Parallel universe

Apr 19 2011

WGalleyThe intensity of life at sea is such that relative strangers living for weeks in the space of a small urban apartment, with lounge/ diner, kitchette, two bathrooms, utility, office area, closet and bedroom, (with fourteen beds) oh and a roof top terrace with extensive panoramic views, get to know one another and themselves rather well. Mostly for the better, but occasionally the worse whether they want to, or not.

Already over two-thousand miles into the Pacific Ocean and headed deeper for one of the remotest places on the planet and last remnant of the British Empire, the temperature is rising. Like an army with nothing to do active minds plot activity, channelled correctly it is all conquering. Beyond our simple daily routine of watches with duties around cooking, cleaning, maintaining and scientific work, we have little to conquer; we proactively occupy ourselves with exercise, reading and conversation, a simple but satisfying life.

Bound for Pitcairn Island, Captain Bligh and his mutinous crew aboard the Bounty are referenced. Many things have changed in the centuries since then, but human nature is much the same, active minds and restless souls, active minds and restless souls that took a ship striving for change and a better life. They found it on Pitcairn, an island oasis far from their homeland; another world, new community, opportunities and a fresh start.

At sea solitude, simplicity and companionship replace high speed connections, on demand activities and time pressures, and for most it is enlightening. However, once landfall is made this all evaporates, the bubble bursts; the desire to reconnect is over-whelming; normal, complex life returns, the view of a parallel universe and another way to live becomes a memory but one from which we can learn.

Stripped bare life is simple and our needs are few, less is more and yet so often we are duped into consuming. We could live as stronger communities, why not? Shared resources, bartered goods a new sense of belonging. At sea, away from the social, norms, networks and pressures I know that it works and has done for centuries.

Clive Cosby