Log of Captain Kyle Wright
June 15, 2012
Off the island of Banaba, Kiribati, South Pacific
Day 34 of my solo trip in the South Pacific. The Pony is doing nicely; she’s keeping me relatively on track as far as distance and time are concerned. Had a rough time last night, the water was a bitch. I still haven’t gotten used to sleeping with her rocking so much. Overall all systems are go and good. Managed to patch my sail when I was in port, had a local boy mend it up. Couldn’t speak a drop of English, but he understood the money quite well. Stocked up on supplies, managed to hit the jackpot on some fresh fruit. I was down to Vienna sausages and stale bread, but I think I’ve got enough to last me ‘till next port. Haven’t decided which way to go yet, north to Tarawa or keep heading east to Christmas. Either way I’m in for a ride. This solo stuff is a workout. But I’m toning up and honestly it’s not the physical part that is the hardest. The loneliness is really kicking in now. I miss watching T.V. I miss eating cheeseburgers. I miss my wife.
June 18, 2012
It’s around 1 in the morning and I can’t sleep worth a damn. The waters as calm as a pond but I’ve been getting shoddy sleep the past couple of days. I lost my sat phone over the side two days ago when a big storm took me by surprise. That was my last tie with home and poof, gone in the deep. I haven’t talked to Julie since then. But she can still watch my progress on the GPS, so at least she’s not worried. I wish I could say the same about her. Watch her as she goes to the gym, or takes Tyler to the park. Just a little bit of a reminder of home. The Sea is a fine mistress, but she’s only that, a mistress. I’m not married to her. She gives me my pleasure, but I want to go home and see my wife and child. But my God, looking at her now, in the wash of the moon, she’s all lit up like she’s going to a ball. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so pretty. The stars are her pearls, the moon her stunning white dress. I can see how many a man have fallen for her. But I know her disposition, her sudden change from beauty to beast. Oh, the mood swings of the Sea. She makes a woman seem like a toy, her complexity bests even the most eccentric lady. I wish I could see into her depths, see how she feels, how she ticks, what she does that makes her so pretty and deadly at the same time. I want to see that source of pleasure and pain and I want to hold it in my hand.
Oh my, I’ve filled my log with craziness. I need sleep. And I need to see my wife.
June 20, 2012
Off Christmas Island, Kiribati
Fixed the main sail, but couldn’t find a single person to fix the bent shaft on the motor. I’m glad I was pulling into port when I hit that snag. I would have been floating around for days before someone picked me up. Finally got the pleasure of talking to another English speaker, met a man named Reilly at a local motel. I stepped in to have a drink and he practically tackled me when he saw I was white. Talked my ear off for an hour. He was headed to some little island west of here. Said he was escaping the “apocalypse”. I think he might have been off his rocker. Did see a news story on the TV about home, seems to have been a series of nasty forest fires in California. I hope they don’t spread north. Mainsail good, GPS ticking. Bearing east and finally headed home. All systems good and go, hull intact, water calm.
June 22, 2012
Something’s happening out there. My GPS unit stopped working a couple of hours after I left Christmas so I turned back. But it didn’t seem damaged; it just refused to link up with the satellite. Kept bringing up a “searching” message for a solid hour. I got pissed and turned around, headed back to Christmas in hopes of picking up a new one. But as soon as I came within sight of the island I was meet by an armed patrol boat. This was a US military boat. But it wasn’t Americans on there. They were locals, dressed as locals, but toting machineguns. These weren’t the ones you see on the news, the cheap little ones that the terrorists had, the KA- 67s or whatever the hell they are. These were US guns. Something happened.
And the bastards were wearing gas masks; big ugly, bug-eyed things that made them look like damned aliens. They pointed the guns at me, laser-sights trained on my head. Laser-sights. Not a damned one of them said a word. I threw my hands up, palms out, clearly not armed. I was in a solo sailboat, for God’s sake. I wasn’t an armed pirate with a peg leg and a fucking eye patch! Yet they kept the guns pointed at my damn head. After what felt like an hour a loud speaker crackled to life. “Don’t come closer. Turn around. Go back.” In a heavy accent. That’s all it said. The guns didn’t move an inch. The damn lasers were still on my head. But I wasn’t about to get shot. Not over a damn GPS! So I turned tail and ran. And I didn’t look back. I didn’t even start thinking about the whole thing until hours later. It had scared me shitless. Why the hell were they on an American ship? Why the hell were they armed? Why the hell were they wearing gas masks?
