October 29, 2012 in Category At Sea,Scarlett Adventures...

Joining the Night Watch…

Before I headed out on my sailing adventure, the concept of a “night watch” was completely alien to me…

I genuinely thought it was an elaborate joke to make us nervous on our first day. After all, they couldn’t seriously expect us to climb our of our bunks at stupid o’clock in the morning to pull ropes and face storms? But as the sun began to set, it became clear that they weren’t joking…

After what seemed like mere minutes after my head touched the pillow, I was woken for my 4am shift. The cabin was pitch black, making any chance of my finding my various life-saving bits and pieces in a quiet, ladylike manner, completely impossible. If I hadn’t woken the rest of the room up with my comedy “shhhhh’s” and all of the, I quote; “clambering out of the bunk like a baby rhino” I’d been doing… then tripping through the doorway and hitting the floor like a sack of potatoes certainly did the trick.

Seriously, you try getting out of this bunk without kicking anyone in the face.

Somehow I made it onto the deck, in one (very bedraggled looking) piece. Slurping the lukewarm tea I’d made in a pathetic attempt to look alive, I threw myself down onto an unsteady buoy next to the ladies from the watch before me.

As my eyes finally adjusted to the darkness, I looked up at the sky… and what a sky. I don’t usually wax lyrical here in Wonderland, but it really was like nothing I’d ever seen before. The black backdrop of the night sparkled with millions of stars, more than I had ever seen before coming from a big city and all, and for the first time I was rendered completely speechless.

I remember the tales of the sea that my Granddad would tell me as a kid, and how he would always mention how breathtaking the sky looked at night – well, finally I knew what he meant. I had joined the exclusive club of sailors, from generations gone by, who had gazed upon those stars and, (although deep down you know it’s the same sky you see every night) felt that ,on this one night, someone, somewhere had placed each diamond up there especially for you.

That sight aone alone was worth facing the storms, the cold and the tiredness.

Of course, my magical moment didn’t last long; I was dragged back into reality by a distinct awareness that nobody from the watch before was making any signs of moving.

“I know we’re all very overwhelmed by the sky and all that guys, but if you’re all staying up – I’ll happily take one for the team and go back to bed…”

They laughed.

I looked confused.

“Check the time! I had no idea you were so keen to face the storm… sailor” replied the Captain, looking ironically at my adorable panda hat and glove set.

It was only 2am.

It turned out that the dulcet tones of my watch leader hissing at me to get out of bed, had all been a dream – and now I had a monster night-shift to face on deck.

Over the next six hours the winds picked up, I finally grasped the art of changing the sail’s direction, and I was thrown across the boat like a scrap of paper more times than I’d care to let on.

But I felt alive.

(…and so glad that I’d taken out travel insurance)

Eventually 8am rolled around and I watched my first ever sunrise, (a sight almost as breathtaking as the stars) and finally, after what seemed like endless darkness, it was time for bed.

But, of course, the drama didn’t end there.

With two thirds of the crew bedridden through seasickness, it was down to us to help the ship’s cook to get breakfast ready.

Luckily, the series of events that followed I listened to from the safety of the deck…

The pleas of, “No, please let me do it” from the cook as Joey, (bald, hilarious and the main reason I ended up staggering back to the boat on the first night) carried an industrial pan of baked beans to the unsteady table, was drowned out by an almighty crash…

Of course, with the winds picking up again, the boat tipped and threw the table with it. The beans hurtled through the air in slow motion, covering both the walls and the bunks… not to mention the face of poor, 73 year old Pat, who was unlucky enough to stick her head out at precisely the wrong moment.

Between a cabin covered in beans, the overpowering smell of eggs and the increasingly more violet sea – you can imagine the projectile vomiting that ensued. 

All I could do was look down in horror, not daring to enter the Leper colony below deck, and curl up on a buoy to try and few hours kip.

As I drifted off, I told myself that all the drama was over and the rest of the sail would go smoothly. Little did I know, the best was yet to come…

10 comments… read them below or add one

Marina October 29, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I love reading about this adventure. It all sounds simultaneously wonderful and miserable, and you’re a total badass for doing it. I can’t wait for the rest of the story!

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Scarlett October 30, 2012 at 10:56 am

Ahh, thanks Marina! I didn’t feel very badass at the time though! xx

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ShimonZ October 30, 2012 at 1:28 am

Oh Scarlet, you do know how to tell a story, with just the right the spices, and a dash of humor here and there to help us realize how we’re supposed to digest it all. A wonderful tale of a great adventure… and as usual, with fantastic illustrations. Yours is a blog I always read for fun. May you continue to have many rich adventures.

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Scarlett October 30, 2012 at 11:08 am

What a lovely comment Shimon, thank you! xx

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Leigh-Ann October 30, 2012 at 11:33 am

Lol, this post is fab, can’t wait to hear the next installment. I can just imagine your face as the beans went flying!

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Scarlett October 30, 2012 at 11:39 am

Haha! Thanks LeighAnn xx

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snowbird October 30, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Omg! My eyes are streaming laughing. Poor Pat….lol xxxxx

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Scarlett October 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm

LOL, I’ve never seen anyone look so shocked. Poor thing! xx

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Helen November 12, 2012 at 8:31 am

This post is hilarious!!!! Just came across your blog and can’t stop reading. You’re an amazing writer x

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Scarlett November 13, 2012 at 10:37 am

What a lovely comment – Thanks so much Helen! Glad to have found your blog too :) xxx

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