98. The Deafening Roar of Wind and Sea

I awoke to the sensation of my body rolling back and forth in my bed.  Not surprising for being out on the high seas.  Lullabye baby on the … 

Right in sync the ‘alert’ triggered by CS Phil was heard all over the decks; whether I wanted it or not, it was wake-up time!  

The unsteady movements were really getting, dare I say it, storm-tossed.  “Stay alert and steady yourself,” a calm yet stern voice commanded.  “Hold on to the railings and such as you make your way around the ship, it’s gonna be like this for a while.  Duties continue as usual.” 

Phil’s voice was elevated now as it seemed to me, the outside was audible inside. He made his steady, experienced way through the corridors. The rest of us who were not so experienced, bounced along with little glances of slight confusion (or was it uncertainty and fright?) to one another.  

With Taiwan to the west and the Mariana Trench far to the east of our position, our ship was navigated through the northernmost tip of the South China Sea.  It shouldn’t be too much longer before our boat will taste the East China Sea.  

First things first: shower, shave, well you know the rest and holding on constantly to something, railings or otherwise.  I nervously thought to myself, ‘Oh what fun I’m going to have now!’  

As I made my way up to morning duties, something else of interest was taking place.  Our speed was cutting out and it was soon revealed why exactly, that was.

The ship’s boiler busted … well, one of the boilers and that was more than enough!  Not at all in good timing (is it ever!?) and considering the agitated waters we were in, our significantly slower pace brought our vessel to a laboured crawl.  

Hopefully we’ll make it to Japan.  As I understood it, without our own full power, the ship is even more at the mercy of the turbulent seas.  

And then it happened: another boiler had busted.  It was said that we were not taking in water at this point, thankfully. ‘Wait! Does this mean we could?’  This uneasy thought was to myself.

As we were cargo-less, our vessel was tossed about like a toyship in a wild child’s bathtub!  Only in my craziest of boyhood dreams would I have ever imagined being in such a hairy, scary situation as this! I can tell you now, it ranked right up there with the Vietnamese waters experience!

I mean, what would’ve been worse? Getting blown to bits or being pulled under the ocean by a sinking ship, drowning in a raging sea??

Throughout the rest of this rough and tumble day and more than halfway through the night, we (and some other ships I barely was able to see) were subject to the mercy of Mother Nature’s whim.   

In the darkness of the early morning hours, Skip’s voice came in over the P.A. system, sharing the status report from below decks: “Between the port beam and the port bow, there is now a crack!” 

This then began to steadily weaken and the ocean was making its way into the ship at an alarming rate!  In milliseconds of panic & fear -no doubt- running through most of the crew, our Captain reassured us just as quickly of the makeshift sealing of this crack and that the hold had been sealed.

The guys have done their best to make watertight the damage.  Unfortunately we had zero propulsion; no steam power, no go!  Well, it’s a decrease in speed like from 13 knots reduced to 1 or 2 knots.  

The Trans Western is moving but at an unnoticeable pace.  I imagined myself on a paper boat just like the ones I used to make as a kid, in the middle of this tumultuous sea with no alternate course of action.

I’m not entirely certain how this next moment came about, well, other than credit to the thrilling sensations pulsing through me.  I do consider myself a curious sort of fellow and so along with the then current rate of adrenaline pumping through me, I followed the rush! 

I wanted to see for myself how our ship was reacting to all this excitement. The next thing I knew I was covering myself with my heavy hooded jacket, without thought on much else for preparations.  And so it was, with deck shoes already on (whaat? No boots or lifejacket!?), I found myself out in the storm, on the highest point of the uppermost deck! 

What felt like gale force winds, they were whipping all around me, the ship and the chilly ocean; I really couldn’t tell if it was raining or just an on-going downpour (and sideways hammering) of sea spray. 

