So an American, an Italian, two British people and a Polish guy walk in to a bar… No, this isn’t one of those cultural stereotyping jokes that I repeated as a kid; this is actually what happens every time our crew goes out to eat together. We have picked up two new crew members rounding us off with a British Captain, an American First Mate (me) and three deckhands: British, Italian and Polish. Six weeks ago I left my life in St John to join a sailing yacht in hopes of traveling and experiencing new cultures – it turns out that I didn’t even need to leave the Caribbean to be fully immersed in a wide variety of cultures, languages and traditions right on my own boat!
Of the many cultural differences that exist, we have found a few to be more hilarious than others. We all have different ways of describing the sounds that animals make. In Poland a dog says Bow Bow, in Italy it is How How. I can’t even spell out all the different ideas of what sound a rooster makes, but suffice it to say that Cock-a-Doodle-Do is uniquely American. It’s crazy how different our interpretations of the same noises can be!
The other day all three of the deckhands were just standing around, chatting and watching while I was doing a job. As the captain approached, I joked, “It’s like government work!” Nobody had any clue what I was talking about. I guess that problem is also uniquely American.
Luckily, my not-so-little promotion has landed me as the senior crew-member and subsequently in the best room on the boat. I now have my own double bed, a flat screen TV, air conditioning (for the first few days) and my own bathroom for the duration of the trip! I also have a repeat of the wind instruments in my room so if I wake up in the middle of the night and sense something is off, I can check some of the instruments without leaving my bed. The cabin is located farther aft than the rest of the crew dorms which makes for a slightly more comfortable ride. I also have first pick for my watch schedule and various other small privileges. Of course, extra responsibilities are included, but I have worked really hard and I am very happy to be where I am!
This will be the last email that I send out before my departure scheduled for Friday morning. The trip should take 3-4 weeks and we will be heading straight for Gibraltar unless we decide to stop in the Azores for one reason or another.
Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we embark on this journey. I will not be able to communicate for the duration of the trip but I will be keeping a journal and hope to have something interesting to tell you about upon my arrival in Spain. Of course, I will also be taking videos!
While reading my book the other day, I came across a passage that gave me pause. I read it three or four times and now feel compelled to share with you all:
It is commonplace of all religious thought, even the most primitive, that the man seeking visions and insight must go apart from his fellows and live for a time in the wilderness. If he is of the proper sort, he will return with a message. It may not be a message from the god he set out to seek, but even if he has failed in that particular, he will have had a vision or seen a marvel, and these are always worth listening to and thinking about. – Loren Eiseley
I don’t know if I will have any message to return with, or if I will even be able to articulate my experience, but I do intend to “see a marvel” and to soak up every minute of it!
I took the fishing rods out today and gave the reels some much needed TLC. I have mounted the gaff in a super accessible location and I’ve explained to the crew how to use it. Thank you to Sharp and MT for giving me a refresher course on gutting and filleting fish – it turns out nobody else onboard has a clue! The captain has agreed to club the thing in the head for me as long as I can handle the rest – DEAL!
Anyhow, I love you all and I can’t wait to tell you all about it when I land!