distant ship, smoke on the horizon


Distant ship, smoke on the horizon

I used to fall asleep listening to Pink Floyd’s comfortably numb.  Don’t ask me why.  Something about the instrumentation used to lull me to sleep – to the point that I heard it while driving one time and found my eyes getting heavy.

This is all beside the point.  My whole life I used to imagine what it would be like to live on a ship and well here I am.  We are too far off shore to really be a distant ship on the horizon but I am on a ship sailing down around the coast of Africa and on to Madagascar.

Life onboard a moving vessel has proven to have a number of challenges.  Below is a list of the top eight (I couldn’t think of two more to make it an even ten) things I have discovered to be the hardest every day activities.

In no particular order…

1. Opening a door. Simple right? Wrong, if the ship is listing and pitching (rocking, tilting etc.) away from the direction in which you are trying to open said door the door does not always want to move.  Last night I thought my cabin door was locked.  Nope, just had to push extra hard to overcome inertia.

2. Climbing stairs. This ties into the door thing.  If you are climbing a set of stairs, besides the fact that the ships is rocking back and forth, if you find yourself climbing towards the stairs it become twice as hard as it should be.  Your legs feel heavy and again feel inertia working against you.

3. Showering.  Really the issue here becomes not flooding your bathroom.  Sure it can be hard to keep balance and not fall over or let the shampoo fall off the shelf and beam you upside the head but really what I have found challenging is making sure the water keeps going down the drain.  Once again, we are back to the listing.  If the ship is listing away from the drain you can very easily flood your bathroom without even realizing it.

wonky sky

4. Working out. Granted all the extra balance, heavy door opening and stair climbing will add to your workout but sometimes you just want to get outside and go for a run.  Well, this proves to be quite challenging in the middle of the ocean.  As it turns out, running around and up and down stairs on a rocking ship is actually twice the workout.

5. Sleeping in a top bunk. For one thing it is not uncommon for things to come hurling off the bed in the middle of the night if we hit a particularly unforgiving swell.  This does not just include objects like clocks and ipods; this includes the person whose bed it is.  Supposedly some of the bunks have straps you can actually tie yourself in.  Other people will prop up the mattress with pillows so it is angled back into the wall.  Some just pull off the mattress and sleep on the floor.  I have done none of the above and so far the only thing I have lost was my clock.  However the further into the Indian Ocean we get I may be sleeping on the couch.

6. Getting the weather….it’s not like you can type in your longitude and latitude into weather.com. How am I supposed to know how bundled I need to be to go out on deck.

7. Getting mail….unless it is coming by owl we are out of luck until we reach land

8. Staying awake….you are either swaddled in a bassinet or cozy in grandma’s rocking chair depending if we are listing side to side or pitching front to back or recently been doing both in every possible direction.

All in all, it has been an unforgettable experience and I am very much enjoying being on the water.  However, land will be very welcomed after a combined total of 26 days of sailing.


gravity, inertia…my sentiments are the same



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