All Is Well

January 19, 2017

I’m tucked into the corner of the settee, wedged in with seven pillows so I don’t move and I don’t have to support my own body. The bucket is next to me but I’ve taken my seasick pill and I hope to sleep instead of vomit. The dorade vent that goes under water only drains on the outboard side of the box, so instead, when it fills, water pours on my right shoulder. Some of it makes it into the bucket so I feel pretty clever, but I still don’t want to move much so the pillows and the settee and my down vest get wetter and wetter.

I get up because a wave has broken over the galley hatch. This is the day that the sea hood we never built was meant for. The leading edge is filled with absorbent cloths, but this wave sneaks up under the side rails and pours over the galley counter, into all of the dishes, and onto the floor. I find more towels and wipe up the wet as much as possible.

The forward hatch has dripped enough to soak my side of the bed. I won’t be sleeping there for a couple nights so I put a couple towels in the water’s path. My latest embroidery project is wet. I toss it aside too and later remember that the needle and the hoop screw will likely be rusty when I go back to it.

I drift to sleep but a loud crash wakes me. The galley cabinet has sprung open and there are projectiles. A new bottle of grenadine (the delicious sugary syrup from Madagascar without a long list of artificial ingredients) sriracha, and a gluten free soy sauce have jumped over their bungee cords and crashed to the floor and exploded. I use some salty wet towels to soak up the mess and tape the door shut. Tucker later finds a thousand ants in a place I’ve missed.

Lunch was a single package of crackers shared between all of us. I’ve been staring at the bottom of the stove all day, as our heel angle is rather steep. I watch for a while and declare that I can’t make dinner. I’ve pre soaked beans and pre diced onions, and I was planning my simplest beans in rice in one pot, yet I don’t think I can keep the pot on the stove nor my body from flying across the cabin. I dig out a secret jar of smooth sugary Yum Yum peanut butter and four spoons and declare dinner served. Miles cheers.

I brace myself and brush my teeth and go to bed. Tucker has taken all the watches today. I didn’t have the energy to tell him I’m happy to take all of the noontime Equatorial watches in a couple months in trade.

When I wake up for my night watch the wind has shifted as predicted, the wind and the waves are behind us, and it’s comfortable again. I’m wearing wool socks, pants, a t shirt, and two wool shirts already. I layer on Tucker’s down vest, my down vest, my insulated shell, a wool hat, warm boots, my foulie pants, my foulie jacket, a head lamp, and my PFD. I can barely move my arms enough to clip into my tether and reach my arms above me to the grab bar on the dodger.

 It’s cold and crisp. The moon, though waning, is lighting up the sky. We’re sailing west again now and the Southern Hemisphere stars are familiar. The southern cross is low on my portside and Orion is on my starboard. Is it because of our latitude, or because it is summer now, but isn’t Orion usually a little behind us, above the starboard side stern pulpit? I double check that we’re on course. I don’t think the stars have ever appeared brighter. My empty stomach is settled, I drink rooibos tea to keep my hands warm, I grab my iPad for some silent midnight magazine reading. All is well.

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