Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Logbook: Course 032

Course0322For the past ten days -- true to the captain's word -- we have been steaming northerly on course 032. At an average speed of 10 knots, the latitudes have slowly gotten smaller and the temperature has progressively gotten warmer. The weather has been mostly clear to partly cloudy, with light winds and fair seas. My daily routine has been as follows: Wake up, get coffee and head up to the bridge. Offer silent nods and coffee cup toasts to salute the officers of the watch, then look at the plot and check the navigational array. Enjoy the quiet, professional milieu of the bridge for a while to look out over an endless sea under an endless sky. Have breakfast then return to my cabin for some iLife, reading, chores, etc. Have lunch then walk around, gets some sun and visit the bridge. Attend an afternoon lecture, pour myself a dram and enjoy it out on deck watching the sea slip by. Have dinner, watch a film with the crew then read and go to bed. Yup, that's pretty much been my routine.

I have, of course, done other things along the way: Taken a lengthy tour of the ship's engine room and mechanical systems with the Chief Engineer, hung out with crazy Aussie Chef Paul and his galley crew, tracked down the hard working room stewardesses most afternoons to give them chocolates, asked the captain and deck crew a million questions, "helped" the ABs with their painting and maintenance chores, etc. All the kinds of stuff you'd expect me to do. There has also been a lot of fun along the way, like a barbecue and Karaoke night with the crew, making funny “bing-bong” (ship-wide PA) announcements to each other and watching Paul go for a swim when the ship made a brief stop for engine change-over then race to catch up with the rope ladder as the captain steamed off without notice. Lots of fun.

I’ve also relished new friendships with my expedition mates: Gary, a wise and gifted teacher who has taught me a lot; Joyce, a warm and charming woman with a very lively wit; John, a “bird guy” who sets the bar for what it means to be an expert; and Betty, whose enthusiasm, spirit and sense of humor make her the kind of person whom you would happily travel to the ends of the earth with (or for!) I have also been privileged to sail with Captain Adam, whose skill and experience are surpassed only by his warmth, compassion and goodwill. Such has been my life -- and my community -- on course 032, and I have loved it. There's something about long, uninterrupted sea voyages that suits me.

For that matter, there's something about long, uninterrupted, unstructured time that suits me. Now, almost eight months into The Voyage I can see a pattern: Alternating "high activity" periods of exploring, moving, etc., and "low activity" periods of catching up with myself. I can't say I know what the right balance is yet, but I know there is one and that it is good for me. So, with the "low activity" period of course 032 behind me, I will arrive in Recife tomorrow morning where I will have part of the day to try to make a full, clean update to this website, check in with my peeps and catch up on my digital life. Then, I will go right back to sea for a "high activity" month crossing the Atlantic and making an amphibious assault on the European Continent. I'm ready. I hope you are, too!

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