salmon on the vegetable medley’s ingredient list, but is forgotten in a confusion of beach doings. The salmon’s belatedly remembered while we eat fire-roasted potatoes drenched in sour cream, the five of us anchored in an intense chatter fest about the ups and downs of life, living. 

Before going overboard, drowning ourselves in what’s heading for a whirlpool of turbulent philosophy, we bookmark our thoughts for a later discussion, turn our attention to the forgotten salmon filets, fry them up over the cookfire, eat them.

Dessert’s German chocolate cake.

The white moth follows us back to our cars.


Date: Thurseve, 6 February 2020.

Distance: Five point six nautical miles.

Speed: One point one knots.

Time: Five point two hours.

Spray factor: Nothing.

Dessert: German chocolate cake.

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