...AND I PRAYED
13 September 2010 | Rounding the southern tip of New Caledonia...Australia next!
"9/12 9AM Becalmed all night..." "9/12 1130 PM Very rough seas, high wind" "9/13 1 AM Totally becalmed" "9/13 2 AM Furious wind and seas again, 25-30 knots from the south." "9/13 12 PM - Almost becalmed"
These five entries into the ship's log show the extremes of weather on the high seas that one can experience in a 48 hour period and how fast we bounce from one to the other. Strangely enough, whether its ferocious winds and seas or, no winds and seas, the two extremes produce a similar, sometimes unconscious instinctive reaction of caution/fear/terror and all emanating from the same basic question: 'Will I survive?.
Last night, as I lay awake in my berth, Shearwater barreled through the black seas at 12- 15 knots buffeted by those 30 knot winds/waves. I listened to the cracks and creaks of Shearwater's joints, the crashes of the waves against her belly and the zings of rigging gone momentarily loose then yanking tight. How close, I marveled, we were to that thin line separating dash from disaster! Suffice a big log or worse a just-below-the-water shipping container, it wouldn't take much to crush Shearwater's thin delicate hulls.
..and I prayed for calm
And then, I remembered back barely a few hours to my unease in the 'becalmed' conditions. Different questions but all aimed at the same survival query. How long will it last? Should I turn the engines on? If so, will I have enough diesel to reach land? And what if it ran out near land ...close to it's eager hard clutches? And what of those hungry, gigantic, monsters ships that eat errant little boats like mine without even knowing it?
..and I prayed for wind.
And then I smiled ..could this all just be part of that same ever-present human foible, that, whether one is on land or sea, up or down, east or west .one prays for what one doesn't have?