Riding the Storm
Watching storm Ciara raging outside watching the trees bending with the howling gale-force winds. Listening to the rain lashing the house windows. Seeing the news reports on the TV from the coastal areas of the waves breaking over the sea defences.
It brings back memories of being at sea in similar and often worse weather conditions. Being out on the upper deck, being frozen and soaked to the skin, after being hit by waves breaking over the ship (Being Goffered) gripping onto the guard rails for dear life. Often as conditions worsened the upper deck was placed out of bounds with all hatchways and watertight doors closed up and dogged tight. All loose gear stowed away and secured.
Walking, often staggering, negotiating through the main passageway, being bounced off the bulkheads, climbing ladders and companionways hanging on as the ship rolled violently. Water sloshing around the deck. Water dripping from the overhead airconditioning vents. The noise of the waves thumping and crashing into the ship’s side.
The feeling vertigo-like being in a high-speed lift or elevator as the ship climbed to the crest of a giant wave then dropped violently into the trough before climbing again the next wave, the screaming of the screws (propellers) as they come clear of the water as the ship crested a large wave, the whole ship vibrating as she recovered from each assault of the sea.
The sound of pots and pans, crockery crashing to decks accompanied by the colourful expletives from the Chefs in the gally. Chasing unidentifiable food around those metal trays. The best that the Chefs could knock together in those conditions. Eating one-handed the other hand holding onto the food tray in an attempt to avoid losing your food onto the deck
The constant smell of vomit from those with a more tender constitution (seasick)
The luxury of those few hours of sleep when not on duty or on watch. Being tucked up in your pit (bunk/bed.) With the roll bar up. This to prevent being rudely woken up by being pitched out onto an often waterlogged deck
Eventually coming back into the harbour. Stepping off the gangway and onto solid unmoving ground feeling the strange sensation of the deck not moving under your feet. then trying to walk in a straight line without rolling to the movement of the ship.
Although this to some may sound quite horrific. I miss those times at sea of being cold wet tired and uncomfortable perhaps I’m a bit of a masochist.