Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Another night watch

The funny thing about night watch is the feeling of being in Backwards Land. A place where we need to maintain alternate times on watch and therefore wind up living in a rhythm opposed to our normal schedule of waking and sleeping. We are trying to get to our destination, yet we purposely slow down a little at night, for safety reasons. We can't easily see what might be coming our way, be it squalls or waves , boats or floating objects. Going slower also makes for a more comfortable ride and less wear and tear on the equipment.

Night time is supposed to be for sleep, and yet on night watch my job is to be awake and aware of my surroundings. In normal times, if I can't sleep I give up trying and stay awake reading, or playing games on the tablet, often with the thought in the back of my head that I shouldn't be doing this. I should be trying to get to sleep. Perhaps it is the remnants of being that kid who wanted to read under the covers at night with a flashlight, way past my bedtime. On night watch this is is expected behavior. I am not sneak reading. I am doing my job. I am supposed to stay awake.

In normal times if I am awake, and trying to stay awake, I would turn on the lights. On night watch the lights are dimmed, or red, to try to preserve night vision. To be able to see beyond the edges of the boat. In reality, unless the moon is out, there is not much to see except for the stars. When the moon is out I can see the waves and I can see the horizon, but tonight there is no moon. I can see the glow of the waves breaking in our wake, but a few yards beyond the boat is an inky darkness.

I think of my daughter-in-law, Laura, who is a nurse and has spent many years working night shift. Backwards Land is her reality. Waking up when others are going to bed, working through the night, and coming home and going to sleep as the rest of the world is beginning their day. One of the biggest difference though, is I get to be more relaxed on night shift. I can read, and play games, and write posts, whereas Laura has to be up and working, alert and active. Kudos to her for doing this, I know her patients are lucky to have her.

Long passages are few and far between for us, and every time we make one I have to re-familiarize myself with the schedules and customs of Backwards Land. This passage will be our longest passage by far, over twice as long as any previous passage, plenty of time to adjust, and readjust schedules and patterns. Time to learn to appreciate the differences of Backwards Land. Laura spends a lot of time in Backwards Land. I am but an occasional visitor.

Time to check the chartplotter, to make sure that there are no other boats around and that we are going in the correct direction.

2222 miles to go


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