Routine is a subjective concept. In our slow pace across the Philippine Sea to Palau, we are developing a “routine”, albeit a sleepy one. For the past two days, the seas have been choppy causing the boat to rock rock, roll left, roll right, rock rock. The constant motion of the boat saps our energy and all jobs are conducted as if by tortoises.
The one constant in our routine is “the watch”. Three times a day, for a two hour stretch, the designated person is on watch. The watches, distributed four days ago, follow the same order; Brian is on 12-2 am, 8-10 am, 4-6 pm; John follows at 2-4 am, 10-12 noon, and 6-8 pm; next is my shift at 4-6 am, 12-2 pm, and 8-10 pm; and Jenny has the final set 6-8 am, 2-4 pm, and 10-12 midnight. The watch requires vigilance for other vessels, rain squalls, spotting those barbarous FAD’s, dolphin sighting, and engine gage observation. While the group is not fussed about much of anything, watch is a precise and punctual moment that is scrupulously maintained. While not officially handed off in military style, the changing of the guard is nonetheless ritualized. It is our routine.
Otherwise, our day is made up of sleeping, drinking copious amounts of water, occasional eating of noodles, granola, or egg salad sandwiches, staring out at an endless sea that is never quite the same from day to day. Reading, writing emails, studying navigation systems, re-organizing the iPod song collection are less popular activities since they require looking down. Before long one is unpleasantly reminded of the constant rocking of the boat.
Due to sea conditions, we have slowed down and we do not anticipate Palau until Tuesday, our time. Everyone looks forward to something different in Palau, Jenny wants to eat out a local restaurant, Brian hopes to snorkel and see giant clams (don’t stick your finger in!), John plans to swim in Jellyfish Lake, and I want to look for Palau storyboards. Just 48 hours to go.
October 30, 2011
UTC Time 06:38
Local Time 2:38 pm
Coordinates 09 11.20 N 131 33.32 E