A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part four: Blog nineteen)
By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris
As the Nagua moves beyond the visibility of the city Umi’s thoughts turn to the next day when she will dive for the wooded plants ‘Dizzying Blade’ wants for the bow and arrows. “You will come on the boat with us tomorrow Zala and Chesah.” She smiles at the others. “The rest of you, we try next time.”
She hears the other girls grumble that they won’t be going. Umi smiles at the sight of Zala putting her arm around Chesah and asking her if she’s excited about the coming morning. Only a few of the girls are willing to swim. Most are terrified of putting their head below the surface. She chuckles under her breath at the memory of the ‘Harlot’ telling her, she would rather eat ‘Unibrow’s’ wormy fish meal, like they were forced to years ago, than learn to be an Ama.
The Nagua is anchored about a mile from the shore of an atoll. Umi is wearing a kimono robe with images of the leaves from a sakaki tree stitched on. She closes her eyes and takes in deep, even breaths of the salty air.
She opens her eyes and sees ‘One Eye’ who isn’t currently wearing her eyepatch looking back at her from the bow of the pinnace with a lopsided grin. “We’ll keep the embers going while you dive,” ‘One Eye’ says with as she swipes away one of the flying insects that live near the shore.
Umi stares into the yellow sky. Pelicans with their long thick beaks swoop nearby. She can also see frigatebirds with their thin pointed beaks and long tails. Nearby a yellow beaked masked booby, with its wings drawn in, dives into the water. Most of the other birds she has seen on this world keep closer to shore. She remembers the Captain saying she wonders if they’re originally from Earth and were resting on the ships when the whirlpools pulled them to this planet.
Before her, in a cast iron box made from one of the unused cannons, are the embers of a fire. She’ll need the warmth when she leaves the water. She undoes her sash and lets the sun shine on her mostly bare skin. She ties a tenugui over her head to keep her hair out of her eyes. She is already wearing a fundoshi below. Over the side she can see the sunlight piercing the water. About two fathoms down the tops of seaweed flow back and forth in the current. Growing in-between the seaweed are the hard and straight stands of what the Queen of Pirates named dogweed.
To the stern of the pinnace sit Zala and Chesah rowing. ‘One Eye’ is navigator. Zala’s eyes are bright and observant. Chesah appears a bit squeamish.
“First Mate Olanis knows that if I tug the rope once, I’m coming up, but if I tug twice I’m to be pulled up,” she tells the girls.
“And if we see danger we tug twice, wait for a tug back from Umi, then pull her back to the surface like Crazy Bumbee would,” ‘One Eye’ adds.