How it Goes (Part 1)

The sound rushes back in.  Awake again.  The sensation of waking always fascinates me.  Especially the sound.  It's the conscious awareness that sound is again available for sensory input that is peculiar.  It feels like a forgotten crescendo found an opening back into space and time.  The opening is too short, and the increasing volume rushes from zero to conscious awareness too rapidly.  It's an unexpected crescendo back into in the land of reality within a millisecond.  

I lie still for a moment attempting to detect any lurking abnormalities.  New sounds generally mean new problems.  Nothing of note.  I listen to the wind.  Fortunately, I'm protected from any direct contact at the moment.  However, zero air circulation soon means soggy, stale air.  I left the main hatch in the cracked ventilation position 4 hours ago in anticipation, which is always a risk.  Water finds that crack like a heat-seeking missile, but the fresh air is worth it.  Normally.  Perhaps the exception being when I wake to the sound of new sloshing sounds.  Luckily, that is not today.  I've improved the calibration of my threat detection thresholds and can normally opt for soggy air when appropriate.  

The sound of wind is a reliable risk-level indicator.  Right now I can definitely hear the wind, but it's not quite strong enough for a howl.  I'm not feeling vibrations either, which is good.  Sometimes, like when you are driving a car with one back-window down, there is a pulsing vibration from the wind.  It's caused by high speed wind flowing over pockets of static air, creating pressure differentials that aren't sustainable.  Consequently, using only ambient sound, I'm guessing the wind is less than 15 knots at the moment.  Safe.  The sound of the waves slapping the boat seem to confirm. They are slapping, not crashing.

I sleep with my head towards the main hatch most of the time, primarily for sleep quality.  You'll find the least motion at the center-of-gravity for any given vessel.  And generally, less motion equals better sleep.  On Emerson, this is located directly below the rowing seat, aft and outside the main hatch.  Therefore, in order to maximize comfort and minimize motion, the head-pointing-aft sleeping arrangement is required.  I find this unfortunate since it also requires my head to be slightly lower than my feet.  That is until I'm motivated to redistribute stores, which is not likely anytime soon.  "Pick your battles" seems appropriate. 

I glance up and aft to the chart plotter, no traffic, slowly moving west.  That's fine.  I continue my partially awake gaze further aft towards the hatch.  The sea is gray, more so on the left side of the hatch.  I'm bound for an overcast morning, which has the added bonus of keeping the day cool for a while longer.  The seas seem to match my 15 knot wind assessment by appearance, and this is confirmed by the chart plotter, fluctuating between 9 and 18 knots, directly from the east.  My left arm is going to need help today.  The fluctuations are wider than one might expect.  The source of anomalous wind data are from motion of the boat itself.  The sensor isn't programmed to account for a boat that banks 30-45 degrees on a regular basis.  The sensor is therefore telling me relative wind speed and direction as it arcs quickly around the longitudinal axis of the boat, with an apex 5 feet above the surface of the water.  It's too much math for me to decipher precisely, so I practice catching the middle of swings and deciphering the Beaufort scale instead.

The boat feels relatively level, that is good. However, I'm finding myself wedged into a starboard corner of the cabin, which only makes sense provided the boat is still pointing in a somewhat southerly direction.  A quick glance to the compass tells me I'm heading 195 degrees, all good - no swamping, no weird listing.  Water filled the center footwell outside, but that is unavoidable.  Even so, I reduced the number of hand pumps required to clear the water from about 320 pumps to near 140 - anything to help.  Everything appears normal.  A sense of relief tells me I'm not due for any special projects this morning.  To be continued....

Paddle On