“There is a marine spirit controlling the waters we are sailing. We will soon have to make a sacrifice to appease the sea goddess to allow us passage” My friend said to me.
I gave him an incredulous look, “You mean, there is a spirit controlling the water?”
“Yes,” he nodded, “We sailors see a lot of things on the seas.”
“Wow” I exclaimed.
I was on board a ship bearing crude oil barrels sailing on the Atlantic Ocean enroute Spain.
We were close to 50 men on board, comprising of sailors, oil workers, security personnel and three guests, like me.
It was getting close to midday and I was feeling sea sick, so I went down to my cabin to rest.
10 minutes later, I heard a commotion on board.
I got up and raced to the deck.
“We have come to the point, the sea goddess is waiting for the sacrifice!” my friend, Ignatius said excitedly to me as he pointed to the water.
The ship was no longer moving. It was stuck in the water. In front of us, the water waves rose and fell with fury.
Something appeared to be churning inside the water.
I swiftly turned around and saw one of the crew, standing and boldly facing the waves.
He was barechested and wore only his boxers.
Red ribbons were tied around his head and biceps.
Silence descended on the ship as we watched him perform the ritual.
He chanted some words and broke into a dance, turning in circles.
He suddenly dashed towards a compartment and pulled out a live goat!
He hoisted the goat onto his shoulders and stood before the waves.
He began speaking in a loud voice.
“Mother of the sea
We your children have come again
We bow before you
We bring you good tidings from the land of humans
We are on our way to our work
Please accept our sacrifice
And grant us free passage
Guide us safely to our destination
And bring us back
Mother of the sea, we bow before you!”
He suddenly flung the goat into the waves.
The water covered the goat and it disappeared from sight.
I stared intensely at the spot where the goat fell.
I could sense the presence of some being in the water.
In between splashes, I could make out a blurry but feminine shape swimming around the ship.
Then the waves suddenly ceased and calmness returned to the sea.
The ship began moving and the crew all let out an applause.
“She is in a good mood today! On some days it takes more than one goat to appease her!” Ignatius chattered to me.
“I can’t believe what I just witnessed! So the sea goddess really exist?”
“How do you think engineers are able to build bridges across the sea? Don’t you know that they have to appease the goddess that controls the water they are working in? This is why you should be a sailor, you need to see and experience deep things and understand that life on the waters is different.” Ignatius explained.
As the men chatted animatedly and drank bottles of wine while chanting marine slogans and slangs, I raced to my cabin to document my experience in my diary.