Friday, April 22, 2011

Lethargy at Sea

You know that previous post about the first day out on the passage? Well, I started that post on the first or second day of the trip but didn't finish it until about two weeks later and this, the next post, I just now started and we're probably less than 24 hours from the end of the passage to the Marquesas. This was not the plan. The plan was to write a post every couple of days so that, when we arrived at an internet connection, I could post an exhaustive account of the passage. Other facets of the plan included things like learning french and reading a bunch of scientific journal papers and other productive uses of all the spare time we'd have. Well, very little of that productive stuff happened, least of all the blog post preparation.

What happened? Well, I can't really claim that there was a lack of free time. There were sporadic gobs of free time but most of it was a weird sort of low quality free time that I hadn't expected. When the winds were light, we were busy constantly messing with the sails try and keep the boat moving and prevent the sails from flapping around uselessly and jerking the rigging around. When it was blowing really hard, we were busy worrying, adjusting stuff, and generally just being scared. On the many occasions when things were broken, we were busy fixing them and cursing loudly. On the fairly rare occasions when the seas were calm and the wind was just right, we wanted to relax and enjoy the moment rather than type on the computer. Ruling out these circumstances, there was still a pretty significant amount of time to waste but it turns out that most of this remaining free time was crappy low-quality free time. We spent a pretty large percentage of our passage in really lumpy confused seas while trying to sail nearly dead downwind. This creates a pretty unpleasant and unpredictable motion on the boat. Sitting in one place isn't too bad but the normal daily tasks you don't usually even think about become quite a chore. Doing dishes, getting dressed, taking a leak, eating... all those things become such a nuisance as the boat does it's best to bounce you off the walls and ceiling that you use up all your energy just existing. Combine this with the mild sleep deprivation inherent in having a two person crew and you end up in a sort of sea torpor.

Once one enters this state and becomes a sea-sloth, the list of acceptable pastimes shortens significantly and the thought of doing anything productive becomes anathema. Acceptable sea-sloth pastimes include staring at the walls, thinking about productive things that you should be doing, wondering what important piece of equipment is going to break next, and making half-hearted threats and obscene gestures at dolphins and sea-birds. "You keep ridin' my bow wave Flipper and you're liable to end up with a boat hook in your blow hole." "I didn't epoxy and paint those spreaders so that some stupid booby could stand on 'em and crap all over my deck. You and your blue feet can get the !#@& out of here." Sure that was kind of fun for a while but the number one pastime of the sea-sloth ended up being reading. You could wedge yourself into a corner with a book or, more often, a Kindle and give your brain a rest from the current circumstances. I've read at least 13 books on the Kindle since we left Mexico but I've kind of lost track at this point. So, yeah, instead of writing blog entries I've been reading novels.

It doesn't seem like typing up a blog entry should be such a chore but there's something about typing and staring at a computer screen while rolling around in a boat that is particularly unpleasant. As much as I'm sure I'll someday regret not having written more, I don't foresee any major improvements in my blogger work ethic on the horizon. I think that part of what happens is that I get behind a few days and end up feeling like I have to write about everything that's happened since my last post. I get overwhelmed by the thought of all that writing and just give up altogether on the idea of comprehensive blow-by-blow coverage (If you've been reading this blog since we left California, you probably had no idea that kind of coverage was even a goal). I was thinking of making another post right after this one but I think I'm going to go read more of the Elmore Leonard novel I started yesterday.

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