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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans


October 15, 2015

A Buttered Sole and Baby Sea Legs

Annelise Hill, C watch, Reed College

SPICE

Cleaning is hard at sea: Adrienne and Annelise scrub the deck in a storm.

Current position
17° 06.2’ S x 177° 50.9’ W

Course and Speed
180 degrees, 5.1kt

Sail Plan
En route to Suva, Fiji

Weather
Winds of a Beaufort Force 6, swells 8-10 ft, cloud cover at 100% with occasional rains

Souls on Board

Everyday tasks are a lot harder at sea. Normal tasks are turned into challenges that may leave you bruised and embarrassed. When walking through spaces without anything to hold onto, you must make a dash and hope a roll won’t come along and send you pancaking the nearest person into a wall. Sleeping in any position other than on your back involves bracing yourself against the side of your bunk so that rolls of the ship won’t toss you out of your dreams. To make it through a doorway you must brace your full weight against it like a lineman and time the roll of the ship with your hop through the doorway.  Showering leaves you cowering against a wall hoping your soap won’t go flying too far. Carrying a fresh cup of coffee is a nightmare that may leave you burned and cleaning the sole.  Looking into a microscope is nearly impossible as you bash your face into the eyepiece with every roll of the ship. 

Out of everything, the galley is definitely the hotspot of challenges.  If cooking for 35 wasn’t a challenge in itself, the additional rocking makes cooking nearly impossible. Luckily for us, we have an amazing steward, Bex, who handles everything with a potent mix of expertise and sarcasm. Every evening, the watch on duty takes over the galley for cleanup. Last night, this responsibility was left to my watch. Adrienne and I had just finished putting the leftovers in Tupperware and were working on the dishes when a large roll hit.  This sent all of the Tupperware flying to the floor. The containers cracked open and the shepherds pie and salad were regurgitated onto the galley floor in a fashion similar to the effects of seasickness.  As this clatter occurred, everyone in the salon turned to stare.  As all eyes were on us, Adrienne turned to assess the damage and lost her balance with another roll, sending her flying into me and the two of us stumbling for footing in the contents of our dinner. 

To make matters worse, the butter bowl hadn’t escaped the roll and was one of the items sent tumbling onto the floor. As Todd and Coleman removed the kitchen anti-slip mats one by one and took them to be cleaned, the effects of this tumble became apparent as we realized that our shoes were covered in butter. The already challenging task of staying upright became impossible. We were like Bambi stepping on ice for the first time. Our feet were incapable of staying in place and our baby sea legs quickly splayed out whenever we tried to move around the kitchen.  As all traction was lost, the simple tilt of the boat resulted in us sliding across the galley floor into objects and each other. Poor Kelvin entered the kitchen to this alarming sight and missed our warning to avoid the butter.  As his feet couldn’t find a gripping and his grasp on a table couldn’t hold him up, he was quickly sent into a cartoon style fall to his knees. 

What was most striking about this ridiculous series of events was the humor we found in this disaster.  Our already daunting galley cleanup was made ten times harder but we couldn’t stop laughing hysterically as we watched each other clumsily ice skate around the galley. Everything at sea has been like this. As a watch and as a class, we have a tendency to find the humor in every mishap.  With this outlook, what could have been the worst part of
your day quickly becomes the best part. 

Another example of something that is much harder at sea: contacting the people you love at home.  So, I’m ending this blog by wishing my best friend an incredibly happy and memorable 21st birthday in Spain!  I love you tons and we’ll celebrate in January. 

- Annelise

Previous entry: Message in a Bottle    Next entry: Another Day in the Pacific

Reactions

#1. Posted by Lisa Onstad on November 22, 2015

Hi Annelise!
What a night! In describing just one fateful clean-up disaster, you really transported me back to sailing life. I could almost feel the swell and roll of your ship as I read this. Your sense of humor and adventure is contagious and inspiring! Can’t wait to hear more about your trip when you’re back in Portland.
oxox Lisa
And remind me to tell you about sailing to Hawaii and a spilled can of honey!!


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