hanjin // new caledonia

you reach the lighthouse at magic hour and lock your eyes on the HANJIN.

her body weight captivates you – her deck stacked high with red and blue shipping containers.

she moves fast and you look back as your cycle forward. a dangerous maneouver. with headphones. sans helmet.

you round the corner through the trees and she’s still beside you – moving fast.

lights are on and the sky is dark blue. a shade lighter than the navy hanjin. Lion’s Gate sparkles as you approach simultaneously. slowing through the gates to the waterpark, you lower your cadence and push hard out the other side. racing the freighter to the bridge. surprised by her speed – i suppose she does have to get to China.

your breathing syncs with the pedal pushing and you remind yourself of various surreal adrenaline-seeking moments from last summer’s trip.

then glance back to hanjin. she might actually beat you to the bridge. unthinkable. push push push push push push push.

slim curve. tree root. narrow fence – corner where you saw the british girl flip into the ocean back in february –

hanjin won.

good for her. she was only slightly faster though. you’re still staring at her bigness. no one else is cruising the sea wall at this hour; they’re all playing in english bay.

your brain is spinning. you round a corner and look ahead. as you do …

… bright gold streaks the shoreline. it’s quiet magic. the exploding sky. surrendering of sea to sun. ocean paved in a red-orange that locks down the eye.

istanbul. the black sea.

you’ve lost sight of land – and you’re heading north. leaving the middle east in the middle east. the most daring, attractive, engaging, complex cultures you’ve ever seen – go down behind the bosphorus bridge.

Turkish flags wave large on small coast land until it’s all out of sight.

ocean consumes your boat. You – Ukrainians, Russians. a dorm room sleeps four and you have a top bunk.

sun sets on the second night into a sea of black with nothing to obscure the big bastard. just a big shiny circle falling into the ocean. we all take a photo.

you’re in the middle of everything. the middle of nowhere.

>>whilst cycling the stanley park seawall on a sunday eve, i was reminded of my trip across the black sea on a passenger freight called the New Caledonia in September 2009<<

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