The sun is out, the sky is blue, there’s wind in our sails, and we are speeding along toward Nuku Hiva this afternoon. It’s been a busy afternoon for A Watch - we crushed galley cleanup and the greasy griddle yet again during today’s field day, learned a new song on some new instruments during morale hour on the quarterdeck, and ate way too much mac n cheese at lunch. Even though I’m excited for our upcoming port stops, I’ve been thinking a lot about how this silly, spirited, funky bubble that we’ve built for ourselves will eventually dissipate. In just a few days, we’ll smell the earth and see the clouds above the Marquesas on the horizon, and the shenanigans of life at sea will wind down as we all begin to think about the future past the next boat check, the next meal, the next watch.
But we still have a few more days out on the ocean, both before and after the Marquesas, so here’s a list of the things I’m going to appreciate extra for the next few days:
- Dawn watch wake-ups: there’s no confusion like the one I experience during the first minute after I get woken up at 0030 for watch. It’s a fun little game to get ready for watch silently in the dark.
- Midrats (aka midnight rations): I have never gotten more excited over midnight snacks than during the past few weeks, and eating them has never felt more deserved.
- Galley clean up: this might be the very definition of Type 2 fun, but nothing gets A Watch more hyped than compacting the trash and bleaching the meat sink.
- Writing the next watch’s to-do list in lab, assigning them silly alliterative names and fun, unnecessary tasks.
- The stars on night watch: I’m always amazed by how impressive the night sky is out on the ocean, and as I’ve read about the Polynesian navigators who traveled among the islands we’re about to visit, celestial navigation and history has only become more intriguing. I’m still lost as far as all the calculations needed to make navigating by the stars possible, but I’ve spent plenty of hours on lookout thinking about it.
- Analog Wordle: I haven’t been a big wordle player in the past, but our tiny whiteboard Wordle in the salon has converted me. The whole ship’s company plays, and it has become a social activity instead of the solitary game it is on shore.
- Sunrise appreciation time: the first order of business on morning watch after turnover is to stand on the quarterdeck and look out over the end of the ship to watch the sun come up. In this time zone, that happens after the first seating of breakfast, meaning that the non-watchstanders also get to see, and it’s a nice moment of collective contemplation.
It’s the little things that make life out here interesting. I miss ice cream, and sitting on a couch, and being alone, and dogs. But this time on the ocean, as always, is clarifying: it brings into sharper focus the things that are important, and forces away the distractions of life onshore. I’m grateful for my time with these shipmates, and I can’t wait to see what the next weeks bring.
Izzy Lardner, A Watch, Deckhand