Friday, October 21, 2011

Bring on the Horizon

Being on passage is like

Being in space.  Imagine trying to cook without putting anything down on the counter.  Eyes & hands on the alert, trying to make something edible & possibly delicious, while not burning or scalding yourself.  Then start tilting the room.  On really bad days you need a spotter to make sure nothing hits the ground.  Oh sure, we have tricks; sticky mats, a stove on a gimble, strategic places to lean bowls & dishes - still at least once a meal you forget when you put down the, I don't know, cutting board, & everything becomes a bit more of a pain in the ass. 

Being in jail.  No - more like being grounded.  You know when you got in a fight with your parents & you're not allowed to leave the house?  Sometimes you let your tongue lash out, but damnit there's nowhere to run.  Your parents are still inexhaustibly right & you've gotta cool down while still being in their face.  It's like that.

Lifeguarding.  Watches are constant vigilance.  Night watch means keeping check every 10-15 minutes for lights on the horizon at 360 degrees.  Scanning.  Taking note of windspeed, direction & dangers.  Keeping an eye out for whales, mostly out of interest, but also cause they will do you in if you come too close.  Step 1 in a man overboard is Do not take your eyes off the victim.  (Imagine how quickly they'd get lost amongst the waves, currents, glare, with the boat speeding away.)  Could be the beginning of any training situation I've ever done.

Rotations of an hour, every 5 hours all day, 2.5 hours each at night.  Evening watches started when we almost hit a freighter when everyone was chilling out on deck.  I was cooking dinner, & they weren't even going to tell me we almost died!  On the flipside, day watches started when I didn't see a gray wall of rain & wind ahead of us before it passed over us & tore a 25ft rip in our Jenny.  All day watch rotations, with an extra complication of having to steer the last few days before hitting Tahiti.

Camping in your backyard.  Sailing is cool too.  Every night eat dinner under the stars in the fresh air.  Lit by flashlights.  However extravagently, we are still eating mostly out of cans, except with the addition of fun condiments.  Cooking on a gas stove.  Thrill of the outdoors, but our house is literally right there.

Being erased.  Some days you're sure you've fallen out of the world.  Some days are grey all around.  Above and below.  Opaque sky, mercurial sea.  No horizon.  No signs of anything outside yourself.  Nothing.

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