Sea of the Hebrides: The skipper often comments on how sea-kindly Ara’ Deg is, how well her hull is shaped for the sea. Slim-bodied and long-keeled, she rides the water gracefully, large seas as well as calmer ones, maintaining direction and momentum and moving with and round the waves rather than against them.

Sailing in Ara’ Deg, we become sea-kindly too, the sea abrading the hard edges we’ve built up on land, gradually smoothing and softening us. As it always does, lapping and licking with gentle admonishing waves or relentlessly pounding us under steep surges of nausea, the sea wears us down, breaching our resistance, until we are humbler and kinder, until we are less.

Lochinver harbour: The sea smooths but the wind sharpens, tearing strips off us and whittling the edges of our words until their slightest glance will draw blood. We’ve come in from the open sea and are tied up to a dock but the wind screams through, cold and shearing and unrelenting. And so we lie here, straining at our ropes, underslept and restless, waiting for a lull, waiting for kindness to return.

Castlebay to Lochinver
2nd May 2017