The sun falls and sinks again. Vanishing beneath stars undulating in slow psalms glistening off salt water – the German liner leagues from the beacon on Cape Palmas. He avoids other passengers. Avoids the restaurant.The bar.
Keeps to his berth. Eats alone. Sleeps alone. Dreams of the steamship ploughing the South Atlantic Gyre – spoon bow parting water – night waves falling back – blue with luminescent plankton – the warm arm of the Guinea Current feeding life into
Benguela’s hibernal course. Mossamedes comes. A fortress on brown cliffs.Then Port
Negro with its long iron jetty. Then Port Alexander – erased of thousands of flamingos –
the sky grey above a grey sea. More days pass. Colossal waves rise like dark liquid dunes or banks of rolling mercury. The ship powers through them. Steel heaving and creaking. The deck awash with salt till the waters calm and a ghostlike fog hugs the Skeleton
Coast. Crossing Capricorn’s invisible belt – he wakes troubled from a dream: his wife cradling their lifeless newborn. When the ship eventually reaches Swakopmund – he already longs for home. The first night is cold. Miserable.The wind’s bitter breath screams through gaps in the makeshift cabin walls – the language of the southern sea constantly busy in his ear. Unable to sleep he pulls on his boots. Walks out along the breakwater where whitecaps