This afternoon I was on a three-masted barquentine called the Leeuwin, sailing off Fremantle. I spent a bit of time lying on my back up on the bow sprit, the bit of the ship which sticks out the front. This is what I saw looking up and back at the sails.
We spent most of our time travelling at about five knots. This is something like the speed humanity, or those select members of it who did get about, travelled around the globe for the four hundred years before the twentieth century. There was no noise of a mechanical engine roaring. Later, I stood watching the water slip by the ship’s rails, listening to the sea’s slap and trickle on the hull below. So this is what travel used to be like, I thought to myself, slow, but quiet and very peaceful.