Day 1 – At Sea.
Dear Diary, it’s our first day at sea and although we have plenty of fresh drinking water I am taking the extra precaution of saving my urine in old film containers just in case. Safety first.
We are underway and spirits are high. There’s lots of high fiving and backslapping going on. We’re just short of bro hugging.
The Watch –
Ted and Kelly are getting ready to hit their bunks. I have the first watch, 8p.m. to midnight. It’s a little disconcerting since I don’t know jack squat about running this beast. Suddenly I have a thousand questions before they leave me. They tell me to look up occasionally and check for nearby boats. What happens when I spot one? Beats me. Is this some sort of game where whoever spots the most boats wins?
Let me describe the setting. It’s pitch black and I’m tethered to a hook in the cockpit. I’m also wearing a fancy lifejacket that’s a 20-year-old hand-me-down. I’m not even sure if I put it on correctly. Will the thing inflate and pop my head off? If you’re reading this I guess it didn’t. Will it even inflate? It doesn’t even look like a lifejacket. It looks more like a rolled up towel with a little pull tab dangling from the bottom.
Was that a whale? Chrissake! Don’t those things go to sleep at night?
The lazy slapping waves are calling me like the sirens of Capri. Their whispering sweet lies are beckoning me to untether and jump in for a swim; the cool embrace of a watery grave. “Come on, Old Friend. Just change course and head for the jagged rocks of Isla de Meurto des Gringos. All your troubles will be finito.”
Ha. Joke’s on you, bitches. I don’t know how to change course. Speaking of course, I was told to not deviate from what the waypoint the auto pilot was set on. It wasn’t quite that technical of course. “Just look out for boats and stuff.”
Now it’s 8:05p.m. I’m five minutes into my watch and am already convinced that this will be the longest four hours of my life. I’m looking out for boats like an eagle zeroing in on a vole. If my alertness could be bottled you could put the cocaine business out of business.
I see a flashing light ahead. I wake Ted up. “It’s a lighthouse. Goodnight.”
I notice on the GPS monitor that I’m on course to sail through the narrowest of passages with only inches on either side of me. I wake Ted up. “You have 5 miles on either side. Goodnight.”
A lot has happened already. I’ve dodged some pretty harrowing stuff. My watch must be coming to an end. It’s 8:06 p.m.
I settle in for the next three hours and 54 minutes. The moist salty air is whipping my face leaving chunks of, well, sea salt, on my cheeks. This I gather into a Ziplock I have for this very purpose. It will be a wonderful addition to my culinary spice rack at home.
As the watch comes to a close I feel prouder than a new father, or a guy who’s just been promoted, or a guy who’s just single-handedly saved the lives of three men. Then it hits me…I will have the midwatch tomorrow night, 12a.m. to 4a.m. Sumbich.