One day at sea

You sleep in two or three-hour naps, hopefully twice per day.
You awake to the sound of water rushing against the fiberglass hull, spare halyards rapping about the aluminum spars.
Your shipmates lie several feet away in the cabin you share, the size of a garden tool shed, constantly rolling, pitching, yawing to the motion of the sea. You use the rhythmic lurch of the boat to aim water into the kettle.
These tight quarters have honestly earned the aroma of four grown men that haven’t bathed in a week and a half.
You get up and boil water on the propane two-burner to make a pot of coffee for yourself and the helmsman you are about to relieve.
The waking hours are spent tending to the tiller, making makeshift repairs to whatever broke the night before, and whipping the frayed ends of sheets and spare line. There is never nothing to do.
You plan your course for the next few days, which will undoubtedly change due to impending lows or maddening calms.
There is a wind shift so you change sails. You stick out the fishing line, take a sextant sun-sight, plot the noon position, coil lines in the cockpit, and the wind shifts again, so you change the sails.
You and your mates shoot the breeze, curse like sailors and trade stories of past adventures and future ones. And the tall tale you currently inhabit is written thus.
You tell dirty jokes and take the piss and learn to know these other three lunatics with whom you share this tiny, tiny vessel on this vast, vast ocean.
You see flying fish frantically dart from the surface, evading some unknown predator beneath.
You watch the gulls and the terns and if you’re lucky an albatross, and wonder what they could possibly be doing, so far out here, a thousand miles from any thing. And they watch you, surely wondering the same.
In the evening you and your company take a glass of rum or whiskey or wine, and share personal victories and defeats, shared failures, cock-ups and insights, and watch the sun slowly descend past the horizon. You read a chapter in your book before your evening nap.
Your alarm goes off at 23:45, giving you enough time to gear up with foulies and harness to be on deck for your midnight watch handover.
The night is spent surfing down phosphorescent following flurries of swell, sending the neon bioluminescent trail of fairy dust from the transom into your endless wake, the undulate past.
You are flying through space, barreling through the darkest darkness toward an obscure group of volcanic peaks in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, marveling at the same stars and planets that your ancestors did, and theirs before.
You breathe in the energy of the wind and the salt sea and the celestial bodies, and the soul of your vessel is also yours, and you are more connected with your surroundings than you’ve ever been.
When you settle in to your lee-cloth you are energized and exhausted, and you’ve never been more content with so little. You will sleep well, for two or three hours.
Goodnight, sailor. Steady on.

-Willy Kunkle
31* 44.3’ N / 139* 20.7’ W

3 thoughts on “One day at sea”

  1. So grateful for your reports, men. Not a sailor, landlocked most of my life, I am getting the experience I’ve always dreamed of thanks to you and your mates’ writing… as if in dreams. Real and beautiful and challenging to you, and a revived exciting beautiful fantasy for me! Thank you soooo much for sharing. Really touches me.

  2. I love your venture….I went to high school with Sharon Maxson Romero……I get to see her again in Oct. after many many years at our 50th high school reunion….we always had fun and a great laugh together. I always knew the ventures in our lives would be wonderful and that we would pass that on to our children……and so it is……………not sure who said this quote but I love t…..”To be satisfied with a little is the greatest wisdom”

Comments are closed.