October 14, 2018

Out To Sea


Customs cleared finally, time to shove off, release the ropes, raise the sails...it has been said that the pessimist complains about the wind, that the foolhardy optimist expects it to change and the realist adjusts the sails...red sky at night, sailor’s delight, red sky in the morning, sailors take warning...able bodied seamen scrambling about...just do your job...weigh anchor and watchstanding...veer away...fair winds and following seas the captain mumbles and then says that sailing requires managing everything on the boat, plus all the controls on the boat, while keeping aware of the weather and the navigation...it's having planned everything to a fine level of detail and then making the required adjustments to the constant change...sheets bellying in the wind as a south-southwest wind comes up, full stowage and square meals to go around...let go and haul, trim the sails, keep those idlers on call...keep an even keel or risk getting keelhauled...four bells, salty dogs swinging the lamp and swigging rum...rumors of a nor’easter...get the foulies in case they’re needed...check the charts and find a safe harbor just in case it’s needed...in the meantime, get out the holystone...small ice and growlers possibly up in the Labrador current...maybe even field ice...lookout be warned...make the rounds...make sure everything is ship shape...keep on course...up and down the ladders...sun is over the yardarm now...wind’s up...the heave’s a-rising.. “Aye, the man who goes to sea doesn’t have the sense to stay on land” says the captain as he squints and puffs on his old black pipe...“yet, the call of the open water to him never goes unanswered”...instructions to the quartermaster, prepare to batten down the hatches, no time for a rogue wave now or an overfall...storm’s a comin’...take the helm...harbor of refuge sighted on map, fog now...looking for the lighthouse that really isn’t needed but it still makes you feel good to see it...make 15 more miles...get behind the jetty and into port...rest easier.