There are a few categories of scary stuff for me at sea:
1) Things in the tropics: revolving storms which change course capriciously, poisonous fish
, blood poisoning and diseases and parasitic infestations ... for some reason, my brain interprets threats like these as malevolent, plus my body HATES excess heat.
2) Things to do with thin water
: land, shoals, reefs
3) Things to do with top predators: mainly the two legged variety, especially those with a state-delegated or self-appointed monopoly on violence, and not necessarily in the third world ... and, of course, cruisers who enthuse about guns
I am remarkably philosophical about weather (outside the tropics) because I manage to not take it personally. And I am lucky with my relative freedom from seasickness, which becomes almost absolute when I'm on long trips, even coastally. I never cease to be astonished at, and grateful for this fortune, and it would be churlish not to demonstrate my gratitude and make use of my fortune by aiming to spend the maximum possible time at sea (consistent with designing and building the means to do so).
So ... I steer clear of item 1) pretty religiously, although I'm prepared to make a beeline between hemispheres, far from land and pirates, outside the hurricane
Item 2) I also steer clear of, trying for a balance consistent with not having a miserable time, but this often creates interesting tensions when sailing with others to whom the proximity of land is a source of psychological support.
And I do find it truly delightful when a rare weather pattern (in my part of the world) means that wind direction over most of the Tasman can be virtually guaranteed to remain from the east for several days, allowing sailing down, say, the highly interesting west coasts of any of the main islands of NZ for extended distances, close inshore: it's rare and precious, like eating a forbidden fruit ...
Item 3) Is a problem more in theory than in practice, in my experience. I do have to confess though, some decades ago, I was surprised when what I mistook to be dolphins
arrowing towards our little boat turned out to be comparable in size with it.
I unexpectedly found my ribs freezing up with a primal fear unlike anything before or since, but once I realised they were just checking us out, I gradually regained normal function.
In theory, I should probably add Fog
, as I quite often still sail on boats without radar
, and in any case I hate having only one line of defence, but AIS
has become a damn good complement, and shipping
is kinda seldom, most places I like sailing.
In any case, up until now I have been astonisingly lucky not to encounter fog
in conjunction with one of my listed scary things, touch wood...
- - - - -
I still find the sea horizon magnetic and enchanting, and most times I'm sailing out of a harbour at the start of a coastal passage I almost have to win an internal tussle in order not to just carry straight on.
I find it mindbending to think that the individual molecules of water rushing past the hull
have been absolutely EVERYWHERE with a coastline.
Similarly mindbending is to reflect that the boat sailing "back" in, while most probably it just left from my same departure point a few hours or days before, nevertheless MIGHT not have touched land since leaving weeks, months or theoretically years ago, from pretty much any of those same places water comes from, and goes to ...