Even At Sea - December 12, 2001
Life has begun to settle into a routine here in the Atlantic. A week out and about a week to go we have found our daily patterns and roles aboard our little ship. And Baggywrinkle has found her own groove, bounding over the waves, and pushing ahead one nautical mile at a time.
Each day blends into the next for we are on a watch schedule of three hours on, six hours off. This means that even the nights are broken up with watches, but the watches rotate and every third night one lucky soul gets to sleep from midnight to six in the morn.
But, each day is also unique. There are constant chores to be done even at sea. The boat takes a pounding off shore (one person told me that two weeks at sea is equivalent to 3 seasons of coastal sailing). Looking after the ever present leaks or fixing the bits that break while underway takes up part of the day. Deciding what we're going to have for lunch and dinner becomes a big question. And each day at 3 we have a chat on the Sideband Radio to Herb, the weather guru, about what to expect that day and the next in terms of wind and waves.
Often the days are marked with special events, such as the spotting of a whale. Two days ago we were sailing along and Sam spotted a fin whale not 60 feet off of our beam. We all jumped up on deck while he continued to point and yell "Whale, Whale, Whale." It spouted into the air as we passed by and we could see it's massive shape just below the deep blue. It was quite an amazing experience.
Later that evening we saw what we believed to be the space shuttle shooting into the sky just after sunset. It was from the right direction of Florida, but we found by listening to the news (we receive some AM stations even out here) that the shuttle had launched the day before. Perhaps, it was a missile or satellite launch. Whatever it was it left beautifully colored contrails against the dusk sky.
The next day was demarcated with fresh water showers. No sooner had a squall been sighted on the horizon than we all stripped off our clothes, grabbed towels and broke out the soap and shampoo. The rain did arrive, but was less than we had hoped, and we had to resort to using a little of our own fresh water to rinse the suds out of our hair.
Hanukkah began a couple nights ago, and I brought along a little menorah just for the occasion. After sundown we lit the candles and sitting in the cockpit opened the present my mother had packed away for us. It is strange to bring the normal elements of everyday life into this environment. But, that is what happens as life at a 45 degree slant becomes normal.