An arms length away

February 27, 2016

”Oops, I just accidently bumped into your butt there!” Whitney and Caroline are standing on deck, arranging their stuff in the backpacks while trying not to fall overboard.  We are twelve women on a 72 foot boat, and bumping into one another is unavoidable. I constantly have an eXXpedition girl within reach when I stretch out an arm, a leg or my butt.

Some of these women I am bumping into are sailors. They have their sea legs built in from birth, and they know which rope does what. There are plus/minus threehundredandfiftyseven different ropes and lines on this ship, and you never know what happens if you pull one of them. The safest thing is to wait for The Shanley to let you know which one to pull or release, and when you are not pulling or releasing anything you put your butt safely in the cockpit.

For some of us, this is the first real out-on-the-sea- sailing experience. In between the many moments of magic, there have been moments of puke. The good thing about living on a small space is that there is always a hand close enough to hold your hair, pass your water bottle or give an encouraging tap on the back.

And I have never had a better view while throwing up in my life.

The full moon have been lighting up our Caribbean nights. It normally comes out together with the dinner around six, and keeps us company until the last night watch is finished in the morning. Between the puking, this is when the magic happens. There are some amazing stories hiding in the lives of these eXXpedition women, and some stars and a cup of ginger tea is just what they need to find their way out.

Every night I climb into my top bunk. I accidently put my right foot on Caroline’s thigh in the bottom bunk, give Marika a close up meeting with my tummy when passing the second bunk, and eventually throw myself smoothly (sort of) into the top bunk. It is the smallest dorm I have ever slept in, and the sleep has never been better.

After a few days on Sea Dragon I have learned that there can be only two people cooking food in the galley at a time. My hands know exactly where to hold on when I make my way to the heads (toilets) at night, and together we have figured out a system of squeezing past each other in the narrow hallways. We have also learned that on eXXpedition a hand or a hug is just an arm’s length away.  

When we get home I don’t have to think about bumping into people anymore. I will be sleeping in a 120 bed, and there will be no one sleeping in a bunk right next to me. But if I reach out my hand or shout out an idea, there will still be twelve eXXpedition girls answering. And that is pretty cool. And glorious.

by Sigrid Skjerdal

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