Farewell to the tropics

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic
June 7th 2011
Published: July 25th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

Today is our 4th day at sea since leaving Jost Van Dyke (we spent our last night at a deserted little island to have one last bon fire – hootenanny with just us ship-folk) and it hasn’t taken long for us to resume our at-sea-ship-rhythm. To be honest, I haven’t felt well until today – perhaps it’s taken those few days to fully recover from Jost. Today is also our 2nd attempt at sailing – the wind has been dead aside from 2 hours of squalls we sailed thru during my 8-12 night watch 2 nights ago (that was pretty fun). But, the theme of little wind continues – I can hear the water lapping up against the ship as I write this – we’re probably going a couple knots.
As I mentioned before, we officially left the tropics yesterday, which I have to admit, leaves me a little blue. And we are already down to our last coconut – and I even had to resort to canned mangos in the breakfast I made this morning – already! The fresh tropical fruits are gone! After breakfast a few of us sat around on the aloha deck sharing the new, odd skills/habits we have acquired on this voyage that will probably not transfer over to life back on land very well. I will list some of them in no particular order:
1. Opening a coconut (that Fred retrieved from a tree) with a machete and then drinking the oh so yummy coconut juice (and then using the machete to scratch your back – Sophie added that one, I will state that I have not yet used a machete to scratch my back, yet).
2. Throwing food scraps whiling eating over your shoulder (overboard) – will have to remember to not do that one at the dinner table.
3. Relying on the happenings of the ship to tell me what time it is. Like who’s receiving a wake up, the first or second meal bell, watch changes, helm changes, etc.
4. Getting a personal wake up at random hours of the night to turn to rather than getting up at a routine respectable hour by way of alarm-yuck.
5. Going down into the hold to “grocery shop” – you mean I’ll have to go to a store?
6. Eating meals not at a table but on your lap or deck or hatch.
7. Cooking meals for 50.
8. Doing dishes for 50.
9. Picking ones nails with their rigging knife.
10. Wearing a rig like it’s part of you – I feel naked without it now.
11. Spanking each other – this for some reason, thanks Ollie, has become common place on board.
12. Sleeping anytime and anywhere.
13. Running aloft.
14. Picking out constellations and stars and using them when at the helm during night watch.
The list could go on. But, it is crazy that in less than 2 weeks this journey that I began 6 months ago is coming to an end. When I first left, I definitely didn’t know where my travels would take me – I certainly had ideas and inklings and sailing on this ship was one of them – but at that time it seemed like a pie in the sky kinda idea. Yeah, I’ve always dreamed living on board a sailing vessel for a chunk of time, learning traditional seafaring skills, but never imagined it would be possible let alone a reality. Aside from my assignment in Vietnam, I really didn’t have a clear “goal” like personal mission as to what I wanted to accomplish on this voyage either. It was just one of those things I felt like I had to do, deep down in the bones can’t ignore kinda thing. And what have I gained? Well, I’m sure the answers to that question will continue to unfold as the months and years after this trip pass. But, from where I am right now, sitting down in the bat cave of a rolling ship I can say this: this trip has taught me to not ignore those inklings of things you feel you must do from deep in your bones, no matter how crazy or unjustifiable they may seem. I have learned to trust myself more, trust others more, continue to dream and follow those dreams. And often times, no plan IS the best plan. In addition, I unexpectedly I fell in love with my boyfriend in the Caribbean or maybe somewhere in the South Atlantic – I’m not sure where or when anymore. I have to admit, I wondered if I would fall in love on this trip – I just had no idea it would be for the guy I left back home! So, that hunch that I had when I left of thinking things in my life would be different when I returned, just not knowing how, seems to be true – I just haven’t reached the how part of it. But, I can say this – as much as I am increasingly appreciating my last days on this ship, I am equally looking forward to what my future has in store for me upon my return.


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