This word has multiple meanings, and not all are applicable. It comes loaded with sexual and moral connotations.
But at rock bottom it means pertaining to, inclined to, or preoccupied with the gratification of the senses or appetites.
When I'm on the boat I am first and foremost a sensual creature.
I smell and taste the salt
air, the kelp beds, the baking of bread in the galley
. I hear the seagulls. My skin feels the cold damp air of a winter's day, the chill of the wind
, the sun's warmth in the summer. The boat she talks to me. I search out her every whisper and respond immediately, whatever her concern might be. I obsess over the interface between the two fluid mediums, air and water
, which suspends my vessel. My equilibrium can feel the sea state without looking, a lurch sends me topsides to assess. I know in a heartbeat when the rhythm of the diesel
is wrong, the crack of a sail off, when the thud of a log on the keel
announces its presence. My berth near the anchor
chain allows me to subconsciously hear its dialogue all night and wake instantly if it's not right. I detect the quality of the set through my foot, the amount of weatherhelm through my hands. I sweat to raise sail, raise anchor
, raise hell. Who can deny that food
tastes best afloat, beer
more satisfying after a brisk sail? My sleep at anchor is nothing short of profound.
My senses are more engaged at sea than any other time of my life. I become completely sensual. It is the antidote to the damn computer on which I now type.