Turning Green in the Blue

Allison Whitaker / 3 min read / Cli-Fi Imaginarium
16 September 2022

A hiccup escapes from my mouth as the boat dips and crests over wave after endless wave. The salt from air and spray has crusted my hair into stiff waves. Nausea floods my senses and I slide down the wall holding me upright on the kelp boat.

I do understand that I should have an appreciation for the foods that I love. I just don’t understand why they’d invite a seasick land-lover like myself out here. Can’t I just appreciate it from the shore?

Give me a range and a cast iron pan and I can do almost anything with a humble strip of seaweed. Put me on a boat and I’m absolutely useless.

“Haven’t got ‘yer sea legs yet, Chef?” asks the captain, who looks comically like a character from those old frozen fish dinners that I learned about on my food marketing course.

“No, sir, we can turn back anytime!” I manage to yell over the roar of the wind, gesturing a little U-turn with my forefinger for emphasis.

“Argh, I was hopin’ you could see Margo Cove where we’ve been puttin’ down our newest plants. There’s a few circuses of puffins nesting out that-away.”

“You can send me a video, right?” I squeak as I lean my head over the railing.

“Sure kid. Oy, duck.”

I slide back onto the deck and the sail whips around, tilting the boat and my insides as the captain navigates us back to the dock.

It’s not like I didn’t prepare. Oh no, I learned my lesson at 13 when I lost my lunch on the shoes of my crush during a school trip. I have these little bands that put pressure on the anti-nausea points on my wrists. I have a mouthful of ginger candy, and I’m keeping my eyes on the horizon. Nevertheless, my brain or inner ear or whatever biological system is at play here is not on board with the movement. I guess I’m just biologically not cut out for seaweed farming.

I am, however, cut out for seaweed cooking. In the five years since I graduated from the culinary institute, I’ve won awards for the dishes I’ve whipped up. And won enough prize money to start my own restaurant, ‘Phore on the Shore, a play on the humble coccolithophore, a phytoplankton at the base of the food chain. Which is why I’m here hugging the railing on a boat, green in the face, as my future kelp supplier navigates back to shore.

Give me solid ground, a pan and a flame and I’ll cook up a beautiful future.

Photo by Allison Whitaker

Avatar photo Allison Whitaker USA Allison is a workshop facilitator and marketer who has historically consumed more fiction than she writes. She’s attempting to change that (and the world) by using her powers for good. An American by birth and traveler by heart. View all posts
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