Gandalf and Silver Surfer are in the double, yapping away about this, that, and the other thing. Nothing important. Small talk. I’m paddling alongside in my single, amazed at their constant flow of words, hardly a breath interrupting that flow.

What amazes me even more is how quickly we cross over from Bruno’s to Toilet Bowl Beach on Rod Reck. A normal crossing’s 70 minutes; tonight’s crossing’s 47 minutes. How to explain it?

Here’s what I think: Gandalf and Silver Surfer’s nonstop small talk make it happen. Paddling through the spacetime continuum of the bay, their “small” talk—their “quantum” talk—causes perturbations in the continuum that slows time, but does not alter distance. Relatively speaking, of course.

Another explanation might be the fast ebb that carries us from Bruno’s to Rod Reck. That time slows down as you approach the speed of light is well known … and it is a very fast ebb this evening.

If it were only Gandalf, Silver Surfer, and me attributing our crossing to perturbations in spacetime or to time-slowing speeds, I’d be leery. But like Etta James sang, “It ain’t always what you do, it’s who you let see you do it.” And we do let Don’t Follow Don, in his single, see us do it.

This all occurs on a bay that’s clear, cool, calm, and collected. Her only blemish is a thick head of gray hair that obscures a first cousin, November’s full Beaver Moon. The moon’s absence doesn’t diminish paddling at night, the bay still well lit from shore lights reflected off the tight curls of gray.

What the moon’s absence does diminish is her partial eclipse, the longest partial eclipse since 1440, the next not till 2669. So it goes.

Toilet Bowl Beach is our destination tonight because it’s one of few local beaches accessible at low tides, tonight’s tide mud-sucking low; our takeout, in contrast, is mud-free easy. 

Navigating the spacetime continuum leaves us hungry, and nightfall finds us cold. A cookfire addresses both issues. 

Dinner’s complete with slick little crackers topped with apple slices, Gouda cheese, and dark chocolate; green salad; chopped veggies with salmon; chocolate-covered macadamia nuts.

Not true. Dinner’s complete with the above plus three potatoes wrapped in tinfoil. All three are tossed in the cookfire, but only two come out, no trace of the third found. 

I suspect small talk around the cookfire tore a hole in the continuum, a black hole, and that third potato fell through to wherever black holes lead. Due to the gravity of that small talk, I won’t repeat what’s said, fear of tearing open more black holes a concern.

If you do happen to find an unplanned-for, tinfoil-wrapped baked potato on your plate this Thanksgiving, enjoy.


Date: Thurseve, 18 November 2021.

Distance: Eight nautical miles.

Speed: One point six knots.

Time: Five hours.

Spray factor: None.

Dessert: Chocolate-covered macadamia nuts.

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