Then stuff got really strange. The next morning I was headed east, making great time. I sailed right through the night, trying to put as much distance between me and those bastards at Christmas. The sunrise was astounding and I kept thinking, “This is too beautiful, way too beautiful. Something is wrong.” This feeling of dread sank over me and hung there like a cloak. I tried to keep my mind off the incident at Christmas, as I calmed down more and more I realized that the details of that encounter didn’t add up. Something was going on. And it was bad, I could feel that much.
Then I saw the ship and my mind could focus on nothing else. It was just a pillar of smoke, that was all I could see at first. Just a speck on the vast blue horizon. Oh, how I wish I had just brushed it off as a mirage or a small island fire, anything. But instead I felt drawn to it, I needed it to latch onto. It would give me something new to focus on instead of the many questions swirling around my head like rotten soup. So I changed course and the speck grew bigger and bigger off my bow. The smoke grew more distinct against the sky and with it an ominous feeling. Dread. Yes, it was dread. When you’re on the sea, ironically it is fire that worries you the most. Water, water, everywhere but not a drop to drink. In this case it was not a drop to extinguish the flames. The flames are always hungry, ready to consume everything. They only get thirsty once you are a charred set of bones on the deck of the dying carcass that was your boat. This dread helped me forget the incident from earlier. I had to prepare for the death that was ahead, for a fire at sea almost always has death surrounding it.
When I came within looking distance I saw it was a fishing trawler. The nets were engulfed, the flames climbing higher and higher. The center mast was completely engulfed. The deck was a furnace. I stared through my binoculars and was horrified to see bodies writhing on the deck, black shadows against the raging inferno. At that moment my radio crackled to life. The boat was angled with its bow facing me and I could see the boathouse, the only thing that had escaped the fire so far. The radio mast was visible barely through the think black smoke. A static filled radio transmission broke through my speakers. Some native islander tongue lashed out, screaming at me. I had no idea what the words were, but I could here the desperation in the voice, the fear. Words are not universal, but the impression they leave are. Whoever was speaking was scared shitless.
I scanned the boathouse and saw a single man inside. He was waving his arms frantically at me as he shouted into the radio. I reached for my mic to reply when the second strange thing happened.
Two men ran up the stairs from the deck, both alight. The flames shone brightly on their backs and arms, they looked like two stuntmen out of a Hollywood movie. They charged at the door to the boathouse and started to bang furiously. The voice on my radio started with a new torrent of screaming, shouting in a string of incomprehensible phrases that sent a chill through my body. He was praying it seemed, praying to me. Asking me to save him.
But I just stared, mouth agape, watching the two flaming men break down the door and burst into the boathouse. The radio stopped, static filling the silence on my boat. I watched in horror as the two flaming men jumped atop the single man and then all three were out of view, dropping to the floor. Only the tips of the licking flames could be seen through the windows.
I dropped the binoculars and shook my head fiercely. It seems like a dream now, the whole thing. I think I cursed loudly, maybe it was silent, maybe only in my head. But the next thing I remember is spinning the wheel and holding on tightly as my boat whipped around. I hauled ass away from that burning boat. I only allowed myself to look back once and at that point it was only a pillar of smoke again. An hour later it was lost on the vast sea.
Something is happening out here, something bad. First the guns and then the damned boat. They were on fire! I can’t get past the fact that the bastards were on fire!
I just want to get home. I just want to walk into my house and shout for my wife and hear her walk from the kitchen and then feel her in my arms. I want to see her. I want my damn wife.
But most of all I want to get off this damn ocean.
