We are on the North Atlantic, far out of sight of land and the interruptions of phones and internet access. for a week or two at a time, till we come to port briefly for food and fuel and correspondence. That might sound...
We stand watches alone as our survey equipment scans the bottom for any little hints of the wreck we are looking for. Mile after hour of slowly wandering toward one featureless horizon, and then back towards the other The watches could seem boring to others, but to me they are a treat.
At night its even quieter. I chose the Dog Watch out of selfishness, to have the quietest of the quiet for myself. 3 am to 7 am, and look forward to it.
During my daytime shift I'll listen to a recording of someone reading a book aloud, my earmuffs blocking the chit-chat of crewmembers passing by. But the Dog Watch offers too much to allow that distraction. The sounds of the waves on the bow, the throb of the engines, the chatter and play of the dolphin on the sonar and the occasional thud of a flying fish hitting the cabin sides, these are distraction enough to keep me occupied through till dawn.
When I go to sea I am my real self. Without the distractions of regular life ashore, I can schedule my time, so much for reading, so much for writing, a sketch here and there, some studying to do between and hours lost in thought. I dont know how far back this began, as a teenage fisherman in Alaska, or as a celestial navigator in the Pacific, a lonely single-hander on sailing passage, but for a long time now i've known it. I am my best self when I am at sea.
* Editors Note: This post possible thanks to Tropical Storm Ericka.