It was on the 3rd day I felt it. I had finished a perfect shave with my double edge razor (Merkur 34c ) and was considering how I could write an article somehow connecting Galapagos and wet shaving.
Now nocturnal and nautical, I worked better hearing the purr of the motor engines and the courteous knocking of the ocean.
After a few days in a boat, it is easy to forget you’re in one at all. The room was like a neatly furnished elevator. The bed possessed the comfort of a swaying feathered hammock.
I held my notebook, bracing for an idea to reach me.
The cabin suddenly lurched forward as if it had accidentally been dropped from a great height. Still moving, the floor began to grind as if large granite molars were inscribing their presence ‘ land was here ‘. I sat for a moment as the room wavered like the tip of a compass and thought to myself ‘ we hit something?’
Looking outside, the letterbox shaped window revealed nothing. The large cruiser anchored near us was no nearer than it had been before. Upstairs, there was nothing out of the ordinary other than the crimson flicker of the radio receiver. A door creaked, Murray who typically had an answer for most things was sidestepping through the narrow doorway to the lounge room shirtless in boxer shorts.
‘we hit something?’ he asked.
‘I think we did.’
‘Where’s the crew?’
I returned downstairs for my shoes and was alarmed to realise I no longer needed them. My legs were shaking in icy water. I stared at the bathroom door, now haemorrhaging brown coloured liquid. I felt the water creep above my knees, and a sinking feeling. It was time to go.
A large laundry sack appeared to be the only empty thing in the room so I began force feeding valuables into its mouth.
The room went black and all I heard now was the bathroom industriously whirring like a washing machine.
‘We gotta go!’ I shouted, banging blindly against the timber walls, my exit now diminishing to the rising brine.
The alarm sounded.
Upstairs looked like a nightmarish slumber party. People scuttled around in pyjamas with backpacks. Some had large orange life vests around their necks, appearing like they had just uprooted themselves from the village stocks.
I scanned the room for a life vest that could be spared. There was a junior life vest intended for children, perfect.
There were no children aboard the Nemo 2.
The tour guide was repeating the same meme ‘time to go, guys, time to go’.
We stepped into the boat and jetted towards the shoreline as I looked around at pale faces.
The Nemo 2 was now leaning as if it had finished a Christmas roast. I heard the furious engine of the lifeboat and the confusion from my comrades.
‘This is so not happening.’
‘will it sink?’
Upon land, at the pier, the mood of the slumber party had changed. Good things in life are rarely worth joking about. Many were laughing about how much worse or better the situation could be. Even the juvenile grey sharks circling beneath the fluorescent lights appeared to be grinning.
Girls were still in their pink tracksuit bottoms, men in their short shorts. I took a moment to register the embarrassing sense of intimacy you feel when witnessing someone in their pyjamas for the first time. We walked on to our hotel, passing the thumping night clubs and the quiet souvenir stores.
Later that night, I still felt the sway of the Nemo 2. I looked at my sad sack of possessions and commemorated the heavy loss of my razor, the Merkur 34c. Now a free roaming anchor upon the majestic floors of the Galapagos Islands.