susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Hot bunking and the loo

I moved to Uncle Arthur's bunk in the forecabin and huddled under his sleeping bag. By now, I was leaving it all to the three men. I shivered and sweated, covering my eyes against all light, as they pumped and bucketed and steered past Cape Finisterre. If I moved, I thought I would collapse. The boat was singing through the ever-rising wind.

Now tell me - when you can't move for fear of disintegrating - when you're eating eating nothing and just about sipping water against dehydration, when all digestive systems have ground to a halt and you're wedged in as much as possible to avoid being hurled around the cabin with each lurch and thump, do you urgently, and I mean really urgently, have to empty your bladder?

So, clutching on to any handhold, I eventually had to fumble, sway and tumble my way in this pounding, soaking world and climb on to - really - a throne, built up on the curve on the hull, with no handholds but the basin's edge on which to cling. Once there, I could at least brace my legs against the door...

My fellow crew members were also a lot taller than me - the loo roll was hung high out of reach...

One excellent thing - the loo was operated by electric switches - at least I was spared the pumpout.

The next couple of days are a wretched blur - I remember the leecloth pinging away from it's screws pop, pop, pop, pop, so that a change of tack left me sliding across to Ace's port berth, to thump against the boat's ribs. I remember being offered boiled rice and refusing to be able to consider food. I remember trying to sleep as the flat foresections of the bows slammed down on t a concrete sea time and again. I remember hearing Ace describe seeing the wind speed indicator torn off by the wind, having exceeded 50 knots. I remember seeing a filthy smelly wrtch in a pink vest top and trousers falling off from weight loss, mirrored in the light from the heads, hair gummed up with sweat. I remember K saying we were making for Spain as there were 'issues' with the boat he could only deal with on land. And I completed my tour of the bunks by transferring to K's after berth, where the violence and noise of the slammig was less intense, swapping it for the noise and smell of the engine.

I had become that object most despised - a passenger. No, worse - cargo.


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