With the wind on her side, the trawler slows down. We head to Catalina Island.

A family of three set off on an ocean trip on New Year’s Day aboard a gleaming trawler, riding to Catalina in full view of the shore, perched precariously on the edge of the…

With the wind on her side, the trawler slows down. We head to Catalina Island.

A family of three set off on an ocean trip on New Year’s Day aboard a gleaming trawler, riding to Catalina in full view of the shore, perched precariously on the edge of the darkness. What they had to bring, they knew from previous trips down here: whether they were ready for this.

We started arriving in Newport Beach, but we knew the little things could run the same risk. Not long after arriving, a wave struck from the back of the boat. The wave smashed the back of our boat over, the booms slamming their landing against the boat’s blue hull. After scouring through the back of our boat in vain for the dangling big fender plates, we decided to abandon the floating city and got out on land.

The skipper pointed to the horizon, and we knew: we weren’t gonna win this. We were headed toward the next continent on the countdown to the year in which we would at last be able to retire. Some of us had lost hours of sleep to this trip; others, over the preceding years, had become fanatic about sofas on open decks. But there was nothing more than we could do: the time has come.

The tanker captain, the tour guide, and all the sailors in their way knew this time was no time to celebrate, but the man at the helm laughed. “Once every 50 years,” he said, “at least this way we’ll be able to afford a fishing pole and shad.”

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