D'you Remember No. 3

Continued from last edition ..Number Tico Destination unknown, what happens next, what will it be like, where will we land, what has the future in store if indeed there is a future ?Applicable to millions of folk no doubt but in the narrow confines of a ship these thoughts magnify. Typical of so many others, our friend pre­sented a bold front but within, his feelings were of grim contemplation which made all before him hold some significance to pervading uncertainties. The vast panorama of the sea appeared as a mighty heaving mass desperately trying for no apparent reason to change its shape and to shake off the scum that audaciously ploughed over its surface. Ships looking almost gay in their bath of sunshine seemed to sail forward serenely and unconsciously in the path of more ships ahead that battled through rain, mist and cloud towards a blackness beyond. lie saw the complete picture outlaid before him and realized it was a glimpse ahead of time then wondered if somebody could see him and that which lay ahead. Rainbows appeared in all sorts of odd places and their meaning was reassuring— one had formed just ahead of an aircraft carrier which seemed to plunge ever forward in a vain effort to run it down but like magic, beauty kept just that wee bit ahead of the beast. Weird, fluffy mists floated afoot or two above water level giving an impression that phantom ships were suspended in mid-air or sinking through cloud. A huge patch of oil, some wreckage or maybe an empty lifeboat oran oar would drift past and bring him crashing back from his flights of fancy. At night, all was deathly silent save for the rumble of the engines below an eerie moon cast ghostly shadows, or all was inky blackness. Time dragged on these watches till pinpricks of light in scattered clusters silhouetted coastal villages of Spanish Morocco against the sky— a startling but welcome sight after blackout. Ahead, Gibraltar loomed gaunt and black showing a red light on the channel side and many bright lights in the town below. Two searchlights suddenly stabbed the blackness to sweep the whole convoy and as the ships moved closer inshore lots of well-lighted little rowing boats (presumably fishermen) passed between the craft. Dawn uncovered Gibraltar showing her stark magnificence splendidly and revealed too that the convoy had dwindled considerably. As the remaining ships passed along the irregular and mountainous North African coast more and more dropped out and most of the escort went, too, but in compensation shore-based aircraft buzzed reassuringly overhead. 71
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