24 June, 2007


It's day three on board the Nathaniel B. Palmer. The sick I got a week
or so back still has some of its greazy clutches in my nose & lungs. I'm
slowing hacking it out. Life on board is short of high adventure, but
it's got enough interesting to make it worthwhile. It's easy sometimes
down in the spot where we work to forget it's a ship. It's not like a
dungeon, but it is somehow like an office. More like a lab, maybe.
Sometimes the world tilts a bit though and then you remember. Or you can
walk upstairs and go out on the weather deck (there's like 7 or 8 decks,
it's a pretty tall ship). Outside is cold and often wet, but the passing
scenery is stunning. Very fjordy around here. Incredible wash of color
from white topped peaks through dark bare rock through exquisite verdant
wooded bottom parts into the dark grey of the sea. I saw a whale spout
today while I was out on the deck but when I ran up to the bridge to
grab some binocs I wasn't able to find it again. And then no one
believed that I had seen one. Nothing but a whale makes that kind of
water spout that I know of though. Bill saw the spout too but the poor
bastard (whale not Bill) must have either drowned or swam _really_ far
away cuz we never saw him spout again. Work is slow right now and it's
hard because I'm new. I'm still familiarizing myself with everything and
I feel like I have to constantly be a burden on Bill & Jen by always
asking "what do I do now?" It's hard not knowing what sort of stuff is
supposed to get done. But I've got a couple things I've started on and
they've kept me busy most of today. My room is small. Like, really
small. But that's fine, because it's mine. I don't have any stuff to put
in it anyway. It's got two tiny bunks with low ceilings with curtains
that draw across them. They make a wonderful tiny cozy cubby to crawl
into. There's litte chance two would fit in one of them. I don't know
what couples do here. Or even if couples come here. The Captain's got
his wife here (a strange pair, subject of much quiet whispering), but
then that's the Captain. He's probably got a king sized bed. I get up
around 7 now, go downstairs for breakfast (food is what you'd expect:
bland, tan, fried for the most part), after brek, just down the hall is
work. Lunch is around 11:30. Dinner is around 5:30. Work is done
sometime after that. We're free to wander up the to deck during the day
though. I haven't felt whipped or neck-breathed-down or chained to my
chair, which has been nice. Today we passed a spot called the English
Narrows. They weren't kidding with the name. Twisty passage through even
more dramatic fjords than before. All tiny islands spotting the way.
Lighthouses on treacherous outcroppings. We passed one before that had a
small shrine on it (a virgin mary of some sort, I imagine. Our Lady of
the Don't Crash On The Rocks and Die or some such thing). The custom is
to throw money at it. I threw a 100 peso coin someone handed me. Bill
only got 10 pesos. Will my luck be better? Remains to be seen. Cap'n
tells us we're turning into open water in a bit: expect 30+ foot swell.
So clean up our shit and tie down stuff that'll rattle about. (By rattle
I mean come crashing down off the wall or table or whatever and break
either itself, other stuff, or other people).


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