Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pick Your Pounding

The wind and waves are into many weeks of consecutive irksome uncooperativeness. Eventually, financial pressure and domestic friction force the fishermen to choose the least bad next day. We had two.

One day was unpleasant, the next offensive. The similarity ends there. Sunday was cracking cold, blowing hard from the north, high glare and harsh brightness. The next was damp and blowing harder from the Southwest.

Sunday wasn't that rough because the mainland is a mere 20 some miles to the north and the waves can't get enough fetch to grow large.

The problem Sunday was the sandpaper cold on my face all day, the creeping chill in fingers and toes that never went away. I normally cannot get cold if I'm working. Not so on Sunday. On the way out to the back side of the Wooden Ball Island, I bagged bait turned sideways the whole way because the wind picked up water and garden hosed it over the port side at a height coincidentally similar to me from head down. The tv meteorologists make much mention of wind chill. They haven't developed a measurement for when you add salt water to the wind and temperature coefficients.

Monday there was plenty of fetch. The 10 to 15 knot forecast seemed short by about half.

Up two stories, down sideways. Tipping and rolling. What is horizontal or level becomes meaningless. I am peripherally aware of the rapid appearance and vanishing of water pyramids, the boat at all angles while my equilibrium is only related to the deck. Despite the wild swinging of the horizon and other normal references of balance, the boat hull is evolved such that it orients itself to the waves by swinging and rolling so my center of gravity gyroscopes along with it. Staying up is relatively easy considering the range of motion. I swing like a spindle top.

My main goal is to stay on the boat, surfing weightless then multiple G-force moments. There is some detachment, not of rotator cuffs, but between the crazed orientation of the boat and the simultaneous routine of me just doing my job. It seems impossible to a short term mariner like myself that the boat isn't flipped, rolled, or folded in half. It just sort of glides up and down, occasionally offering the unexpected snap and sudden tilt. The movement is fine when I'm in the open. I ain't no gymnast, but the autogyro seems to work pretty good except when hard objects with corners do not share my ballet of motion and gravity.

Got to get out of the house sometimes.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Vacation, Staycation, Throw it Awaycation

The wind slows down a little today. Maybe tomorrow, Clayton and I will be back on the water. By my count, we've had 2 nice days since early September. The kind of days where I work with 2 feet on the platform at the same time instead of doing the try to stay standing up dance. What would have been impossible conditions aboard Sweet Pea become normal as fall fades into winter.

Two days ago I flew into town. I kept thinking we must be flying really low because the waves seemed so big. I had no trouble at all locating the wind direction as the tops of the waves were all smeared very straight and long across Penobscot Bay. The plane ride back was fine except for the last 500 feet of elevation, which was only terrifying except for the last 100 feet when it got really tilty and I panicked and grabbed the woman's knee sitting next to me. I apologized immediately. She seemed to understand completely. I'm glad it wasn't a tough sternman sitting next me. That could have been really awkard.

My staycation turned into throw it awaycation. I've wanted to clean out the extra bedroom/dumpster for a couple of years. The junk and clutter offends me almost as much as the lack of space for art, music, and hanging out as well as being utterly embarrassed when offering a place to stay to our friends. Or being too embarrassed to even think of offering any accommodation.

The upstairs hall was just as bad. Hand me downs that were outgrown before they were handed down. Lots of paper from school, doodles and unknown origins. About 172 mateless socks jettisoned by my almost always sockless children. You'd think I'd see them running around all the time with one socked foot judging by the number of singletons I found in the rubble.

After several days of bailing stuffing and hauling (being a sternman was just the training I needed for this) there was a nice, startlingly spacious extra room. A free addition. Probably should get a padlock on there.