Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Week 4: Sydney to Port Stephens

"It's just the night in my veins... It's just the night under my skin..."

Finally the wind (amongst other things) gave us it’s blessing to make our exit out of the heads and we were off, leaving Sydney behind to shrink into a collection of twinkling dots in the darkness. 

Most of that first night I kept watch alone in the cockpit, fuelled by the thrill of finally being out on the open water. This enthused Paul’s perception of having party people as crew as it meant he could get some sleep :p . In my mind I had transformed the cockpit into a mini disco that night, alone with the elements, surfing downwind, headphones blaring. I delighted in the way helming is so well suited to dancing. It was a great feeling, disco and motown in my ears, stars overhead, alone on the water, the night to myself, rain pelting down and the wind racing past. Hours were lost to dreaming, writing novels in my head, inventing endless scenarios and stories… oh and occasionally glancing around for other ships :p … a task I was supposedly carrying out diligently.

It ‘s empowering being alone riding the waves in the darkness, just you and the swinging mast light, dancing together under the star-littered sky. Lights from the houses on the shore now a distant vision, a nostalgic reflection of a life left behind. A life of comparative comfort, filled with warmth and light. I loved indulging in the contemplative nature of being alone out here with your thoughts… Well not quite alone, best not forget the existence of the gigantic container ships; stationary vessels of terror looming threateningly in the distance - the main cause for requiring a night watcher in the first place. Having one of those intimidating demons creep up on you, torches blaring like a colossal witches head on fire, quickly jolts you back to reality. They are seriously massive. Alone in the darkness somewhat deranged from sleep deprivation, your eyes find it the perfect time to play tricks on you. They tell you that these beasts are coming straight for you…

Being just the two of us, we took it in turns to be awake and asleep, thus our bodies had to adjust to alternating between these two states every few hours. Every shift felt different, dependent on the environment, weather and any accompanying wildlife. Fresh sunrises having breakfast with dolphins, lazy mornings rolling over the waves with Peter Green’s guitar singing out Fleetwood Mac’s “Albatross”, whilst real albatrosses soared overhead, bright afternoons, nostalgic sunsets, electric nights….

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