Day 17: From Lipari to Ustica, the Mediterranean shows the dark side
If yesterday we had one of the best days in terms of sailing experience, today the Mediterranean has decided to show us that it still hides character beneath its ancient soul after centuries of uniting diverse peoples and show that it also was the lair of the angry brother of Zeus, Poseidon, and many titans and monsters who threatened Greek heroes in their odysseys and trips for gold velocins.
As we sailed from Lipari we saw that the good weather was going to take a little break (I think that also in Spain you’ve also had bad weather these days) and a strong wind started blowing against us and the waves started to grow.
Diego, as a good sailor, had already planned the weather and made us review concepts with him and established in advance our responsabilities and tasks to avoid further discoordination. The Admiral was going to stay this time under cover and everyone would be helping Diego with the maneuvers, because he expected changing conditions of wind and sea.
I lacked experience in this kind of sailing under bad weather conditions, I had not yet seen the dark side of the sea. When we passed Ventotene before arriving in Naples, we simply had a mild wind against. Uncomfortable, but bearable, today has been quite worse.
Now, in the comfort of the cabin, with new dry and clean clothes on, without saltpeter over the face, the experience is relived with more sense of danger, but at that very moment the adrenaline and concentration on the designated tasks kept us so concentrated, the day passed in a blink Obviously we all have pain in our hands from handling ropes the windswept sails made revolt and so more difficult to handle and our eyes are irritated from the wind and the splashes of the waves, but in general it has been a joy to test ourselves this way and check how a team of colleagues respond to a complicated situation and as the shared difficulties arises camaraderie, as in a Howard Hawks movie.
Diego, who has got through worse, explained to us this morning, once everything finished, that this day could not be called a big storm, in which case we would have stayed one more day in Lipari, but the experience had been useful for him to know how Acrobat and the crew responds to such peril.
Today I learned the importance of stowage of everything that travels under deck and that when someone is on the cabin you are load as the bags or boxes: we are all big men and there’s no need of having two hundred pounds sailors bouncing as pool balls on a boat. Wisdom of the Admiral. A lesson learned after several hits and two stares that said «I told you so.»
But above all, what has become clear to me this hours is that forecasting, defining tasks and procedures and respecting safety forecasts (each one with his lifejacket already on) avoid future problems and allow you to concentrate on your own task and enjoy the challenge, with the conffidence that everyone else is doing what he is supposed to. In the end, as in every other job, it is important to respect the procedures that someone else established earlier in favor of effective and safe work.
You know that I’ve not been one of those men that search their phisical limits, I am not the adventurous type … or wasn’t until now. I don’t know if time and habit will change this feeling I have now, but the truth is that now I understand the addiction to risk. The body gives you a kick of euphoria that one could get used to.
We have now reached the Acrobat residence for the next few weeks: Ustica. A very picturesque place, in my next letter I will speak of Ústica more carefully, it deserves it, you’ll see.
Hugs and kisses for all.
Juan Sebastián Pym