Before Breakfast - Dawn Watch wonderings
27 October 2010 | Underway from Port Vila to Bundaberg
Waves are words with unknown meanings, have their own punctuation,and are always new, as they would be for an amnesiac. We sail towards a horizon we seem to be incapable of reaching; our course and speed vary, yet remain the same. I remember how it felt yesterday, but not what happened...
The mind is partially disabled, allowing it to cope with an immensity. Oliver Sachs, perhaps, would have case histories like mine, references to writings on the subject and medical terms: "dis-immensitized" or "survival-oriented amnesia" might be sprinkled through his otherwise day-to-day language. A simpler way to explain it might be this: it is the brain's attempt to reconcile being so far from the normal lifelines with a comfortable (well, almost comfortable) domesticity. Or, put whimsically, 'A quarter inch of hull separates me from a thousand fathoms of drowning-type water - but - may I have a little more of that lovely cheese on toast?"
Tasks help. Like getting up. Or setting a new sail because the wind has shifted, or the course changed. Having to pee. Radio check-ins, washing up, writing a line in the log. And order: watches always the same - 8 to 12, 12 to 4, 4 to 8, same every day. Crises help: after 8 hours of flawless operation on the first night, the engine overheated. In fixing it, I looked for signs of a leak from the many hoses and sure enough there it was, a dried, rusty spatter - and tightening THAT hose clamp (with a spanner not just a screwdriver!) and refilling with fresh water was enough; our dear engine ran well, even cooler than before.
Sometimes we sit in the cockpit and converse: Quent has many stories, even one of his ship being boarded by pirates, and we swap "there I was ..." stories from our patchwork pasts, other times one might find a nook and read a book, cook a meal or write a blog - the boat is big enough to allow this sort of variety. To be apart, if that's what you want. Or to sip a Bailey's and ice, all together in the saloon before dinner.
Stalks of bananas swing in the cockpit, and a large net of pawpaw, limes, grapefruit pendulums along with bars of light in the main cabin. The sea is more regular this morning - mama rocks the cradle, Mmmm...
But sometimes I wonder: do I really believe I am doing this?