An Ode to My Toothbrush
April 17, 2023
Raechel Zeller, Co-Steward
: 5° 45.3’S x 141° 48.1’W
1115 nautical miles
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Hot and sunny! Winds and seas out of the Southeast, around a Beaufort 4 with 4ft swells. Sailing under the main, mainstays'l, forestays'l, jib, and tops'l
Description of location
South Central Pacific Ocean, ~250 nm Northeast of Nuku Hiva
Currently in the galley on Seamans, if you look closely at the bottom shelf of spices, you might see a curious little antenna poking up behind the crushed red pepper. Nestled in a cup with my toothpaste, my toothbrush waits for me each morning within easy reach. It started out innocently enough, just an easy place to set it down after brushing my teeth in the morning instead of taking it back to my bunk. It was quickly discovered by Matt, our first scientist, and Beanz, a mate in training, that night during galley cleanup. They teased me about it later that night while we played some card games before an early bed. I swore it was just a temporary resting place, but sure enough, it was still there the next time C watch rolled in for galley clean up three nights later, a fact Matt didn’t hesitate to point out. Since that first day, the toothbrush has left the spice rack only to get a charge.My toothbrush represents two of my favorite routines underway. In the morning when I’m awoken sometime before 0500 to get started on breakfast, I’ll head to the galley, pour myself some coffee, leave a note for the day’s student steward on where to find me, and head up on deck with my toothbrush and mug in hand. There I get to greet the dawn watch that have been standing since 0100, clean the sleep from my teeth, and enjoy a cup of coffee to the first lights of the sunrise. I love greeting each early day this way, and the mates on duty have come to expect me to stumble onto deck to brush my teeth each dawn watch, often even before they’ve sent a student to wake me. The second routine happens at night, around 1945 after I’ve washed the sweat of a day in the hot galley away with a cold-ish shower. I make myself a cup of chamomile tea, retrieve my toothbrush from the spice shelf with a quick check in on galley clean up, and head up to a dark deck with my kindle. As I climb out of the chart house, I announce my presence on deck just as much with my voice as I do with the buzz of my electric toothbrush and the red light that flashes to let me know I’m brushing too hard. This also usually generates some teasing. After brushing my teeth on deck for the last time that day, I will sit with my cup of tea and enjoy my book or the stars, and the sounds of the waves and a new watch getting started for the evening while I wait for my hair to dry in the cool air. Keeping my toothbrush in the galley might be a little eccentric, but I enjoy the way that my routines with it keep me tethered to the deck and the routine of watches in a small way, and I don’t think I’ll be moving it any time soon. Sending love to mom and dad and Dan and Lucas. Hope to see you all in Ashe this summer! Big hug to Halsey, love and miss you and will see you so soon. And as always, cheering the Pranksters on from afar and excited to do it in person soon <3
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Don’t forget to floss!