Friday, May 7, 2010

Night Watches

I had no idea what to expect for night watches.  I was pretty much terrified that I was going to screw it up.  Turns out it wasn´t that bad.  I´m pretty sure God was on my side as we had perfect weather for all of my watches.  I think in all honesty, I was too tired to be nervous
We decided to go with three hour watches. On the trip to Isla Guadalupe I had the 9:00 - midnight and 3:00-6:00 a.m. watch. I had grand plans to let Andy sleep an extra hour to get myself and extra hour later but it turns out I couldn´t do it. I took the other watches on the trip to Bahia and handled that much better as there was only one "middle of the night" watch
I had read numerous books and even heard from my very knowledgeable husband that night watches were a good time to reflect on things. I fully expected to have some of my deepest thoughts out there under the stars. Turns out, I´m not that deep. I couldn´t get past "It´s super cold, I wonder why these hand warmers aren´t working yet " and "Geesh, it´s only been 10 minutes?" It´s kind of like running on a treadmill. You set your mileage and start running.  After what has got to be an hour and 5 miles later, you look down and you´ve only ran 15 minutes and covered all of a mile and a half. It was like that.
The first night wasn´t so bad as I had a lot of traffic on my watch. The first watch I actually woke Andy up because I thought a cruise ship was coming straight for us. It was lit up like a Christmas tree and I could see both it´s port and starboard lights. As soon as Andy got out there, it changed direction and made me look stupid (I´m sure it was the cruise ship´s fault>). The next three that came through there - I named it cruise ship alley - all followed the same pattern so I became smarter as the night went on. The second watch brought on a huge ship that we later decided was might have been an aircraft carrier. It started as a blip and got bigger and bigger so I finally woke him up again. Turns out that was the right thing to do. They didn´t answer us on the radio so we had to change our course and go behind them. The law of mass tonnage won out. My last watch was great. Stars, Stars, Stars. I´ve never seen anything like it. And lots of bioluminescence. Very cool
A little bird came to rest during one of Andy´s watches.
On some watches, I found myself drifting off many times. I need to find a better method of staying
I tried numerous things to keep me awake, none of which worked
1)Standing directly in the wind to see if making myself cold would keep me awake. Just made me cold, no less sleepy
2) Full on exercise: squats, push ups, leglifts.... I even tried ballet. All this did was make me sore the next day. Although combined with my loss of appetite due to the sea sickness, I may have found a way to shed those extra 10 pounds.
3) Singing. Turns out I don´t know the words to that many songs start to finish. And, "Should´ve been a Cowboy" gets old after a few times.
4) Looking at the stars and trying to match them to my super cool constellation cards I bought. Too cloudy, couldn´t pull it off
5) Slapping myself. Well that never works and just made me feel stupid

All in all, not so bad. But I was really glad to get to the anchorage so I could get a good night´s sleep again.


Red Charlotte said...

I'm worried about falling asleep on watches too. One trick I heard was to take a kitchen timer with you and set it for every 10-15 minutes. It'll wake you right up in a "safe" time. I think I may try it.

boatbaby said...

I have one word for you ladies... Podcasts! Get your IPod loaded up with entertainment and plug in. If you pick something you really want to hear, you won't drift off. Oh, that and dark chcoclate covered espresso beans ;)

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