I hit the wall Tuesday, hard, after being on watch Monday morning from 6 a.m. to noon and again from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. I awoke feeling groggy, tired and grumpy. The fast-paced drizzle, gray and cold skies didn't help matters much. It only feeds into this feeling of isolation.
The bad weather has returned. If our sailboat were a pinball machine, we would have been on full tilt days ago. Right now, as I write, we are stuck on the port side (left) doing just more than 6 knots in 30 plus knots winds. Both my thighs show battle wounds with a patch of bruises on both sides. On my last watch, I took at least 10 waves in the face with my entire outerwear outfit soaked. At least I didn't get washed across the deck again.
Sleep has not come easy on this trip. I'm lucky if I get five hours of sleep a night. I'm pretty much hungry at all times, and the water at times tastes like a mix between salt water and sulfur. It's 11:45 p.m. right now, and I am back on watch from 2 to 6 a.m. which makes me cringe just thinking about it. It's been two days since I have showered and my smell is more than ripe. After awhile, showering and using the toilet while trying to stay upright in the stormy seas gets tiresome.
It's 48 hours and counting until we hit Cape Town, South Africa, and we are at least a day and a half behind schedule, on what feels like one of those amusement rides that you just can't get off of quick enough. In all honesty, I just wish I could take a nap and wake up when we get there. My patience is so thin that I forget what the word means. Sometimes I just want to scream at the top of my lungs while clenching my fists,
I'm not sure relationships were built to endure such strain. But who knows, at this point I am second guessing everything.
The only place that I find any sort of succor is on deck when I put on my headphones and fade away thinking of life at home and seeing in my mind my family celebrating my father's 84th birthday, daydreaming of a good meal and a nice glass of wine (or 10?). Happy birthday, Dad.
I have to hand it to this crew, because to endure more than 29 days of this is nothing short of people showing their true ECO-Warrior spirit.
JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer and John Kelly Environmental Award winner. His websites include AlohaSchoolofSurfing and ECOWarrior Surf.com. He can be reached at Jamo@Aloha SchoolofSurfing.com.