At night we bob and wait. We wait for the early morning when our spotters will start to look for the boats on the horizon. We wait for the distress calls to come from the boats in the morning. But at night, we wait, pregnant with anticipation. With the engines off, we float in position with the gentle waves occasionally slamming into the boat. The boat is big and steady. She doesn’t move much with the slams, but I can hear them. There is something disquieting about the asynchronous slams. The sea looks so calm from our 77m long island. But when on the sea in a smaller vessel, the sea’s actions are amplified. The slamming reminds me of the violence faced by most of our passengers in the days, months, and years before they get to our little haven. It reminds me of the thousands of dead – known and unknown – who are strewn across the sea in a completely unsympathetic fashion. If I let my imagination run while I verge on sleep, I hear the pounding of the dead and the knocking of my conscience. Some say the waves lull them to sleep. My sleep hesitates and is pock-marked with nightmares of desperate drowning people biting and clawing at others in their boat in a bid to save themselves. I do not find the waves soothing.
© Isabelle SERRO/SOS MEDITERRANEE