This is the longest I have been on water in my life.
There are plenty aboard The Kandinsky who would disagree with defining our transport as a ‘boat’. We have flown some of the way already, and read on in six months time, and I won’t even reference our time on the ocean. But the waves that rock our vessel like are very real. I want to walk down a solid street and get a cup of coffee, or whatever passes for that in Nadada.
Which is why spotting the first buildings in the distance was so exciting. Lozowick is only hours away. In the meantime, we get to see the Men on Rays.
There is a big debate over whether the Men on Rays is a lifestyle, a religion, some kind of performance art, or a combination of all three. The manta rays reach the size of minibuses, one or two people riding per fish. Despite their name the participants are of mixed genders, their only correlation is their swimwear dress code. They adorn their clothing with snorkels, googles, oxygen tanks and more. One of them even has a trident.
If all their religion/hobby involved was shooting around the water like a living jet ski, then I understand the basic thrill. The way they launch themselves out of the spray looks super fun. What baffles me is their living arrangement. They do not head back to an island at the end of the day, nor are they part of the population in Lorenzo. The water is their home.
In the evening a troop of manta rays rise to the lip of the water. On their backs are plastic mattresses, fridge freezers and waterproof sofas. There are televisions covered in sheeting, and cupboards stained with a barnacles and anemones. The Men on Rays settle down for the evening. They wave to their neighbours, and any passing boats. They read soggy paperbacks, and watch the sun set on the horizon.
A few hours ago we headed to deck to watch them relax on their giant aquatic friends. I made The Butter Mouse wave at them, and they waved back. The Kandinsky clanked and creaked, and one of a pair of leathery wings blocked my view. The sea turned into one turquoise carpet, the Men of Ray tiny dots amongst the fibres. The first buildings of Lozowick appeared, and we shot towards the skyline.
Maybe I will miss the water after all.