Listening to "Time and Tide" by Madison Violet
I thought I would feel better than this, but I'm still battling with sea sickness. The conditions as we left Lunenburg were lovely, but the moment we got around the protection of the harbour the rolling seas began and then got worse. Huge swells that seemed to swallow Paragon...far enough apart that they never crashed on deck but instead rolled us from side to side.
|Wishing I felt better|
20˚ to port. 25˚ to starboard. 10˚ to port. 20˚ to starboard. 15˚ to port. Up down up down.
And sloppy. While going from side to side, the stern is moving back and forth. It feels as though an entire sea of golden retriever puppies is coming at us. Floppy, unsure, and coming from every direction the waves playfully loll and pounce. There is no malice intended, but they still trip me up.
I'm keeping watch, but my first dinner didn't quite stay in place. Let's just say that it wasn't as delightful the second time around.
Things are not quite as dire as they have been though. At least I'm able to get up and keep watch. I'm eating lying down in my bunk (sitting at the dinette does not quite work), but when I get up to go to the head or grab some gear I am no longer hit with an instant and intense wave of nausea. My first offshore trip I was sick for eleven days. The second I was down for four. The last one was two and this time I've been up and about almost immediately. Perhaps there IS a light at the end of the tunnel.
It's interesting being out here with no contact. My phone has been put on hold, there is no wifi, we do not own a satellite phone, and the VHF is really for hailing or emergencies. I am occupied only with my thoughts and companions.
Already a prolific dreamer, I find I lose myself in elaborate daydreams. I remember books I have read, conversations I have had. The wind is light, which means that we are running the engine, and the diesel fumes turn my stomach every time they are blown into the cockpit. Don't think about it. It's all in your head. I snort because I know this is bullshit. There are few things I despise more than throwing up and I cannot believe my mind would abandon my body with such blatant treachery. Nonetheless I take deep breaths and try to think of anything but the rolling boat.
Ever the playful optimists, a pod of dolphins surrounded the boat today and made me forget any cares I may have had.
Whale! There was a humpback (or perhaps fin) whale that breached the surface and then dove with its tail smacking the water. Then, with its body underwater, the tail resurfaced and flipped up and down, smacking the waves while we watched in breathless excitement. I am in awe. It is ethereal, wonderous, breathtaking, and magical. I feel that if I ever reach a point where a seal or dolphin or whale ceases to bring a sense of wonder and elation to me then I am as good as dead. Gazing at this giant I am suddenly and fiercely protective...and thankful. Thankful that it has shared itself with us, if only for a moment.
|Photo courtesy of Eanna Ryan|
The funny thing is I had just finished my watch and Eanna was settling into the cockpit. My head had just touched the pillow when he shouted "WHALE! THERE'S A WHALE!". Drake and I both jumped out of the settee and were on deck so quickly that Eanna joked "In the future, if there is ever a fire aboard Paragon, I won't shout fire. I'll just scream that there's a whale and you guys will come running."
There is a steady wind from the southwest that is propelling us forward at a reasonably comfortable pace and motion, but I feel a bit ragged. I should be feeling better, but after a couple of days of vomiting my stomach feels like it's been roughed up with a cheese grater. Even though this time has been better than any other, getting sick so often takes a toll. When I'm moving around the boat on my way to or from a watch I still don't have that overwhelming sense of nausea and vertigo, but I've been sick enough times to build up a general sense of malaise.
I can't shake this metallically taste in the back of my mouth...if only I could start fresh from THIS point I think I would be much better. I've been popping antacid tablets with the hope that they will settle the fire in my belly. To pass the time I begin to make up ads for the antacid companies in my head.
•You thought you were still young enough to pile jalapeños on your food. You were wrong. TUMS!
•Settle the fire in your belly. TUMS!
•Today Ur Mucho Sick. TUMS!
Okay, that's as far as I got. You can clearly see that I have not, in fact, missed my calling for the advertising business...
Last night we were hit by rough seas for a few hours. It didn't last long, perhaps four or five hours, but it was violent enough to toss Paragon around and make sleeping almost impossible. Every thing was strapped securely down, but the shelf holding the tea, coffee, and sugar broke and the containers flew across the cabin and sent their contents crashing down.
At one point a huge wave crashed into the port side of Paragon with a resounding SMACK and flooded into the cockpit. The zippers on the enclosure were partially open which ended up being a good thing. The force of the wave was so powerful that Drake thought it might have ripped that panel off if it had been entirely closed.
My watch was to start at 2 a.m., right in the middle of the craziness, but I felt so sick that Drake took over and completed the watch for me. I lay wedged in my berth, eyes squeezed tightly shut, and tried to think of anything but my heaving stomach.
Morning arrives as though nothing has happened and there is a new excitement in the air. We are close enough to St. John's that we are checking our milage to make sure that we won't arrive at the entrance to the harbour in the dark. It is possibly the most beautiful day yet with calm seas and a mixture of sun and fog. There has been quite a bit of fog on this leg of the trip which is a first for me. At times it has been so thick that we can't see more than a boat length away and it almost feels as though we are not moving forward.
Radar is our friend at this point. I watch the radar and AIS and marvel that a massive tanker is slipping past just a couple of miles away, yet there is no indication other than the blip on the screen. How do you sail these waters without radar? We couldn't possibly avoid such a fast moving ship with this kind of visibility, and I cross my fingers that we will never have to try.
We're here because we're here because we're here!!! Yesterday was the first day I didn't sleep most of the time I was off of watch so I'm a bit tired, but land is near and we're almost there! Eanna was taking photographs and didn't want to stop, so he let me sleep an extra half an hour which was marvelous. I rolled out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to discover we only had a little over an hour to sail before making the final turn towards the harbour in St. John's.
It's been a lovely trip, but I think we are all ready to do some exploring on land. This is also the first port of call that is completely new for Drake. From here on out it is new territory for everyone!
|Water spouts from the whales|
We woke Drake up and everyone sat in the cockpit eagerly looking at the land that rose off of our port side. Just in case we weren't excited enough, three whales starting surfacing near the boat...spouting water in huge puffs before diving back down. Behind them another pod of dolphins popped up and I had to pinch myself to see if I was still dreaming. There was a part of me that almost wanted to sail Paragon in a lazy circle all day to watch the whales and dolphins playing in the water. Almost. But not quite.
|Our first glimpse of St. John's|
|The lighthouse at the entrance to the harbour|
We called the harbourmaster on the VHF, got information on where to dock, and slowly motored into the harbour and into our next adventure…