July 12, 2012
Haven’t had much to report since I saw the boat. Just open water. But I have been thinking a lot. The guns and boats have mainly faded out of my mind over the past weeks. They seem almost like a memory, they’re shrouded in fog when I try to recall them. There may be a medical term for that, shock? Maybe, or it might just be that my mind is smarter than I give it credit for and has pushed those memories away so that I can focus on the task at hand. That task being getting the hell off this ocean. Why I ever decided to take this trip in the first place escapes me at this point. To clear my mind and find myself is what I told my wife and friends. Instead my mind is more clouded than it has ever been. Clouded with thoughts of home, with thoughts of my wife sleeping alone night after night in our bed, thoughts of growing wings and flying to her.
Why did I punish her? Why did I punish myself?
I still can’t pinpoint my exact location. The GPS continues to flash the “searching” screen every time I turn it on. I was never good with a sextant, although I do have one on the boat. I never thought I would have to use the damn thing, that’s what we have technology for. So it sits there and taunts me day and night, whispering to me that it knows where I am, all I have to do is ask it the right questions. But I can’t, although I have tried. I’ve traced a rough course on the map thanks to my compass readings, so I have a very, very rough estimate of where I’m headed. I’m positive I’ve missed Hawaii already, but I think I can make it to the coast of the U.S. before the end of the month. The seas have been extraordinarily calm, almost too calm. And the sunrises have been strange as well. Some days they are blood red, reflecting on the still seas and painting the sky and water. At those times it looks as if my boat is cutting through a sea of blood. It was quite unsettling at first, but I’ve come to appreciate its beauty as of late.
I’ve neglected this journal for a while, but as I record this a weight seems to be lifting off me. It’s nice to do something other than stare out at the water or constantly be reading the wind.
Food supplies okay for now, the fruits all spoiled but the cans will last for another month if I start rationing them. Hulls intact, main sail and riggings are holding, still headed home.
July 29, 2012
Off Coast of Oregon
Land! Goddamn land! My God, I never thought I would ever be so happy to see the pine trees of Oregon! Home at last, home at last, thank you Lord, I’m home at last.
First spotted it yesterday, just barely on the horizon. I was too far out to reach the coast before dark so I anchored where I was and waited for dawn. There’s no lighthouses that I could see and I knew that if I tried to get closer with no GPS or means of seeing the coast in the dark I could very possibly crash. I’m so glad I’m still able to think clearly at this point, I’ve been living on beans and stale water for the past three days. The food went faster than I thought and the water I’ve been drinking is purified salt water. Hasn’t rained since before the incident, which is damn strange for this part of the pacific. But to hell with it, I see the coast!
This morning when it got light I set course to bring me in closer, see if I could get my bearings. I immediately spotted several landmarks that I recognized. I’m less than half a day’s sail from home. I’m saying to hell with heading down to Brookings, I’ll eat my last can of beans tonight and pull into Burnt Hill tomorrow morning. I’ll forgo getting supplies if that means seeing my wife sooner.
I’ll walk into the house and yell her name and I’ll hear walk from the kitchen and I’ll pick her up in my arms and never let her go and hold her and smell her and feel her.
My hand is shaking right now with excitement. I’ll finally see my wife again. I’ll see her again.
July 30, 2012
Burnt Hill, Oregon
Something happened here. Something bad.
I’m tied up in the marina in Burnt Hill, in the same slip that I sailed out of three months ago. But it’s not how I remember it. The slip is, for the most part, exactly the same. It’s still wooden planking and the moors are still there. But the marina is a stark contrast to what it was when I left. I can’t help but think back to the men with the guns and the flaming boat. That feeling of dread that I had mostly forgotten is back. Something did happen when I was on that ocean, something terrible.
My last entry was filled with such excitement, such hope. Looking back at it makes me feel like I’m in a dream. The emotions I felt yesterday are gone, replaced with a feeling in my stomach.
