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© Thomas Cytrynowicz 2019

Seven Hours Blue

Stepping on to the boat, about to weigh anchor for a long and slow navigation across the blue waters of Palawan.
Blue are the surroundings. Blue sea, blue boat, blue hours. A deep color I embrace and let myself float into. One hour. I meet the crew, my fellow passengers, already tired from hours of delay. The engine refused to cooperate in the morning, reducing our chances to land before dark.

Two hours. After having spent some time on the gangway contemplating the view, I go back inside, determined to take a rest. “Do not use the life jackets as pillows”, reads a sign inside the passengers' cabine. People use them anyway, and so do I. The seats are hard.

Three hours. The crew is preparing food, waking up those who fell asleep. Fish freshly caught, fried rice. It smells wonderful, and there is not enough to satiate everyone. Perhaps going back to sleep will help?

Four hours. Boredom is creeping in. I decide to explore every detail of the boat itself, while others are in a state of semi-consciousness. The engine does not make an encouraging noise. The sun is setting, I can see the first lights being lit in the surrounding islands.

Five hours. My body hurts from lying uncomfortably. I go outside, sit on the wooden boards as the sky is getting dark. Our boat does not have any light. The captain uses a flashlight to stay focused on the rudimentary compass. The rest of the crew does not seem to care.

Six hours. People are getting nervous, the space is too small for all of us. We stay outside, trying to see our destination somehow appearing on the horizon. It looks like we are approaching land! False hope, we pass yet another island, going further away. People light cigarettes to keep their calm.

Seven hours blue. We finally made it.

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