Me I hope – generally, after all isn’t that what it is all about?
It was a tough few days I can tell you. Some times during my more thoughtful moments, a sickly feeling appeared in the pit of my stomach. Yes, I know, something of a cliché but it was true. Right up to my midday deadline and even 3 hours past it, I still didn’t know which way to turn.
I wrote two acceptance emails in the hope it would push me in a certain direction but it didn’t. Careful not to send one of them by accident, I saved them as drafts – after all, I would be needing at least one of them right ?
My self imposed midday deadline approached and a song came over my speakers that would give me the all needed surge into one direction. A stunningly beautiful song, performed by a rather class act. The lyrics also seemed to fit so well.
The song reminded me of those rare moments you get at sea. You landies just wont understand but I will try to explain.
Most of the time I am sailing in shit weather. Its wet, cold, dark, big waves trying to wash me off the boat every ten seconds or so. The boat is rolling from side to side at such angles that washing machines no longer work, taking a shower becomes impossible, taking a dump without covering yourself in it becomes the second biggest challenge of the day – second only to trying to stay alive. If you’re trying to sleep and the boat is cresting sizeable waves, you lift off your mattress, just like when you drive over a hump back bridge a little faster than you should. Conditions are so rough you either sleep in your clothes or spend 20 minutes trying to dress yourself in the most basic of gear.
And you get that for two weeks at a time if you are unlucky. Two weeks of relentless pounding, walking the boat holding on to anything you can find, like a drunk trying to get along the bar to his taxi at the end of the night. It can be a constant fight for survival.
Until you have those moments of clarity. Sure, they don’t come very often. Alone on the deck, helming at sunset and a random song comes on. Purely by coincidence, it is the perfect sunset tune. It happens maybe once a year. It’s that moment of clarity that makes it all worth while. Perfect timing with the sunset and that random song make for four minutes of absolute bliss. Now I don’t mean absolute bliss as those twats that claim to be ‘living the dream’ might proclaim – let’s be honest, they are the same twats that post photos of burgers on their Facebook feeds and claim the same. This bliss is beyond a level they could comprehend. The battle is not yet won, just survived – there is another battle not far around the corner. Always know where your life jacket and rescue beacon are.
The song ends in perfect harmony with the sun disappearing over the horizon, your mind clears and you focus on night time duties. Keep everyone safe, and arrive at the next port of call.
I can’t imagine those moments being anywhere near as spectacular from the inside of a bridge on a Motor Yacht as they are standing behind a wooden helm on an open cockpit.
I have Birdy to thank for that – stop reading and have a listen to this…..
Suddenly all of the pain, struggle and strife of the last few thousand miles disappear and it is worth all of the grief. The ocean calms and your eyes begin to adjust to the darkness. The hard earned spoils of offshore sailing drift away waiting to be discovered again like a long ago launched message in a bottle.
It was also that same fight for life, that clamber and struggle to dress, the 6 hours a day in the weather of an open cockpit, surprise squalls with excessive wind speeds that threaten to tear the rig in two, a boat constantly leaning at 15º for days at a time that made me think a little harder.
For all the romance, beauty and style of a sailing yacht – it doesn’t offer stability in turbulent waters. Imagine being able to shower at any time, to have a poo with out clinging onto your towel rail. Getting dressed with the light on in less than 20 minutes because you dont have to worry that you will wake your cabin mate up who has just had an equally harrowing watch on the helm.
Yes, Motor Yachts are typically vulgar floating masses but that mass offers options. Options like your own cabin, your own shower or better still, your very own toilet – no more cleaning up other people’s mess. There is also the benefit of a full size engine room, stand up head room everywhere, two huge V16 diesel engines with 7000 horse power between them and two big 175 kW generators to keep me company.
Add into the facts that it is a little better paid, has 90 days paid leave instead of 60 and paid in $ – it had to be the better option right? It seems writing two acceptance emails actually did pay off. Seeing everything written down for clarification made the two roles stand out. No more getting dressed in the dark, no more head hitting in an engine room to small for an elf (a bit of irony there).
Even with that clarity, as I hit send on the acceptance mail draft, I still had that ‘oh fuck’ moment where I doubted myself. One thing I am certain of – if I took the sailing yacht job, the first time the weather got rough, or I stubbed my toe on something or twatted my head in the engine room – I know I would have been cursing my choice.
After the end of my last relationship – it’s time to move on to something different, after all, if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got.
It’s Quiet Company