Nervousness? Yes. Fear? Yes. Sickness? Maybe. It feels as if I have a rock the size of a fist pushing down on my bowels. My mind is foggy, I can’t get the images out of my head. The bodies…
When I approached the opening of the small harbor I was immediately met with the smell of acrid smoke and something else, although I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time. Fear gripped me then and has yet to let go. My first thoughts were a town fire and my wife’s face flashed into my mind. Paranoia, was it my house that was burning? Was it the whole town? Was she okay? As I got closer to the entrance of the harbor I saw a fishing trawler run aground to the right, smoke rising from smoldering deck. The hellish image of the flaming boat on the sea flashed before my eyes and the rock formed in my stomach. Dread came over me, my thoughts raced. The main harbor and the town were still blocked by the pine trees that stood at the water’s edge, but as I came around I first caught a glimpse of the marina. Not a soul was present, the usually bustling and busy docks were empty. Three boats remained of the usual fifteen, two of those smoldering as well. My mind continued to race, question after question, all unanswered. The smell of the smoke was always present, but the second, unidentified smell began to overpower the stench of burning boats. I heard something smack against the bow of my boat and my eyes shot to the water, expecting to see litter from the destroyed boats. What met my gaze was something far worse, the lifeless eyes of a floating corpse. My heart skipped a beat and I at once realized what the second smell was. Death. Decomposing people. I looked to the other side of my boat and saw more of them, some floating face down, some only parts of people. Bodies everywhere.
They were everywhere.
I puked, right there on the wheel, bile covering the gauges as I felt my knees grow weak. That’s when my mind grew foggy. I don’t completely recall pulling into my slip. I vaguely remember tying the boat to the dock. Instinct is my only explanation. When my mind cleared somewhat I was sitting here in the cabin, sweat growing on my brow, the rock in my stomach weighing me down. The questions came back in a flood. Was everyone dead? Who did this? What did this? What the hell happened here?
Then I remembered my wife. I grew frantic and rushed topside only to stop immediately as my sense returned somewhat. I realized that other than my heavy breathing and the sound of the water lapping against the dock, there was not a single other sound to be heard. Something, I can’t explain what, but something made me think of the gun. The small revolver I’ve always kept down in the cabin and the box of shells to go with it. Something inside me, common sense, instinct, something, made me turn back and go back to get it. After I loaded it I saw this journal and once again something made me stop and write this down. A feeling of impeding doom I guess. The feeling that I may never make it back to this boat if I leave. The feeling that I needed to write something else down, not only to try to clarify it in my own mind but to… Say goodbye maybe? To hell with it, I’m going to find my wife.
July 31, 2012
Off the coast of Oregon
I don’t know exactly why I wrote the date and location. I don’t really know why I do anything anymore. It’s all quite foggy.
I found some answers.
They weren’t all dead, the people. At least in some sense they weren’t dead. They looked dead. Smelled dead. But they were moving, walking, running after me. Some of them were missing limbs, some didn’t have all their skin. They didn’t talk, at least not to me. They just chased me.
I found my wife.
I think she’s really dead now. Not dead like them, but not moving dead. I shot her. I shot her five times. She didn’t stop until I shot her head.
I finally stopped crying. Sometime last night I think. It’s quite foggy.
They chased me. They wanted to kill me, they wanted to eat me I think. My wife tried to bite my face when I came home.
I walked in the door and yelled her name and I heard her walk from the kitchen and then I saw her and her face was missing parts and she screamed and ran to me and she tried to bite my face.
Then I shot her. But it wasn’t her. She was dead, her face, her beautiful face was missing parts. I shot her. Five times. She didn’t stop until I shot her head.
Then I ran. And there were more of them, dead people that weren’t really dead because they were chasing me, screaming. Some of them were missing limbs, some didn’t have all of their skin.
I made it to the boat. I made it out of the harbor. I’m back in open water. Back on this ocean. It’s all quite foggy.
I lost the box of bullets. But I still have one left in the gun. I spent the last hour opening the cylinder and spinning it, then snapping it shut. The bullet never stopped at the top. I couldn’t bring myself to just put it there. So I kept spinning it and snapping it shut. And it finally landed at the top. It’s sitting next to this journal as I write.
If you find this and are reading it, don’t go to Burnt Hill. Everyone is dead, even if they do move and walk and run and scream. I shot my wife. Five times. She didn’t stop until I shot her head.
The sun is coming up, it’s red again. Like all those mornings before. I’m going to the deck to watch it. To look out over the ocean as it turns from blue to red. As it turns from water to blood.
If I add my own, I don’t think it will matter much.