Thoughts From The Night Watch

If I got another dog I’d name it Lugger. Great name for a bulldog… but I’m not getting another dog.

But I do  love my Lugger.

Night watch on an offshore cruise is like a teenage gamer’s dream..pitch black all around, you are surrounded by numerous glowing occasionally beeping screens, all trying to get your attention, and you are sitting in a pile of granola wrappers, cracker crumbs, and empty gatorade bottles.

“Depends” for long rough  passages.  No explanation needed.

We are told that in order to stay young, you should do something every day that scares you.  Suggestion: buy a boat . Go offshore.  You will stay young ( and poor which is like being young) forever.

Every 10th wave is a bow burier. Memo: check some of the pictures on the wall downstairs when it’s daylight and I can go down there.

As soon as the partner in crime is relieved of his watch and goes to seek oblivion in sleep, after the engine room check of course.. and  after saying “wind’s dying, seas are calm”… as soon as my ass hits the helm seat and his head hits the pillow…wham! anemometer shows another 10 knots of wind speed and the first wave you hit goes over the pilot house.

It’s always rougher at night. This morning I did exercises, ran in place, danced like no one was watching, in the pilot house. It’s now 01:23 and I have one hand for me, one for the ship, and a foot keeping the helmseat from catapulting down the companionway.

Everything that isn’t nailed, screwed, glued or duct taped down will rattle, roll, and bang.  It’s noisy at night. Not that you use nails on  a boat.  Just trying to make a point. There are some things I would happily nail if someone let me.  Speaking of which…sounds like a cupboard door just crashed open.. or the better half fell off the couch.  Do I stay or should I go? Is it 3 yet?

If I called on the VHF, would anyone hear me?  Existential thoughts for the middle of the night..

I would sell my dinghy for  a Twizzler right now.  Why didn’t I bring Twizzlers from home for me?  We brought Cheesies from home for Jeff Merrill… but I didn’t bring Twizzlers for me.  

Must remember to stock up on Twizzlers next time.

Now I can’t stop thinking about  Twizzler.

Do you think Lawrence would notice if I ate all the smarties from the fancy Trail Mix midnight snack box? Smarties aren’t Twizzlers but they aren’t bad.

Red Twizzlers.  Anything else is NOT a Twizzler.

We could call them “C-pends”  instead of “Depends”.  “Your over-night Travel Buddy”…

Is it 3 yet?  Nope.. 01:30…

Night watch actually goes pretty quickly – there are things to do, and  to think about – the hourly log gets filled out ( lat, long, gauge readings like engine temp, oil pressure, engine room temperature… wind, sea state…)  the chart plotter to check ( any traffic showing up on AIS that’s an issue?) the radar ( anything showing up that ISN’T an AIS signal that could become an issue, and if so, can you track them on radar to see if they could be a potential hazard? And can you get a visual on them – checking for red lights or green lights to confirm which way they are going in relation to you)..

This is a very empty section of the coast. When you are transiting large ports such as Los Angelos or San Francisco, or travelling down a coast during fishing season… there is no rest for the watchkeeper… and that’s when the screens start talking to you a lot…”collision course” is not my favourite phrase. And when you are surrounded by multiple potentials… that’s when an extra body is always welcome. works with three or four people on the boat, but with two – well, the other half is always on call! Hence the “sleep when you can” rule.

I like to open a side door and stick my head out, especially once the clouds have blown away and the stars and moon are out. Going to be a full moon in a few days – that will be fabulous! scan the horizon… check the paravanes and the fish.. and duck back inside before someone notices…

And then I plan our next meal.  If it’s calm, what can I cook?  If it’s rough, what can I scavenge? Will anyone be hungry after all these granola bars and Trail Mix???

So the hours actually pass quickly. So much so that when my relief showed up at 0300, I told him to go back to the couch, I was good for another hour and  a half.

Which is how I got to sleep in till 0:800 this morning!!! and of course… wind below 8 knots, seas below 3 feet, with the occasional 4.. and that little crashing noise last night? 

a decorative mirror in my head finally giving up its hold on the bulkhead and landing in the sink.  Luckily neither mirror nor sink were injured in the event. Just goes to show you – if it’s not nailed… it’s gonna fall.  ( velcro does fail – eventually).