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Getting Underway

Getting Underway

The red and white striped Sea Buoy marks the end of the channel and the beginning of the adventure. As the buoy passes down the starboard side, the seaport behind grows ever smaller, shrinking into the horizon as Mother Ocean surrounds us. The watch routine settles in as the seas get longer and taller, and the cell phone and TV signals fade. That first day is spent stowing the lines and securing anything that isn’t bolted down, lest it come flying at us later.

Dinner marks the beginning of the countdown to frozen food. Soon the fresh greens and soft fruits will be gone, gradually giving way to hard root vegetables and eventually leaving only canned and frozen fruits and veggies. The seas will rock us to sleep that night or catapult us from our beds, depending on the weather.

That first morning at sea, when you step out on deck into the perpetual headwind and stop to breathe it in and learn its story, is as comforting as a visit to grandmas. Underway routine: hard work beneath god’s great heavens, and surrounded in every direction by Neptune’s blessed ocean. All your worries and troubles behind you, unknown adventures before you and honest hard work under blue skies in between. The salt air is so fresh, it’s easy to believe you are the first to breathe it in.

Our thoughts are confined to the day’s work, and the voyage ahead, carefully planned. The next stop, the stop after that, and the entire run. The next port: what Cargo will move, what services will we receive, what entertainment is for the taking, what exotic food will grace the table? How will the climate vary along our route? Will we be braving ice and bone-chilling temperatures one week, and blistering desert heat the next?

Forging ahead to the new and exciting, leaving your cares behind, taking only your stories with you. One of those ports will mark the end of the journey, as you drag your seabag down the gangway and sojourn your way home, leaving the ship behind until the next time. Home is a welcome diversion until the land starts to burn your feet and the sirens song gets louder and louder calling you back to the edge of the water and up the next gangway.

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