Sweden Sailing - Day 8
All of us wear PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices) that inflate upon contact with water, and are tethered to the boat via two 3-5 foot elastic lines. Carabiners are attached at the end of these two lines so we can unclip from one anchor point on the boat and clip into another, without ever losing a connection to our vessel. I pictured slipping off the deck and being dragged through the black water by my elastic tether. “Ready to go?” Andy shouted? ’Do we have to,' I thought. “Ready!” I answered, uncertainly.
That was last night. It’s now 13:05, the following day (Friday). I’m snuggled up in my down sleeping bag, attempting to gain body heat from my last watch that began at 8am and was over at noon. As you might imagine, attempting sleep on a 60-foot boat enduring the conditions mentioned is aspirational at best. Despite having the best birth on the boat, the lee (down) side of the couch where the heel of the boat suctions me into the back cushion, I couldn’t fall asleep. Gregory Allen Isokov, delivered through noise cancelling headphones helped block out the shouting, banging and whistling rigging above, but could do nothing to slow the pitching and yawing of the boat. So, I didn’t get much sleep during my first 8 hours off watch, but will try again now.
It’s now 20:30 (8:30) on Friday night. Sorry for the break in the action but sleeping has been my only remedy to kick those last nagging remnants of sea sickness. I’ve kept all my meals down, but all day as we bucked the Baltic, the warm cabin below came with the burden of close your eyes and lay horizontal, or visit the nearest head.
So, how am I feeling? I asked for danger and got it. I didn’t ask for nausea, though one can’t cherry pick everything, and got it. I wanted adventure - who the hell has ever sailed the Baltic Sea, or more generally, could point it out on the globe? Got it. Meet random dudes with interesting back stories - check.
Tonight, as my little Costa Rican helm mate and I steered the boat at a comfortable 8 knots, under a light (12 knot wind), on flat inter coastal seas as the sun set over the horizon, I was reminded why I love to sail. Of course the bragging rights of a much-inflated survival story back home are worthwhile, but I’d have to be more shallow than you might already think to do this purely for others. Your opinion of me is none of my business. I can sit here now and smile at having survived one leg of an adventure, unscathed, with a fun story to tell, and an experience I can recall for a lifetime. And, my grandkids will dig how cool I was back when we drove our own cars.
In an hour we pull into dock, downtown Kalmar, Sweden, which I’m told has it’s own castle. It’s Friday night, and I’m on vacation, so the castle will have to wait - I’m going to find rum.
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