We sailed into Mawali Bay early this morning. I understand now why the crew believes Captain Hiyami can call the winds with his pipes: we’ve had fair winds the entire trip. We won’t dock until this evening when we finally reach Mawali herself. But I could see the lights from the city this morning, and from the many villages and towns scattered around the bay like jewels on a necklace. From what I could gather, the bay is about 25 miles “deep” from the mouth to the shore, and about 75 miles long, shaped like a flattened “C”. The water is quite shallow near the shore, and Mawali is the only place where the water is deep enough for a harbor where large ships can dock. I’m told there are reefs as well, that the harbor was excavated from them, and that captains are meticulous in keeping the charts and following the lanes. There may be more to it than that. I saw Captain Hiyami at the bow, chanting and letting gold coins slip through his fingers into the water. I was told it was a prayer for safety, but it seemed more like an offering. To whom, I wonder.
This work by Jean Headley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.