During our transit across the Yucatan Channel I woke for my watch at 10 minutes before midnight and couldn’t believe how poorly I felt. I don’t think I slept at all while rolling around for the previous 2 ½ hours with the motion of the boat in the trough, the engine rumbling along and the creaking of the boat at the end of our 4th day on the passage.
As I looked around at the contacts on the water and aligned them with the radar and AIS contacts registering on our GPS plotter before taking the watch, the whole scene fell into place as I mentally registered the ones that need attention and those that don’t, confirming this with what Carrie tells me before she goes below.
Tonight was very different for me, however. Although I felt alert and able, my entire body felt like it had been turned inside out, like every nerve ending was exposed and feeling raw. My back ached as did my forearms and my head. I have rarely felt seasickness in the conventional way during my life although I’ve spent a lot of time at sea in everything from flat calm to extremely rough seas, but this lethargic funk may be how I felt its affects that night.
As I made a regular visual check around the boat I noticed that the line securing our Mizzen boom from swinging with the boat’s roll had worked its way loose and needed tightening, so I clipped my safety harness’ tether onto one of our jacklines, the safety lines we run from bow to stern along the decks on both sides whenever we’re underway in open waters, and slowly made my way aft to tighten it down.
As I finished with this little chore I found that both the exertion of balancing myself on the pitching deck while readjusting the line as well as breathing in deep gulps of fresh air in the 25 knot winds actually made me feel much better. The raw feeling in my skin went away and my head felt much clearer than it did in the cabin spaces aboard that normally provide protection from the elements.
As I sat in the cockpit filling out my hourly log I thought that if I’m feeling this much better awake in these conditions I may not go back to sleep when I finish my watch.