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Monday, October 24, 2011

What day is it? Where are we, anyway?


One day is blurring into another here…night follows day, sleep follows watch, sea follows sky. The weather has been favorable, so we just keep on moving south! We've simply been in transit, and not stopped anywhere, so the only common denominator each day has been crystal blue water and the rhythm of the waves! We've been cruising non-stop 24/7 except for our brief dinner and nap rest-stop a day or so ago...and now, I'm actually not sure how long ago it was! At the moment, it’s 1:32 am, and I’m on the early/wee hours watch tonight. Day follows night, night follows day, and the scenery doesn't change...! We switched up the watches to be fair, since Ron’s been doing this early watch the past few nights.

What makes the wee hours watch hard is that you try to nap/sleep before your watch, and it’s hard to fall sleep at 7 pm! If you don't sleep, you pay for it later and must fight fatigue at the helm about 5 or 6 am...no fun. I actually slept pretty well from 7 – 9 pm tonight, but then the seas picked up a bit causing the boat to hobby-horse into the waves just enough to toss me about in bed, disrupting my sleep for awhile. (I felt like a magician’s assistant: “See the girl levitate – look, no strings!”) Then suddenly my alarm was going off at 12:45am, so I knew I’d fallen back asleep, hard.

Night watches are a bit disorienting at first, like all shift work, but now I’m awake and at the helm as we pass by the city lights of Puerto Playa, Dominican Republic, 10 nm distant. Taking favorable seas as they came, we never stopped at Great Inagua, and are still underway. Coffee in hand, I gaze out the pilot house window into the inky darkness and can’t see a thing. Beyond the thin twinkling of lights on land to starboard, there is nothing. No moonlight glimmering on the waves, no stars; the only light outside is the faint reflection of the mast light on the forward bow rails. It’s a snug little cocoon inside the PH, warmed by the compass’ red light, and the dim glow of the radar and chart plotter. Equinox has settled into a steady rock and forward glide motion at 8 knots, and our journey continues comfortably. If not for the jolting of an occasional larger wave and spray off the bow, I could convince myself we aren’t moving at all. As time passes, I get a second wind, and am awestruck by the magnificent sunrise in front of me: sea meets sky, with sunlight peeking a shy good morning... how amazing that we are out there to see it! 

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