It's been over ten days now. Almost two weeks since we arrived in La Rochelle. The skin on my palm is peeling, my hair and dirty clothes have been washed, and my bruises have faded.
But I just can't believe it. I try to tell myself “Come on, it was only nine days this time, maybe you're exaggerating a bit”. But I miss it. I miss them. I keep wondering where the boat is, I look at the map and wonder if the new trainees are getting along well with the rest of the crew and if they like life at sea. What kind of food is the chef making? How's the weather? Will the repair I made to the base of my cage hold? How many sails do they set? Can they stargaze during the dreadful night watch from midnight to four?
Yes, I'm back home in my little French countryside. To my normal country life. Spring is in full swing, every field is high and green and the wind is making beautiful waves on the surface. Ha! Sailing terms stick in my head and determine everything. It became my home so quickly. What makes a place feel like home? Life on board can't really be described as comfortable, you know? Then how come we miss it? Sea ecstasy. I've heard that once you taste it, it will never leave you. Well, I think these people were right: I feel kidnapped by the sea. Still high above the waves. I discovered this tattoo of a sailor: “Hold Fast” Full of meaning, but they are the right words: the sea holds me.
I arrived back on land tired, sore and tanned. I came back happy, hungry for more. Nine days weren't enough, after I made the longest trip between La Rochelle and Copenhagen last year. But when I see how difficult it is for me to get back to land, I wonder how the crew feels after an entire leg, an entire crossing. That's probably why they never stay long without a cover under their feet. Once life on board is your “normal”, you don't want to stay on solid ground for too long. Being back on land and in my normal life means something good: sailing was a possibility and now I know it can be done. How long before I start sailing again?