Comox to Port Hardy. 24 hours, 170.3 nautical miles (Part II)
As I woke up each time, I could feel the world getting rougher and admit that I was getting more and more concerned about my turn on the helm. At 3:45am I was woken by a tap on my foot and I emerged from my latest “borrowed” berth, donned all the gear I had taken off, and then up to helm.
It felt like I was steering a boat into some unknowable limbo composed of black water, black sky, and black land with a few little coloured light-dots scattered about, navigating around unseen obstacles. Even though you can’t see many of those obstacles during the day, night time magnifies the feeling of helplessness.
When helming at night, your sole reference is really the compass just in front of the wheel. So compounding the lack of visibility outside the boat is the fact that you are not even looking outside the boat. You’re simply staring at the compass and keeping the boat pointed in the direction that the navigator has ordered.
Slowly the sky lightened. Our first watch has the sun set and the morning watch had the sun coming up. Despite the tension, they were both magical times.
We arrive at Port Hardy at approximately 8:00am, 26 hours after departing we pull into the dock. It’s like a war zone in the salon, bodies strewn all over the place along with bits of kit, and crew not at the sharpest as we get the boat ready to be docked.
We spent the rest of the day recovering and relaxing, not to mention showers and laundry. You know you’ve been at sea long enough when the prospect of a shower is so good that you’re willing to pay 5.00 for a cold shower (though if I had known it was cold, I’d have taken one back on the boat).