Mapping the limits of the soul: workouts in the bow

N 06 36.621′ W 174 24.121′

Today was another day of not much going on. The halls of the ship continued to be deserted due to people falling prey to the seasick snooziness. Many of us are now keeping a log of our hours per day in the cot. Staggering figures are being attained. Eighteen to twenty hours in some cases.

Today I continued my fight back against the waves of snoozy nausea that can engulf you after a solid week of big seas on a little cork of a ship. The snooziness just creeps up on you, grinds you down. Today I realised how much the motion was bothering my subconscious when I almost had a panic attack just trying to get my camera into my pocket when the pocket was all tangled up. It is like when you are diving; it isn’t the obvious threat that sends you over the edge into panic, it is the accumulated small things weighing on your mind that set you on the edge for the obvious cause to tap you over.

To fight back, I exercised for two hours, including a cheating version of the P90X workout program (it is obscenely hard). Tomorrow, it’s yoga on the bow, seas permitting.

But we crunched and chin-uped and hip thrust, or whatever the hell those exercises are called, lunged, crab walked, and generally wriggled around on the bow like parasitoid-crazed pupae, falling about with every wave that passed under us, heeling the ship over in a crazy corkscrew motion. It was hot as hell in a seriously marinely equatorial way (the hot sea air kind of makes every surface on the ship slightly wet and sticky), and sunny. We sweated like sumo wrestlers in a sauna. Seriously unfit sumo wrestlers locked in mortal sumo combat in a natural oven. All I could taste was salt, I kept slipping on my own sweat on the mat. It was kind of nasty, but also beautiful.

When I did my cruise to the Arctic, I had a mustang survival suit that was too small to keep me warm, so I would dance on the bow at every sampling to keep warm. I became quite famous on the bridge, as they would watch me as I wriggled and bounced around, only telling me after some weeks that it was one of the best times the officers had on the ship, watching. Today I felt like that again, the faceless judgement of the bridge superstructure looking down upon me as I did undignified things to survive.

Tonight I wrote the first bit of the first song I have written in weeks. I shall record it some time soon. If I am lucky, it shall combine my new knowledge of the scales I have been studying with the chords I love. Elliot tells me that dropping from chords to scales makes all the ladies swoon with desire, so this is a valuable effort. But then, I wonder how many people get laid based on being able to play a mandolin anyways, outside of Appalachia that is…

Today, we ‘pollywogs’ (not a racist slur, I am corrected), those who are yet to cross the equator on a ship, had to sign up for our hazing. The planning is afoot. In a week, I guess, we shall be initiated into the league of the ‘shellbacks’ who have done so, and survived the hazing. They have been saving the food scraps and dinner waste for a week or so now; by the time the hazing happens, they should have quite a stockpile of muck for us to swim through. They had us list our food allergies. I wrote ‘seafood’ in hopes that I would not have to wade through fish entrails or rotten seafood. I doubt this will save me. But, as a survivor of the Fast Food Glory Hole at Burning Man, I doubt there are any food combinations these guys can stump me with, unless the maliciousness of the crew comes to outweigh the desire to keep this in a fun spirit!

One of these days, I need to write a post on how life on the ship works, who to be afraid of, who to cajole into friendship at any cost, etc. It is a weird world to those who have not lived in it, with all the myriad forms of the luxury of freedom that default life allows. But then, I wonder if the American High School might be more like a ship than first appears?

I have been trying for a few days now to take a photo that captures the wildness and size of the seas. It seems impossible unless someone is getting swamped in a wave, and we were not allowed on the fantail when the seas were breaking over the stern in the past few days.

So here is a placid sunset photo instead, I like how the salmon light tempers the blue of the sea:

Tomorrow is our last transit day on the way to Howland, so soon there will be action and underwater photos again for y’all!!


~ by maoctopus on March 10, 2012.

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