I chose to secure myself at what was the highest point, just before climbing the ladder of the smokestack.  I hung on for dear life to an iron railing which surrounded the stack and that was my lifeline.  I noticed how everything was sealed up (that’s good) also, I quickly realized I was the only one outside … and with sopping wet legs and feet!  

The sea swelled non-stop, thrashing itself onto our ship with what had to be 40’-50’ waves, no lie!!  As I did my best to stand there in observance of my surroundings, I was mostly fascinated by the bow of the ship.  

It would dip waaaay down into the ocean.  And when it finally surfaced, it continued straight upwards lowering the stern down, down into the sea … what an adventure this turned out to be!

It was as though I was tied to the railing.  There was no time to think, no time to process the extreme situation we were in and so to report, all I thought was, ‘My God, I am witness to this explosive power!’  I must’ve been hypnotised.  

And each time the ship’s propeller was lifted out of the water, it felt to me as the entire ship would violently shake, often accompanied by an awful noise … I’ll never forget that mesmerizing, terrified feeling.  

I do not even know for how long I was out there thrilling myself by feeding my blown-up curiosity which was clearly accompanied by complete disregard to my physical safety.  

In retrospect I know I was perplexed by the magnificence of the force of the sea and the wind; such a beautiful yet deadly combination.  

Then somewhere separate from the deafening roar of wind and sea came the voice of my Skipper shouting at me over the bullhorn, “Hey Fiji! Get your ass down here, right now!!”  

I felt myself snap back into my mind and even managed to think a brief thought which was, ‘I’d better get down and back inside before Skip himself throws me into the ocean!’

Hurrying best as I could for I certainly weighed more now being waterlogged and all, back in through the steel door and into the passageway.  I remembered to spin the wheel around, re-securing the door.  

I turned to see the Captain simply staring me down from the doorway of his Bridge.  Under most any other circumstance, this guy always had a smile for me; not so much this time.  

“Your punishment Fiji …” he said with an exasperated breath.  “… know what your punishment is!?”  The frown on his face as he asked this question already spoke volumes.  I just shook my head ever so slightly.  “Go get my breakfast ready right now!”   

I hightailed it out of his presence straightaway to the Officer’s Saloon.  My heart was pounding but I was smiling.  Do I take the liberty of changing out of my drenched clothes first?  I say only a fool would not. 

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Our issue with the boiler played role in the loss of propulsion / without its own power, we had little protection against the battering waves and aggressive winds.

the Promise of Your Vision

C - Rakesh flies over White Sands -signedI feel now is the time for a short but sweet ode to my delightful, precious & compassionate first-born grandSonso like your father, my 1st born son; beautiful, intelligent & honorable.

And it goes without saying -but I will- very much your own person, that which I’ve watched you grow into and I’m excited to see who you shall ultimately become.

Your journey ahead is sensational!  Full of contrast and rewards, heart-pounding moments, decisions and well, more decisions.  But oh what fun you will have 😆 💗 and remember to believe that something wonderful is always about to happen.  So, will you be present for that?

Like thousands upon thousands globally, you and your graduating class became a part of history before even really stepping foot outside your door!  You pulled a first-ever, virtual, high school graduation this year.

From here on out, 2020 will be remembered as the year the planet stood still, from sea to shinning sea, desert into valley, mountain range to mountain range 🧭 N E W S.   You of course get the idea!

Now go out there (safely & cautiously, virally speaking) and don’t try to tame or change the world around you.  Ponder this for a few; let the full of wonder life, bring itself to you -because it will- and then dive in heart first.  Now you can invite your mind along for the ride!

I am there for yOu, always.  Your loving family is here for you always in all ways ♥️

 


(liken to a Greek ōidē)

To shore up or …

imagedream my way out to sea?

Well, speaking for myself, always in regards of myself (save for when I’m voicing LBM’s stories but then, that’s really only a narrative of someone else’s experience anyway, isn’t it?), I’m choosing to leave the shore a lot more often.

