Position; German Bight
This is a story from deckhand Victoria, a different view of the Northsea, a positive, uncomplicated, uninfluenced, young one. This is the future. We have the chance to give them a chance.
Red moon rising.
Hands. My mother used to say that change is noticed first and foremost on the hands. It is even more so when the change involves sailing. It starts with a constant burning, your body’s answer to the ropes you have been pulling. The creases get dirty, the kind of dirt that doesn’t wash off, a witness to your work outside. Your nails turn black, if you have any that is. I don’t. I tend to bite them. Then the burning stops. Your skin bubbles up and turn white. Then the bubbles disappear and your skin turns hard. You have small cuts and wounds and bruises everywhere, and you’re not entirely sure how you got them. Then the cuts turn to scars that light up you’re skin in pretty patterns. Another witness. Hands. I agree with my mother. It starts with the hands.
The good ship Tres Hombres is in the North Sea. I like it here, the waves are always around. no matter how little wind there is, you can always feel the ocean beneath you. Rocking, moving, up and down, from side to side. There is always something going on in the North Sea. and You can see everything here. There are no buildings or trees, no mountains nor any hills, no houses and no cities to obstruct the view. No neon lights at night, you can actually see the stars. All of them. When I look up at night I feel like the entire galaxy is open to me. Venus and Jupiter where almost perfectly aligned just a few days ago. We could see them all night, they where among the first lights to appear in the sky. And after them, came the red moon. Have you ever seen a real red moon my friend? I have had family describing it for me in the past, but when people have spoken of a red moon, I always thought to myself: “so are we talking orange, or just more yellow than usual”, but no. red moon. Red as in dark crimson, blood, wine, red. We saw it rising in the horizon, ’till the clouds, and we saw as it appeared in it’s zenith above the clouds. I was on night watch from 12-04 am. I stepped on deck just before it appeared. Tell me, friend, is there a better place to watch a red moon rising than a tall ship? No sound of an engine, just the wind and the waves, the silhouettes of the sails and ropes being the only obstruction met. It was beautiful. I never thought to see such a sight.
A few day later we hit a little bit of rough weather. Not very rough weather, just more wind and more waves than the days before. We had to douse and set the royal twice. I went up once to douse it. I had been in the galley a few minutes before I went aloft, and so I heard Captain Andreas say: “don’t think, don’t stop, just climb” and those where the words I kept repeating to myself as I climbed, don’t think, don’t stop, just climb. It made it easier I think. Repeating something to myself, focusing on something to repeat, having something to focus on. I am afraid of heights.
The first time I went aloft, I was shaking so much the entire mast was shaking along with me. I want to have respect for the heights, but I don’t want to be controlled by my fear, I don’t want to be ruled the way I have been in the past. And so I sail. And I push. Because you have to on board, you have to push yourself a little bit, everyday, always, In all matters, not just a fear of heights. Any fear. Any discomfort. The ship becomes your whole world, the people there, your family. Your home. Every evening when I go to bed, I feel a little bit different than when I woke up. And every day during watch, we oil, and sing, and sand, and play, we tell jokes, and riddles, and useless facts, we splice, and whip, and climb the rig, we play games at night to make the watch pass quicker, we talk, we sleep, we eat, and we sail. We play drums, accordion, and guitar, there is always music around on our Tres Hombres, in the middle of the ocean, there is always music around. We do rope rounds, we tack and we jibe And we brace around. Brace around mate, brace around.
Greetings from Victoria,
in the North Sea, on compass heading, straight north, heading home. With a speed over ground of 4,8 knots. 10th of july 2015 From the good ship Tres Hombres I hope you enjoyed my writing.