The Five Senses
No Worries. Be Happy

The Five Senses

Most of these posts have been about the adventure, what is happening (or not happening) and how I feel about it. We are nearing the end of this passage, and I have a bit of time to help you sense what we are experiencing.

Sight.

On deck we have had stars and a sliver of moon at night. I've seen three falling stars on this trip. On most nights we can see the dark shapes of the nearby waves, and discern the white froth as they break. We wear a headlamp on watch, with the red bulb operating so that we retain our night vision, so the compass, cockpit, wind indicator, and our iPad and Kindle all have a red cast to them. This morning, we sailed in a silvery sea of crumpled wave-shaped mounds of aluminum foil. Each ripple of every wave sparkled with the sun on an otherwise gray morning. It looked as if some ingenious waiter had formed a sea sculpture for our left-over seafood dinner. Except for this morning's sun magic, the sea has been a nearly relentless slate gray, with frothy crests. To remind us of what waits for us in the islands, each time a wave breaks, the bubbles below the surface allow sunlight to penetrate, creating a Caribbean beach turquoise flicker in the wave, and a residual pool of turquoise water after the wave's passing. The color combination of gray, turquoise, and white reminded me of shift dresses and home decor of the 1960's---except I remember those fashions to offer the three colors in equal amounts. Here we have gray,with a smattering of white and a tiny smidgeon of turquoise. The boat, recipient of frequent sea water showers looks pristine, every item stowed on deck is tied and remains in place. We are seaworthy and look it.

Below deck, the galley is tidy, and the main salon has a mash of pillows, sheets, and other covers over the mattresses. The dinette area has been made into a nearly king-size bunk, with a canvas lee-cloth on the fourth side to keep us in place at night. The rest of the boat is a mess. Aft,there is a pile of wet, salty clothing in the shower; the mattress in the master stateroom is hosting the outboard motor for the dinghy and the grill---strapped to heavy eye-bolts permanently installed on either side of the bed; and because I attempted to take care of the wet laundry yesterday, two clothes lines are strung from port-light to port-light with still damp, though no longer salty, clothing hung to dry. The forward cabin and pilot berth area are packed with cushions from the main salon, ditch bag, things we don't really need, things we do need, and things we are taking the Jaime and Keith.

Smell.

On deck, I don't notice the smell of the sea, though every so often I get a whiff of my own odor and it's not pleasant.

Below deck. Welcome to Funky Town. I keep the galley clean, clean the head, and wipe up the sole, but the wet clothing, infrequently washed bodies, and inability to open ports or hatches creates a less than enticing aroma. I'm ashamed to say that I'm getting used to it, but much of my day-dreaming and planning while on watch involves exactly how we will clean this mess (and how quickly I will open the hatches) once we anchor. I made bread on my midnight watch, so EW awoke to the smell of fresh baked bread. He loves that. Alas, the aroma did not linger.

Taste.

The prevailing taste is salt. Waves constantly splash the boat, sometimes from the forward quarter, more often into the cockpit. I was afraid our water tanks were bad until I realized that my Tervis tumbler and straw were sprinkled with salt. This is a different passage that any other I've done, and making full meals is difficult. Our meals are basic: beans and franks; feta/beet salad with lettuce early in the trip, with cabbage near the end; quesadillas and salsa; tuna salad and cole slaw. Our primary sweets this trip are fruit juice packs and fruit cups, and the occasional chocolate kiss. EW enjoys a handful of hard candies when on watch. I am fortunate he is grateful for all I prepare.

Hearing.

Below, we hear the few things that clatter and rattle, the groaning of the auto-pilot, the movement of the propeller, and some sounds from on-deck.

On deck, we hear the wind---20-30 knots with gusts to 45 (just a few times) is loud. We hear the sea smacking, slamming, splashing, and rolling into the boat and the rush of water on the deck and in the cockpit that results. A few days ago, we took waves on the starboard quarter and those that were going to hit us had a rhythm similar to that of a bowler on a cricket team. I was the unprotected wicket, and I swear I could hear each bowling wave stutter step as it prepared to fling the ball of water onto my front or back. In addition to the wind and waves, there are boat sounds: the down-wind pole rattles against the mast, the out-haul clatters against the boom, and the flag is committing suicide on these downwind legs, beating itself against the man overboard pole, stern rail, and various antennas.

Touch.

At first I was disconcerted to feel rough grainy "dirt" on my ankles, than realized it was salt. When we come off watch, we are sweaty and sticky and we remove our on-deck clothing, then wet our personal "salt towel" with fresh water to wipe the salt from our extremities. For me, more than the salt are the unavoidable bumps,bruises, and scrapes that are inevitable when trying to move, cook, fix things, sit, or eat on a bouncing boat at sea. Yesterday, I told EW that if he wants to cruise in his next life, perhaps he should seek a more graceful partner. So far, in addition to simply running or falling into doorways, the wheel, counter-tops, and the mast, I have had three amazing tumbles. EW witnessed most of the first one from on deck, looking below to see me hurtle out of the galley, bounce off the back of the dinette, pirouette, and fall in a heap into a tiny section of open floor by the chart table. "Are you all right?" "I don't know!" I was fine, one bruised elbow and one deeply bruised thigh. Last evening, the boat lurched as I was holding a bowl of just mixed bread dough, while trying to get a clean dish cloth out of the cupboard. The one and a half gainer left me planted face-first into the sea bunk, with my legs projecting up over the lee cloth. The bread remained in the bowl. For some reason, that episode sprained my right foot -- but not badly. We hurt in strange places, and are careful when we kiss. (I'm even more careful when we kiss as EW has wisely decided not to go near his face with a sharp object in these conditions, so his kisses have bite.) We've learned to make sure to greet each other and share a kiss or two with each watch. We aren't room-mates; we are life partners, spouses, and lovers. It's important to remember that, and to touch.

As of 3:00 PM on June 20, we are located at 13 20.172 North and 78 25.300 West. Our heading is almost directly to our goal, and we have 222 miles to go.

Jaime and Keith, we will shower before we arrive so hugging us will not be hazardous to your health. We suggest you don't go down below, though.

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