Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Yaarrrrggg Matey! A Pirates Life for Me! - Dec. 2010

Marina Sveateva in Auckland, NZ
Y'arrg Mateys,

 It's a pirates life for me on the hips of the high seas! Nineteen days on the open ocean sailing from north island New Zealand to the southern tip of Argentina has certainly sprung my equilibrium into that of a grass skirt toten hula girl on your weird uncles dashboard...  Hawaiian shirt and all.

 This message is streaming live from the stability of the sweet land of fire, Tierra del Fuego! Beautiful territory of mountainous stature, snow-capped peaks just waking from the winters blanket and, how could one fail to mention the howling winds that come screaming across the pacific, over Chile and make their way through the fjords blasting you as you step from your floating "Four Seasons" hotel! She's a pretty classy lookin' girl now, but when we first arrived she was more like a shady motel nearest the seedy part of town with an hourly rate posted in the window... flickering argon no vacancy sign and brown water spewing from the faucet! 

  So, why did I arrive in such tremendous fashion, red carpet (which is really a silver gangway), forgoing the traditional meal of argentinian steak and baked potato on the United Airlines flight from the states? To give ol' Bob Vila a run for his money... we called it "Pimp my Ship", a rip-off from the hit TV series on MTv, pimp my ride. Can't you just hear it now... "we took 5, average human beings with heads on their shoulders and one thing in common... a love for the frozen continent of Antarctica. We sent them packing from their vacations, holidays and the comforts of their own homes to put them on a ship with Russian sailors and stewards headed for the high seas!" you get the picture right...

  I arrived NZ on minimal sleep and less notice of disembarkation (Just a quick side note, new airport security scanners... ya, don't like em so much! Nearly got the powder-blue latex glove up me bum for sporting the kilt at Sea-Tac! Watch out now!) When I arrived I was pleasantly surprised to meet an Argentinian couple who'd been traveling on their motorcycle for the past 8 years and 8 months... straight! They stayed on the ship the evening prior to my arrival and the ships departure, said they had another few years left in em, how great heh?

Eva-Destruction making things happen!
  We threw the lines while a tug pulled our new home away from the docks, she's a good ship, an ice-breaker in fact, known as Marina Sveteava. Born in 1989 to a Polish shipyard she's been cruising the southern seas for her whole life, just looking to get a break... hehe. Without any stabilizers she's got some nice action in her gate. As she sails along she shakes at the hips like Aretha would as she strolled off stage after a satisfying set. For several days we had a consistent south-easterly wind nudging us along. I say nudging, but in all reality when she kicked back hard to port riding the rollers our bar/tool shop would slide from one side to the other! This became quite a fun game. You could count on the motion of the ocean to move you and your project in sync. . Without a wind meter to tell me the speeds of the gusts I'd wager we were consistently pushing 45 mph with a 10 meter swell to go along with it! Now imagine this happening for days on end, let's call it a week with this much attitude and a few more start and end with a gentler touch, that was our life...

  The colors on days like these are totally eye candy! Look to the horizon in any direction and some would say they see nothing... "there's nothin' out there." I invite you to look a little closer with me... if you're ever on the open ocean for any amount of time you'll find comfort in the constant hum of the engines vibrating your everything all the time. Or whistles in your sails accompanied with a faithful list... while this holds true inside the ship and out the real action's outside the comforts of your heavenly vessel! It's an entirely different world! 

Head Chef, Gerardo, getting after it!
  My favorite setting can only be found on nasty days. Days when the winds wail and moan without anything blocking it's momentum, days when you stand outside and you'd swear your ears were being set aflame, albeit there's no fire in sight. All around you in every direction the magician of our most mysterious element is putting on a show, and you are the guest of honor! Looking beyond the sheer magnitude of vast water, patterns blossom before your eyes, like paint streaks careening downward seeking perfect level, the snakes have come to great you. The white veins appear to move faster than the deep blue contrast can travel, while by the millions the great one lifts her white-caps to us... hats off friend. I find these days to be most beautiful and can feel my soul singing when she shows me what's she got...

  Few living things have evolved to withstand such splendiferous domains and the few that have are a striking breed. Ancient mariners believed that when a sailor died his soul was reincarnated as an Albatross, and the light-mantled Sooty Albatross is by far and away the sexiest bird on the southern ocean! Maybe the wilsons Storm Petrel can hold a flicker of a flame when they dance on the waters surface to attract plankton for supper... maybe.

  Without boring you to death I'll wrap it up before the giant hook comes to pull me off your attentive stage. I live at the very front of the ship just below the main-deck of the bow. It's taken me a few sleepless nights to get used to the thunderous discharge the anchor emits when contacting the side of the hull... don't worry this is the way she was built. But Seriously, it's probably the loudest disturbance I've ever had the pleasure of sleeping next to.  I think the only thing that may come as close to being a noisily disruptive is a fucking drive-by! Pardon my french...

  With all this being said, she's a good ship and she fills me with joy more and more each day. The layout is full of nooks and crannies galore and heaps of deck space as she used to carry a couple choppers for passenger excursions. This season I'll be down here until the start of February when my other-other life takes over and I begin to balance... balance is the key you know.

  To get in touch with me on the ship you can send word to - BTW, I didn't choose the intro, it chose me. If you have pictures or longer emails please send those to my gmail account and I'll retrieve those on port days... but please don't hesitate to say hello as I like hearing from you!

  Be good to yourself and those around you, and save a hug for me the until the next time we meet. And as a friend of mine once told me... dream huge, dance crazy, be luminous... let yourself shine the way you know how!