And while for the most part it’s been instilled into a greater percentage of us, that our life’s practice must contain a whole lot of shoring up as it were, well, I’ve noticed that hasn’t always been so much fun.

Fun? one would ask me.  Is that all life means to you, is to just have fun?  Sure fun is good but it can’t be all there is, all the time.  Have you not a sedate thought as to the direction of your future?  Are you just going to throw sensibility and caution straight out into the gale force winds, shrugging your shoulders at the very word, ‘serious’ … Seriously!?

Okay to be fair, I took quite a few things with as solemn an approach as I was raised to do, while making my way through this world; through this first half of my life.  You know, I’ve noticed however, as time goes by, the seriousness of it all begins to fall away.

🤍 And thank goodness it has done exactly that for me.  It couldn’t have happened at a better time, this unencumbered ability to just be!  Trust me, this has nothing to do with a financial perspective as I haven’t one anyway.  Someone just asked me, “How can you be like that, especially during this CoronaVirus scenario?”  I don’t know if I could really ever explain it, I just know it.

 

Get this:  two days ago I accidentally dropped a hot water pot to the ground, at my feet.  It was three quarters full and had just come to a complete boil.  The pot was momentarily resting at a level just above my head.

You see, my brother’s house is currently kitchen-less during renovations and so that’s where the pot’s base was, atop the refrigerator as there’s really no space here in the hallway.  And I take full responsibility for the accident, I do.

Now as it made its way down, it bounced off a mid-level (about waist high) shelf, flipping itself on its side and that’s when it happened.  As it hit the shelf, the water burst out from the pot, it doused my entire left hand, to also include both sides down past my wrist, and then both of my legs (I was wearing shorts) as it hit the floor!

Shocked?  Oh yes, for sure! 🔥 It took a moment to realize I’d just been badly burned.  I picked up the pot and set it on a side table, quickly making my way to the bathroom faucet for a good drenching of cold water💦

There was very much a raging fire burning from within my hand which encouraged me to repeat over and over, ‘I’m fine, I’m good, I’m brave, it’s going to be all right,’ and over again some more.  I said this out loud because I wanted to be sure LOL my affirmations were being heard somewhere out in the universe!

I was also being very, very appreciative that my head or face wasn’t involved in this mishap.  I intentionally ignored my legs because the nerves of my hand were screaming a lot louder.

After a little bit, the cold water from the faucet was not cold enough so I had to get the pitcher of cold water out of the fridge and slowly trickle it onto my hand.  Emptying the pitcher, I had to return to the faucet but it did feel better than at the beginning.

This process went on for quite some time until I could finally pull myself away from the running water to attempt applying something soothing onto the surface of my hand.  CBD to the rescue!

It was an all day, all evening process; in and out of the running cold water and frozen washcloths but do you know, in all that pain, I was able to sleep most of the night through, waking only from the misplacement of my hand.

And do you know why?  Right from the beginning I reminded myself to absolutely not take this seriously, despite the intense pain and I’m not kidding!  While it’s true my legs received a lesser amount of 💦 splash, I didn’t attend to them at all.  I had felt the burn when it happened and for a short while after the fact but they managed themselves I suppose.

🌸 Today, the 3rd day, there’s redness only at the inside of my wrist and a little on the back of my hand.  I’m trusting that’ll be gone before long, perhaps even before my birthday next week ☺️ and pain?  Non-existent LOL save for when I knocked my hand up against something yesterday. ⚛️

I’m so appreciative that I was able to, in such a crisis, remind myself to not take it too seriously.  I’m not certain how my reaction will take hold in alternate circumstances but I have to say, I see this has been a very good direction for me and I’ll keep comfortably on this path.

Perhaps my story will awaken something in yourself … a positive application of self-trust, a bit more relaxed about life and a healthy dose of more fun!  Look, I know how severe this burn was, I see the manifestation of the near immediate healing and I also know how great I felt comforting myself 🌹with simple ease and pleasure of being light-hearted 💙💕💖

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