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Surfing Soapbox: Enduring tough times at sea

December 09, 2010|By James Pribram

I hit the wall Tuesday, hard, after being on watch Monday morning from 6 a.m. to noon and again from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. I awoke feeling groggy, tired and grumpy. The fast-paced drizzle, gray and cold skies didn't help matters much. It only feeds into this feeling of isolation.

The bad weather has returned. If our sailboat were a pinball machine, we would have been on full tilt days ago. Right now, as I write, we are stuck on the port side (left) doing just more than 6 knots in 30 plus knots winds. Both my thighs show battle wounds with a patch of bruises on both sides. On my last watch, I took at least 10 waves in the face with my entire outerwear outfit soaked. At least I didn't get washed across the deck again.

Sleep has not come easy on this trip. I'm lucky if I get five hours of sleep a night. I'm pretty much hungry at all times, and the water at times tastes like a mix between salt water and sulfur. It's 11:45 p.m. right now, and I am back on watch from 2 to 6 a.m. which makes me cringe just thinking about it. It's been two days since I have showered and my smell is more than ripe. After awhile, showering and using the toilet while trying to stay upright in the stormy seas gets tiresome.

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It's 48 hours and counting until we hit Cape Town, South Africa, and we are at least a day and a half behind schedule, on what feels like one of those amusement rides that you just can't get off of quick enough. In all honesty, I just wish I could take a nap and wake up when we get there. My patience is so thin that I forget what the word means. Sometimes I just want to scream at the top of my lungs while clenching my fists,

I'm not sure relationships were built to endure such strain. But who knows, at this point I am second guessing everything.

The only place that I find any sort of succor is on deck when I put on my headphones and fade away thinking of life at home and seeing in my mind my family celebrating my father's 84th birthday, daydreaming of a good meal and a nice glass of wine (or 10?). Happy birthday, Dad.

I have to hand it to this crew, because to endure more than 29 days of this is nothing short of people showing their true ECO-Warrior spirit.

Peace.

JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer and John Kelly Environmental Award winner. His websites include AlohaSchoolofSurfing and ECOWarrior Surf.com. He can be reached at Jamo@Aloha SchoolofSurfing.com.

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