From the trade winds in 13N, 53W!…
by Tom McMahon – Deckhand aboard Sea Dragon.
Thousands of sailors have used these very winds to speed them to their destinations, and as far as winds go they are very helpful. Blowing in a consistent direction and at a reliable useful speed they attract boats from very far north to help their passage over the horizon.
With the journey taking a week or two to complete it does mean nights at sea sailing. This calls for someone to be awake to keep watch and navigate (drive) the boat.
What I’ve found this means for me is being awake and working at strange times of the day and night with only enough time for a substantial nap in between as opposed to the full eight hours.
This in conjunction with the heat found in the tropics and the seemingly endless vistas courtesy of the sea and the sky leads me to living in a very dream like state. Still corpus mentus. But just less in the ‘harsh reality’ of life.
I’m now much less concerned with time, deadlines and what I’m wearing etc etc.
Two things have played a major part in the relaxed, peaceful feeling I now have. One is the aforementioned night watches; sitting out under stars has a magnificent effect on people. And number two is a lack of wifi or 4G or anything similar.
Now whilst it may be true that the devil makes work for idle hands, my hands are full and busy with crewing Sea Dragon.
My mind on the other hand is free. Free to decompress, free to wonder and at times, to get a bit lost.
I feel its worth relating a story here from my last transatlantic where after three days sailing and covering six hundred miles on a course away from land, I thought I could hear dogs barking.
Turns out it was two fuel tanks, lashed to the deck rubbing against each other and squeaking. Some how my mind would have me believe that it was dogs barking.
So it is worth keeping in mind that when subject to sensory deprivation (living in a dreamlike mid atlantic reality) the mind may like to play ticks on itself.
This presented me with the absolute bare bones of choice or to put it as a question, what would I chose to believe?
Being a fairly rational person, in this instance I chose to believe that there was no stealth boat devoted to the K9 squad sent to track me across the atlantic. That it was in fact just two fuel cans lashed on deck squeaking as they rubbed together.
But what was perhaps the bigger impact of this little segway into questionable mental stability was that I had chosen, when I had no other sensible option left, to trust my decisions. To trust myself.
Not bad for an activity holiday.
Now one thing I must tell you before I wrap this blog post up is that we have a stowaway aboard, we have been joined by an extra crew member.
More surprisingly our stowaway is an egret which is not a sea bird. Even more surprising is when you consider that we were at least five hundred miles from the nearest land when he arrived, and that’s only a small island.
So what’s out little egret doing all the way out here, so far from land?
Either way I noticed a striking similarity between me and our egret, we are both a long way from our own elements.
The egret and I both are passengers on the same boat, crossing the same ocean.
Seeing as I’m here I have decided to soak up the tropical sun and steer Sea Dragon to make the best use of the trade winds speeding us on our way.
So for me, the crew and our egret it’s full speed ahead to our final destination, Barbados