It’s day one, you’re kind of excited kind of nervous, but 100% ready to be out of the marina and away from the awkward situation you’ve got yourself into with the boys or girls on the boats next door (how were you to know they were all friends). Also, the bank account is looking a little sad, too much time (and money) spent on land making up for lost time with old friends.
The weather is perfect, and so begins the false hope of a glassy calm crossing. Things are going well, you’ve banged out a good portion of the worklist and you’re confident in your epic stowing job. This crossing will be a breeze. Endless hours to work out, catch some sun, maybe get back into reading and of course, the healthy eating detox to go with your come down from alcohol and cigarettes. Life could not be better. Your body is a temple.
First night watch
A quick nap and you’re ready for your first night watch (thank goodness you got a fun partner and not the crusty relief crew) you arrive early all smiles as your 4-hour shift begins. That’s when it starts.
The waves are picking up, the wind is reaching 30 knots and your dinner is hitting the back of your teeth. You try to get as horizontal as possible while still trying to maintain the appearance of being alert while you’re on watch. Your hourly round has gone out the window as you try desperately to convince yourself you’re through the worst of it.
Then as if by some miracle your watch ends and you sprint for your temporary accommodation in one of the guest cabins and the safety of bed. Sleep, however, is unobtainable as you listen to the slamming of the waves against the hull, the rattling of glasses around the boat and finally the crash of something that has come loose from its stowing, you are running towards the sound wondering how you are going to explain the damage before you can even register what it might be and the fact that you are on your feet without needing to throw up. You round the corner at the same time as the rest of the interior team bleary-eyed and relieved to find it was just a door slamming closed.
It’s all starting to feel a bit less fantastic
So you survived the night, but obviously, you’re exhausted, lack of sleep and all. So it’s perfectly fine to skip your day 2 work out to catch a nap, and so begins your spiral into the sleep, work, sleep, watch, sleep routine that will dictate the next 2 weeks of your life.
The monotony is more exhausting than the constant motion, but nothing quite as exhausting as the thoroughly mind-numbing conversation you have had for the 18th time with one of the relief crew, about how they are way too overqualified and that’s why he struggles to find a permanent job. Yes, that must be it, your constant sexist jokes, horrible crew mess etiquette and general lack of manners, hygiene and common courtesy have absolutely nothing to do with it.
But then you see some dolphins (or other equally amazing wildlife)
Then as if by some miracle the monotony is broken by the sweet sound of the radio crackling to life with the call of dolphins on the bow, or whales off the port quarter. You run to catch a glimpse and your soul sores. One of the most magical things you can experience at sea, you start to smile and the joy gets you giddy, you laugh with your crew and share your best pics and because your luck has changed the wind moves behind you and the sea starts to calm. Glass at last.
And dry land is finally in sight
With three days to go and your new found energy you start to work out at sunset and stop hibernating in your room, the 4th season of your favourite show will have to wait. You maintain this gusto until you reach shore where you kiss the ground and crack a beer. Explaining how it wasn’t so bad, you worked out most of the time and the conditions were perfect. All memory of the nightmare erased by the relief of making it across, relatively unscathed.
Cover image credit: KamptenMedia