16 November 2007

i love the nightlife, baby

Two nights ago…

Both genoas out, surfing at 16 knots on a following sea. In the galley, we hear water whooshing down the hull and dolphins chirruping. We go to the bow and there’s at least 10 of them, maybe more, zooming through the surf, streaming phosphorescence. Giggling as the water displaced by our bow tickles their backs. One jumps high out of a wave, the big show-off. You can almost touch their gleaming backs. All five of us are up on the bow, laughing, howling, riding the waves, egging them on. This is as cool as it gets.

The night before…

Midnight. Everyone’s in slumber-licious rock-a-bye. The swell rocks me in my seat at the helm. The sea gently swooshes against the hulls. Skip snores next to me in the wheelhouse bunk. No other boats around. Nothing on radar. I pray for beacons and ships with lights I can’t work out, something to focus on. Try not to think about chocolate. Creep to galley and make cup of tea. Return to wheelhouse. Finish tea, still hungry so return to galley for nuts. Back to wheelhouse. Still not thinking about chocolate. Get out planisphere which arrived with current issue of Australian Geographic. Strain neck looking at stars. Shine head torch on planisphere and succumb to temporary blindness and total loss of night vision. Abandon attempt at scientific appreciation of stars. Amuse self by spelling out different words using radiotelephony alphabet:


Lima, India, November, delta, tango.

Go to fridge and get chocolate out. Feel more awake now but still nothing happening. There's a game I've got going, it's pretty much the maritime equivalent of I-spy - the last resort when all possible forms of night watch entertainment (stars, chocolate, tea) have been exhausted. You play it by listing nautical terms which have transitioned to common useage. Here’s where I’m up to:

ship shape
all hands on deck
telltale sign
down the hatch / batten the hatches
keep watch
cut of your jib

set sail
three sheets to the wind
learn the ropes
at the helm
plot a course
dead reckoning
even keel
toe the line
scupper
lifeline
give leeway
give a wide berth


I'm sure there are more. And plenty of uneventful night watches...

4 comments:

Mum said...

Oh chockieholic!!
It's 35 degrees here, not cold enough to "Freeze the balls off a brass monkey." That's another one for your list. Ask the skip if he knows the maritime connection!
Dad says - In Nelson's day, a brass triangle was used to hold a pyramid of cannonballs. When the weather got very cold the brass triangle (brass monkey) contracted and made the cannonballs (balls) fall off!!
Another couple are "Hoist by his own petard" and no G&T's "Till the sun is over the yard-arm."
Tampon also has a naval useage - it was the plug put into the end of gun barrels to protect them from salt and corrosion and only removed just prior to going into action.
More useless pieces of info for your head...but handy for Trivia Nights!

the cook said...

Well, no more feeling sorry for the brass monkey! Thanks for the trivia... luckily, Pelican doesn't have yard-arms ;)

Estelle said...

Hi Sam, after 2 days of 37 degrees here, its raining (Victiria!), so Ive got a late start for work-gardening, and time to catch up on non-essential internet stuff such as checking out your blog. No offence but with dial up just getting to me emails is a 30 mins experience! But Ive loved reading your blog, its like youve writtern my diary for me! I reakon even more there is a market out there...You say on your profile you are a nerd! If it so, you did a good job on hiding it, but I guess you were at the computure alot and wear glasses sometimes. Anyhow here are my handy hints for getting through a watch. Say you begin at 01:00. Maintain a proper lookout. Sight, out of cabin, walk round deck, radar, out of deck again, allow yourself to sit still for 5 min break. Repeat every 10-15. Dont make your first beverage until 01:30. Guess when this is, only look at the clock to check. You may accidently make it till 01:45!!Repeat check of boat.By the time its made it could be 02:00 (but again dont check clock). Sip slowly.Set yourself a goal/treat of some food at say 02:45. With all that checking you could make it till 03:00. The last hour is the hardest, try and write a poem, play your games, think about waking the person up early, resist, constant checks, get fresh air. Go mad. 04:00 -Shifts over. Goldern rules: Dont look at clock more that 4 times in shift and stay cold, warm feeling makes tired. Ps. there is prob also a market to edit others blogs, comments for typo, spelling probs etc, before they hit the air. Lots of love Estelle, aka 'deckie'. Ps. Hows my beautiful 'first mate'?

the cook said...

Hey Stel!

Can't believe you persevered with the blog on dial-up... I'm flattered. Like your tips for night watch and will try to ignore the clock a bit more! Guessing the time also sounds like a fantastic time killer.

Yeah, I might chase down some editing work when the escape-hatch fund runs down!

We left Bermagui today after a dash to Bega to vote (finally sorted after a failed attempt in Sydney!) and it's getting cold. We'll reach Bittangabi Bay (spelling?) tonight and hide in there til the southerly blows itself out - probably for a couple of days - then make a run for The Paddock.

Your boy is happy as always but can't wait to get home. Ask him about the horses in Bermi (he's been raving all morning).

Be seeing you soon - early next week depending on the weather. Hope it's a bit cooler by then!

x