Can we come out to play?

12-May 2012, 15:30
Leg 2 to Marquesas, Day 10

Ten days even, and an odd one at that. It’s a gorgeous sunny day, and yet as I sit here in the cockpit I’m marveling at how we just supposedly cleared a 600-mile area of “irregular weather patterns”, but only now has it gotten truly crazy! I only hope the subsequent order to stay inside until further notice isn’t regular too.

Whereas for the last 2800 miles we’ve had free reign of the boat and all its spaces, facilities, and activities, now the waves and wind are such that the boat rocks side to side with ferocious velocity (to borrow a phrase from my new favorite song Stockholm Sydrome by The Catskills, so fitting in this moment!) We’re King Neptune’s rag-dolls, no doubt providing him a fantastic bloopers reel as if being flung into walls suddenly and forcibly wasn’t the act of a specter!

[ pic: bruises ]

Our cautious captain will have no men overboard under his command, hence our house arrest. Can you imagine how the space was limited to begin with, and now that it’s halved without the deck above what that might do!

What, who’s there? Was it that old devil Cabin fever whispering in my ear?

Tired bodies without a place to exercise, fish-hungry men who cannot cast out their lines (not me), bum-tanners forced to gaze upon the gorgeous, equatorial sun-shiny afternoon upright? If I wasn’t on watch (only eight hours a day) I’d be slumbering more, pathetic woeful man that I am, my butt regressing into pasty white oblivion either way!

Of course with this weather comes a positive change: the waves. Now the swells are massive, much greater than previously – about 15 feet, which is what I came out here to see! The feeling of riding these huge swells is exhilarating. Approaching fast and with crests above our heads, the wave quickly scoops us up, pushing us high in the sky as the horizon drops suddenly, and down we sink on the other end, usually minus a few heartbeats (are they all necessary?) as on an amusement park ride. Sometimes we surge forward at an overground speed of 10 knots, sometimes we tip nearly on our side, and sometimes we spin around as if in a gyroscope, always miraculously keeping up up and down down, time and time again.

Someday soon we should expect forty foot waves at 200 feet apart, which would be lovely, more gentle in theory, and even more thrilling to contemplate. With nothing constant except changing weather out here I can only cross my fingers for more excitement and horizon-shifting to come.

(Update: Thank goodness, we only had to endure one day of cabin fever. It never felt so good to reclaim the deck & get back to normal!)

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