Journey

The dawn fog seemed to part before and silently close behind. The warship crept at 5 knots barely disturbing the flat glassy surface.  The forward lookout peered into the mist seeking to identify objects ahead. He had already lost count of the sea snakes. They floated coiled on the surface until the ship neared and then stretched and dove straight down.

He saw irregular shapes ahead. Headless sheep carcasses floated here. Bloated and bloody, it was disturbing.  He was told they were dumped by cargo ships from Australia and New Zealand whose ship masters sought to avoid disposal costs in port. A portion of every flock died in transit and the crew severed the heads and discarded them by the dozen.

The warship would anchor outside the port later today. Before then, a helicopter would make multiple runs to deliver parts, supplies, and most importantly, mail. The crew had not received any mail for 52 days on this transit. They had been too far from the rest of the battle group for the aircraft carrier to shuttle mail and there had been no port stops since Spain.

Before they could enjoy news from home, they first had to finish navigating the narrow waterway in the fog. This area experienced heavy oil tanker traffic and the small margin for error was compounded by the tactical geographical vulnerability. The crew remained at battle stations on high alert this morning.

The lookout felt the ship turn left and scanned around for threats once again. He saw nothing in the few hundred yards of visibility in the dense fog. After a few moments the course changed again and he realized they had made the final turn into the body of water that would be their home the next few months. The Strait of Hormuz lay behind them now. The Arabian Gulf loomed ahead in misty mystery.


Tell us about a journey — whether a physical trip you took, or an emotional one.

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