Saturday, January 18, 2020

I Shake My Fist

Jarring.  Incoherent.  Unpredictable.  Abusive.

The adjectives to describe the way this ship handles the sea are numerous, but none of them are flattering.

Right now we are pounding into the waves.  Technically, we are “quartering” them, meaning approaching them at about 45 degrees to effectively increase the period of the swells, thereby reducing the pounding on the ship… instead, we are pounding through them like a hammer with an added bit of a roll.

Each time we ram into a swell, shock-waves run back and forth the length of the ship.  It forces a sailor to walk with legs wide, taking short, uncertain steps, because while the shockwave interval is known, the next swell on the bow is not; it hits randomly.  It could be the next swell, or the next 5 in a row.  

The swells aren’t in time with the shockwaves running up and down the ship.  The roll is similarly unpredictable. The whole motion is simply damnable and wearying.

So we are forced to walk like fat, drunken penguins; every few minutes or so, one of these random swells punches the ship’s nose and we get thrown into the nearest protrusion, and because this is a steel ship, that means the protrusion is steel.  I am covered with bruises and sore spots.

I call it “the shaken baby” syndrome.  

One particularly bad strike picked up my mug and shattered it on the deck.  Nothing else on the ship was damaged. Only the obliteration of my mug marked the passing of a rogue that seemingly gave my coffee addiction the middle finger, and nothing more.

Other times we’ll roll and every immovable object makes a break for it and starts across the deck and the sound of falling brooms, sliding cases of water, toilet lids falling, and other bedeviled objects animated to do harm or mischeif fills the ship.

I lay in my bunk, unable to sleep, and shake my fist at the sea, but the sea doesn’t care- it just shakes me back.  

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