"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain


>> Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The wind is lacking. The motor is on, heating up the below deck areas, forcing everyone to attempt to cool off on deck under the blazing sun.  This is a sailor’s kryptonite. So what is there to do when the wind is no good and the boat is slowly turning into a sauna? Swim Call!

As a native northern New Englander, I am used to the belief that swimming in the ocean, even in the middle of summer, can be a chilling experience. However, this swim call was chilling for different reasons.
When Cap exits his bunk in his sarong, asking, “Who wants Swim Call?” we know is it time to put our bathing suits and get our soap. As we trim the sails to “hove to,” the excitement builds. The “pool” rules are given lecture style by Captain Flansburg and we all line up by the starboard fore shrouds, ready to jump off the rail.
As I step up on the rail, maybe six feet above the water, I think for a split second about sitting in a classroom starting at a whiteboard. I step forward with a slight hop in my step and feel my body sink through the air and then splash into the water. As natural buoyancy takes effect, I scramble, eyes still closed to come back to the surface as quickly as possible. I do not know what is beneath me. I take a breath and wipe the salt water from my eyes.
At this time, we were around five hundred miles offshore and the depth finder was unable to get a reading. On the chart, the depth marked nearest to us was 17,925 feet, a depth that is almost inconceivable.
I look back at the boat for a view that is quite different as I am looking up at the boat from the water. It is a perspective rarely seen. Then, I glance down from into the water; water that is so unbelievably blue. This water is bluer than the sky on a cloudless day, bluer than a mini-golf course river, bluer than you grandmother’s toilet water. The blue is incomparable to any I have ever seen before. It continues on below me, never ending, unnatural almost artificially blue. To think that swimming five hundred miles offshore would be so different and so much more beautiful than swimming forty feet off the east coast is not first nature.
This is how the ocean should be experienced, not a hop, skip, and a jump from a coastal town, but it in the middle of the ocean; nothing but water, pure blue water around you.


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