I'm not talking about the people on shore in our home port, waving us goodbye with promises of a safe journey and goodbye.
I've seen that before in movies, white handkerchiefs and moist eyes. Like the Titanic. What a disturbing comparison. Nor am I talking about the rocking of the boat as you slowly and methodically descend from your bunk for your night watch, until you find yourself bleary-eyed on the ground, one hand hoisting yourself into your pants, and one hand trying to prevent that you'll be thrown into the cage of the poor guy sleeping across from you. Such nocturnal visits are convivial. But I digress.
I'm talking about the big Atlantic swell as seen, felt and heard from the deck on a gray and windy day in March. Like a vast living and breathing landscape,
waves that rise, flow and disappear in shades of gray, blue, black and the elusive but attractive azure. Some waves will loom as they approach,
a five-meter-high gaping mouth that threatens to swallow you up, before gently sliding under the ship and transforming itself into a wide expanse of foam, your ears
filling with a slight hiss, like after opening a can of your favorite soft drink.
Some waves will dance with the waves of our own ship, creating splashes of white spray, some will break gently alongside the ship with a good-natured splash,
others do their damnedest to soak you in a brutal shower. Your reflexes are sharp in such weather, where a quick dip and a light layer of rain gear is your only line of defense. We all have salty eyebrows.
Other waves will take you to the sky, revealing before you an endless landscape of hills, valleys and mountains, an eternal commotion of gray, blue and white, in the rays of morning light and pouring rain taking on an otherworldly appearance. You won't get any closer to staring into infinity. The real treasure is the soft azure blue of a breaking comb, a brief hint at a soft beauty that disappears all too quickly. I could use many adjectives, but honestly it defies any attempt at capture. It's too wild I think. In a way, that's what pushed me to pick up the pen. Every photo taken would never do justice to the sea and we humans love a challenge.
When I return to land, I wonder if I will see ocean landscape paintings 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 gray and blue tones, the last dots of turquoise. I try to capture with a brush what I try to capture with a pen and fail. Adjectives are never enough, but if I could only choose one, the word would be raw.