Masts Like Pencil Marks

Sam says, “I take it we’re heading for that gap.”

“Yup, that’s our way in,” I say.

Everyone goes silent. It feels awkward, because the stillness of the water we’re crossing, the warm air we’re moving through, and the view we’re paddling towards is beautiful and worth commenting on, but nobody’s bothering, at least not yet. I pull out my notebook and try some descriptions of the view.

The night time scene is dramatically different from what I saw in the daylight. We aren’t the only boat out here. A lot of sailboats and yachts are moving around, their red, green and white lights dragging reflections through the black surface of the lake like fishing lines. They are mostly heading towards the gap like us, funnelling into a cluster of lights that’s about to join the bright shine beyond.

The eastern wall of the gap runs straight to the mainland, forming the eastern wall of the inner harbour. Seeing it through the gap, I can’t make out exactly what’s along it, but it’s all industrial. I can see the stern of a freighter moored to the wall, and large buildings without windows. Behind them there are smoke stacks flashing aircraft warning lights.

The shore on our side runs both ways from the gap. To the east it’s almost completely dark, and I can see the silhouettes of trees. There are some lights down where it curves back around and out to the lighthouse — the lights of a marina, with masts like pencil marks rocking back and forth in them.