The Crew: (08 Mar, 2001):
We are not ashamed to say, however, that we find none of the above difficulties as daunting as the distress we fear as a consequence of our long separation from hearth and home, friends and family, and the comforts attendant thereto. Both skipper and crew live lives full of the common pleasures and amusements. Neither has a bone to pick with the world, nor the desire to bitterly rid himself of the problems of contemporary life. Perhaps the adventure will make homesickness moot, but perhaps not. We just have no way of knowing, and for this in particular we have no emergency back-up plan.
Quite obviously, we don't know anyone like that, but for better or worse, there's no test to take or certification to acquire if one is inclined to undertake this sort of thing. So we're just going to do it ourselves.
Our crew, Terry Shrode, is one of those stouthearted men about whom you've heard; and indeed one would have to search the pages of fiction to find a companion more boon than he. Unperturbed by the prospect of going to the foredeck in a gale, tracking down a fuel leak, or loading 2000 pounds of fuel, water, and provisions aboard, he is withal a steadfast, gentle soul never prone to utter a discouraging word. Men, I have observed, are never named Faith, or Hope, or Charity. But Terry steadfastly exhibits all three.
About your correspondant, the captain, the less said the better, though it might be argued that his success in enlisting Mr. Shrode in this endeavor is a point in his favor.
As for onboard routine, it is natural to ask, "What do you do at night? Do you just go to sleep?"
Entertainments at sea are rather limited. Although conditions can change abruptly, the typical experience is hour after hour of similar weather, where little needs to be done so far as trimming sails and adjusting the course are concerned. Steering will be done by hand only in harbor and close to shore, assuming that the vane and autopilot work. Navigation, of course, will be a daily and sometimes hourly job depending on how close we are to land. It is a pleasure when the weather is good and the boat is moving well but not so jolly as conditions deteriorate, at which very time it is necessary to attend to it the more diligently. We will have books, musical instruments, a stereo, and the computer. We'll be talking on the radio with other boats and stations on land and will be emailing you with the latest dish. We'll have a fishing line out. But the vast majority of the time, there will be nothing to do.
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