“Force 0. Calm. Sea like a mirror.” (Beaufort wind scale)

The sea is like a mirror, although it’s not flat. There’s a steady swell coming in from west-north-west and we rock back and forth on it for hours until we decide to start the engine and move.

Even then, creating a small wind above and a small wake below, it’s like moving through a rippling of the finest fabric: the sun is out and the sea is as silken as the smoothest cliché.

Soon it gets so glassy that it no longer even looks like silk, like anything substantial, but like billowing air. It’s as if we’re sailing through a dream of sea, the unreality enhanced by the effect of moving by motor as its drone and throb drown out the subtler sounds and sensations of being on the water.

Where are we? And how long have we been here? Foula sits like a great cake on the horizon but we could be anywhere – anywhere in this floating, blue-shining world.

West of mainland Shetland
3rd July 2015