Saturday, 25 June 2011

waking up to Halifax



Whoever said that hell is a pit of fire was a fool. It is a pit full of water! Violent, unforgiving, disheartening water, with traces of our vomit floating on the surface. And yep, we've gone through it again. 
After a week hiatus in Sh├ędiac, NB we crept slowly but steadily towards Canso Strait and the open Atlantic beyond it. Another work week was approaching, and we still haven't made it anywhere near Halifax. We had no choice but to press on, despite severe weather warnings and poor visibility due to fog on Sunday morning. What's a crew to do? We braced ourselves for a few rough days of sailing, and resigned to the miserable state of relentless seasickness. The sea convulsed with mad determination for over 18 hours, by the end of which, if we weren't sleeping, we were sitting around with vacant expressions on our faces. Having left the remainder of our lunch from the day before overboard, our stomachs felt a bit more settled, but the discomfort of having our brains scrambled in the constant tossing persisted. Time, in a traditional sense, almost ceases to exist when you're under such extreme conditions. Your body and mind fall into a rhythmic pattern of their own, regulated by the frequency and intensity of the waves. Your ability to move, see or even think and speak are determined by the movement of the boat on the water. Sometimes it's hard to do much more than sit still and contemplate the body's ability to withstand such abuse. But it does, sometimes more gracefully than others, but it does. The human spirit has an incredible ability to tolerate adversity, especially when the end of it is scheduled to arrive with the first light of day. Once we cleared the Cape of Canso and turned westerly along the Nova Scotia coast conditions improved. By midday Monday the seas beneath us calmed, winds veered in our favour, and we looked forward to a smooth sail into the night and the following morning. At 3 am, just as the first sign of daylight seeped in from the East, the glow of metropolitan Halifax appeared in the West, like a second sunrise. It seemed like a dream. We reached the harbour around 8 am, and by midday we crossed Bedford Basin, where we pulled into the Bedford Basin Yacht Club, our new home for the summer. 

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