Sleep Islands

There are some expressions common to the width of the animal kingdom and the breadth of history, even to the earliest single cell organisms in the primordial soup. These are concepts like: “Lets eat!”, “Heyyy babyyyy”, and “Why did we leave those nice islands?”. The last even applies to some plants, like the fledgling coconut who finds itself bobbing into the unending sloppy swell rather than moored on a sparkling sand beach with gentle waves lapping on its hull. Our reason for leaving those nice islands cannot even compete with good sense of a coconut. We left because 3 months ago when we arrived in the Marquesas we were given a bit of paper from the King of France with a date on it.

And so we cross another 1000 sleepless nautical miles, staggering above decks at the start of each watch like albino moles in a sunny parking lot, asking the on-watch, “How far to the next Sleep Island?”. The on-watch replies “999 miles” and the mole returns below to make coffee with stars of pain emanating from his feet like fireworks.

We both suffer from these foot-stars after a long passage. K’s theory is that our bare feet suffer from unnatural shear stresses in the attempt to remain stationary on sloping decks. This would be a great paper topic for an over-achieving Naval Architect with a degree in medicine (probably at TGA): “Seakeeping Shear Stresses in the Human Foot”. K of course would be happy to parasitically coauthor the paper if someone else would do the work.

We become accustomed to this unnatural cycle of sleep and foot-stars after about 4 days in boisterous conditions and this makes a strong argument for not stopping every 4 days even if there are Sleep Islands along the way. It is easier to proceed on an 8 day/1000 nm transit than to stop and re-start at 4 days/500 nm. This might sound like a long time but we have friends who prefer to do 2 month/6000 nm legs rather than 1 month/3000 nm legs for similar reasons.

There are benefits, most of them unexpected. This morning we saw a near total eclipse of the sun. It turned the sky dark, similar to the the state behind K’s eyelids just before he woke up to see… the darkness.

16°50.86’S 152°02.65’W 11-Jul-10 02:03 UTC

Comments are closed.