Dawn Watch. Twenty-ish minutes before 1 AM, some kind-voiced shipmate comes down to my bunk and gently whispers “Good Morning Colleen. This is your wake-up. It’s nice outside. Are you awake?” And I respond with a mumbly faint yes and a “is there coffee?”
Sailing under the main; another moment of appreciating time and space.
I turn the light on over my head, shake the dreams from my mind, find my shoes, struggle into my harness and wander up to deck. I’ll remember the coffee later during my watch when I finally wake up.
I spent the morning in lab with Sofia. Processing the pristine catch from a Neuston tow. There was SO. MUCH. Sargassum. SARGASSUM. I dream of clouds of sargassum. Sifting and sorting through rivers of it. It felt like hours to process it all. But when I finally woke up, I realized something. I stepped outside and looked. The sea was calm, almost flat. We were hove to and resting quietly, just for a brief interlude on this long odyssey. Stars filled the sky. In the distance a dark cloud threatened rain. There was a cool breeze. All so still. Restful.
I was reminded of another moment from a few days ago that was totally opposite. Again I was standing on the deck, this time at the helm, with Fern, my watch leader, and Bird, a fellow deckhand on my watch. The wind was blowing, the ocean was tossing the boat around, and we were waiting for the right moment to gybe the boat. We stood like statues until the motion of the boat compelled us to bend. We watched and waited while the ship creaked and bucked beneath our feet. Water splashed onto the deck. Rain dripped down our jackets. Wind blew at our backs. Chaos. But we were waiting for just the right moment to come alive, to turn the wheel, to pull lines, to pass sails.
Both were moments of stillness, of waiting for the next thing to happen, so alike, yet under such different focus. That is what sailing is like. You learn to stand quietly in the spaces in between motion.
Colleen Mason, Deckhand, C Watch.
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