RIDING THE WILDCAT

Position: South 11 degrees, 37 minutes; West 10 degrees, 02 minutes

It’s 2:30AM, and we’re riding a wildcat over the ocean. Actually, it’s the ocean that makes it a wild ride. I’d always imagined what it must be like, but being in the middle of it, day after day, I’m finding out for myself. It really is wild. The boat is in constant motion, swinging, bucking, jerking, rising and falling. I think about my ancestors on the Mayflower, and it just boggles my mind how people did what they did, in those tiny ships, with so few creature comforts.

It’s quite noisy since we hit these 20-knot winds. There’s the constant sound of rushing water – past the hulls and off the sterns. There’s a virtual waterfall flowing from the two sterns. There’s the sound of water going past the openings in the hull – the drain outlets and the bilge pump outlets. There are the canons, whenever a wave hits the side of the boat or crashes underneath the pilothouse. There’s the wind. There’s the squeaking, creaking, rattling, and whining from items that are being tossed about in the melee.

All around us, 50 miles around, is nothing but a roiling sea. There are the big swells, which are basically behind us. They come along from behind, raise up the boat so you can see more of the horizon. We surf momentarily, then the wave continues on, leaving us sliding down the back and ready to catch another one. It’s quite dramatic when the new swell comes along. It’s higher than the boat, and is almost to the boat, when the boat starts to lift over it.

Some small part of your brain, as all this is going on, is wondering whatever possessed you to do this. It’s more than you can take in, even though it is really just a natural progression of years of events and planning.

Another part of your brain is just doing normal everyday things, like tidying up, washing your hair, cooking, and washing the salt and dirt out of towels and clothes, getting the book done – and, of course, writing and answering emails.

Another part of your brain is filtering all those sounds, so that a single out-of-place sound gets quick attention. Then there is the need for sleep. We’re managing, but sometimes – like last night, without my full sleep quota before my 1AM watch – staying awake takes every fiber of your being. You can’t be “on watch” and “asleep” at the same time, so you must make sure you stay awake. Of course, when it’s your turn to sleep, sometimes sleep doesn’t come. It always seems like your deepest sleep happens just before you’re awakened for your watch. Oh, well.

Thanks to advice from Janet, I will be fighting the aphids and spider mites with a solution containing garlic (crushed, soaked overnight), a couple of drops of cooking oil, and a couple of drops of liquid detergent. The plants look better already, even though I could only do the oil and detergent today; tomorrow the garlic will be ready. I’m growing quite fond of those little plants, they seem to be trying really hard to serve their purpose.

Well, back to book writing. Hope everyone is healthy. You can count one blessing: Your house is standing still!

Love,
Philip and Kristin

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