MV Leif Ericson, North Atlantic

The green carpet makes squishing noises underfoot, slick moss and blueberry bushes partially inundated by rust colored water. It stretches across most of Cape Spear's point, a living mat interrupted only by faded pink-gray rocks. The Cape is the easternmost point in North America; it may also be the sole point of entry for the entire continent's wind. The few pines foolish enough to homestead the Cape are emaciated, their spindly trunks growing at 45° angles. A Canadian flag is blown with such force that appears perfectly rigid, more like a rectangle of plastic than cloth. On top of the hill, the white tower of a lighthouse is set into relief by dark skies, its electric green lamp burning in puny defiance of horizon-to-horizon blackness. Waves crash. The damp air scours nostrils with its salty oceanic stink. The scene is filled with all the overblown, Good versus Evil iconography of a Tolkien novel—except that it takes place in 21st century Canada. Offshore, a geyser of water erupts from the sea and is closely followed by the curved arcing movement a huge dorsal fin. Pink tourists squeal in delight. Sauron is forgotten and slouches home in a funk.

The Great Boat is broken. The Intermediate Boat is broken. The Lesser Boat is broken, too, but it generally floats, so all of the contents of the Great Boat are stuffed into it. The Lesser Boat plies the waters early in the morning, churning and rocking, cramped refugees lying face-first on the well-trodden carpet, their bodies swaddled in air that reeks of sweat and diesel.