Villanelle Basilicum – a little roots

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DATE: 11-01-17 GMT: 0433 POS: 13-49.6 N, 056-06.2 W   COG: 265 SOG: 5.5

Villanelle Basilicum

Consider this small plant of basil,
which has lived beside the compass
of the ship for over two weeks.

In port we fretted for its safety
from the waves, tried a thousand different
places before we placed it beside the compass,

sure it would be dead in a few days.
But no–a little worse for wear,
a few salt-withered leaves, but the ship’s two weeks

out from shore, and still the basil lives.
Yesterday I caught it budding out,
tiny, four-pointed flowers like a compass,

and, shocked by the instinct, I pruned them off.
To think I still remember this action
two months out on a ship.

But we might continue to want basil
growing beside the compass
on our ship, for two weeks more, or more, or more.

–The basil was given to us at our last port of call, Santa Cruz de la Palma. It is a variety I have never seen before, with purple centers of the leaves and a spicier flavor than the Genovese basil I’m used to. It takes up a spot by the helm that is usually occupied by the teapot–space is carefully apportioned on the boat–but somehow I can’t seem to begrudge it the spot. We all thought it would die within a couple of days–the salt air and spray is death to plants usually, but the seas have been so calm on the crossing that the basil has survived this far, and is giving every indication that it’ll make it to Barbados, and perhaps further. Most of the time, I don’t feel like I need any reminders of shore out here, but there is something incredible about carrying a tiny patch of ground with us, something with roots that grows. It’s a good reminder of where we came from, and where we’re going to.

– Elisabeth, Trainee aboard Tres Hombres

WIND DIR & SPD: E, 12knots
CURRENT DIR: E 0.5 Knots
CLOUDS: 3/8 Cumulus Me
SEA STATE: 1.5m E swell
AIR PRES: 1015 hPa

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