April 5, 2023
- Logbook
Tres Hombres

Nothing truly prepared me for the waves.
 (Sylvester Langvard)

I am not talking about the people ashore in our home port, waving us off with promises of a safe journey and goodbye.

I am not talking about the people ashore in our port of origin, waving us goodbye with promises of a safe journey and see-you-soons. I've seen that before in movies, white handkercheifs and misty eyes. Like Titanic. What an unsettling comparison. I am also not talking about the rolling of the boat as you descent slowly and methodically out of your bunk for your night watch, until you stand hazy eyed on the floor, one hand grappling yourself into your pants, one hand steadying yourself trying not to get flung into the bunk of the poor fellow who sleeps opposite you. Such nightly visits are jovial.
But I sidetrack.

I am talking about the grand Atlantic swell as seen, felt and heard from the deck on a grey and windy day in March. Like an enormous living and breathing landscape, waves rising, flowing and dissipating into colors of grey, blue, black and the elusive but attractive azure.

Some waves will loom over you as they approach, a five meter tall gaping mouth threatening to swallow you whole, only to gently glide below the ship and transform itself into a wide plain of foam, filling your ears with a light fizzle, as if you leaned in close after opening a can of your favorite fuzzy drink.

Some waves will dance with the waves made of our own ship, forming splushes and sploshes of white spray, some gently breaking off next to the ship with a benign splash, others doing their very damned best to soak you in a relentless shower. Your reflexes are honed in such weather, where a quick duck and a thin layer of rainwear is your only line of defence. We all wear salty eyebrows.

Other waves will carry you to the sky, revealing an endless landscape of hills, valleys and mountains before you, an eternal turmoil of grey, blue and white, in the rays of morning light and pouring rain taking on an otherworldly appearance. As close to staring into the infinite as you'll ever get.

The real treasure is the soft azure of a breaking crest, a brief hint of a gentle beauty that only disappears too fast.

I could throw around a lot of adjectives, but truthfully it defies any attempt at capture. It's too wild I guess. In a way that is what drove me to pick up the pen. Any photo taken would never do the sea justice and we humans love a challenge.

When I return to land, I wonder if I'll look at landscape paintings of the ocean in a new light. I imagine the painters with a brush in their hand, trying to tame the ocean into a painting with their palette of greys and blues, the final finishing daps of turquoise. Trying to capture with a brush what I am trying, and failing, to capture with a pen. Adjectives are never enough, but if I could pick just one, the word would be raw.


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