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  • Pru Warren

Milky Jade


Santiago, our ornithologist, and Tommy, the Nat Geo photographer, don't need any jokes about their excessive manliness, please.


Wednesday, November 10—7:51 AM


When I woke up this morning, the Explorer had already reached our morning’s destination (Pia Fjord) for kayaking. The view from my window has become somewhat routine, astonishingly. Dark grey walls rising out of the sea with brush and trees clinging to every crevice.


But the water—what the hell, man? It was no longer grey. I spent quite a long time trying to put that color into words. It wasn’t aquamarine; that’s a clear color. A tropical color. It wasn’t emerald; it was too cloudy for that. It was…it was jade. Milk jade.


Oh! It’s glacial run-off! It’s that swimming pool blue mixing with the dark waters!


This was a foolish moment of triumph for me. I couldn’t see the glacier from my cabin’s window…but I knew it was there. I AM NANOOK OF THE NORTH—master of this wild landscape!


Hero Mike has agreed to kayak with me. He said it would break Grant’s heart, since Grant is a tremendous kayaker, too. Mike was teasing, but there was truth to it, too. I asked him to apologize to Grant for stealing his prom date and in a very unguarded moment, Mike noted that Grant could be of more use helping someone else who shouldn’t be allowed out without supervision. That’s not quite how he put it, but the implication was there.


I’m pleased. Now I have no fear. There will be gracelessness getting into and out of the kayak, but this humiliation can be borne for the joy of paddling across milk jade. Flat, calm milk jade, like a picture. I think I won’t even take my phone with me; others will have cameras and we’re all now up on the Air Drop feature to trade photos. Although I’m pretty sure I won’t actually fall into the water during the decanting process, why risk the iPhone??


Yesterday the photographers had a session for iPhone camera people. It was like Rusty teaching me how to use my own printer. Young Eric patiently showed old folk what they could do with iPhones they’d been using for years. It was very inspiring and fun. Others were shooting through the window at the birds or the waves, but I managed to get a video of Eric taking off his jacket; and I now know how to fuck around with the video to make the strip tease part in slo-mo. All it needs is a boom-chicka-boom-boom soundtrack. Eric ignored me but I got the snorts from giggling so hard. And although it probably wasn’t his goal, after Eric got through all the slo-mo and “live” shots and rapid fire and how to catch waves crashing over the bow or a storm petrel banking left…he said “And last is the portrait setting,” which he walked us through.


It was SUCH a buzz. I was far more interested in the portraits than in the rest of the imagery. I must have 20 people now; utterly gorgeous portraits. I’m mad for it. This may be an indication of why it’s taken me so long to explore the natural world…I’m more interested in the people anyway! I took the most glorious portrait of Christina (who looks like Twig) with one of the dinner napkins on her head in the shape of a crown.



Oh, these portraits are so beautiful. How can I travel to Patagonia and then post portraits of passengers on my blog?! Foolishness. I’ll have to get someone to air drop me their best wilderness picture and then I shall pretend they are mine.


Last night I dreamed that I came into my cabin and Jonathan was here. It was vivid in the way of all dreams; I knew the Tattersall shirt and khakis he was wearing. I couldn’t quite see his face, but I made him hold me and I leaned on him and it was so nice to be a pair again. No need for psychoanalysis to interpret that. Scottish Bryan and Rachel are prone to hand-holding during presentations, or having an arm around the other. I’m not jealous; I like them both very much and want them to be happy. It’s just a glaring reminder of what I had and don’t have anymore. But I am determined that my life will not be over because I’m now a solo traveler. I can still go places and experience things and learn portrait photography and kayak on milk jade waters. It takes a little more emotional energy, but I have plenty of that.


On to the mandatory kayak safety briefing!


4:19pm


Hey! Internets! I haven’t written about kayaking or the Zodiak journey after, but I think I’ll get this posted while the getting is good.


Here's a photo of what it looks like when glacier-fed water meets up with regular-old ocean. Two-tone seas. Cool, huh??



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