A noble sailor once asked me how was the life for me on ship? And in reply to the same question he said “Well, being here has its own charm but it has its own disadvantages as well, I am a father of three and that’s mine!!!”
This made me think that just like the changing colour of ocean each day, both sailors and their queens have phases in their sailing life that leads us into turmoil of various emotions: happiness, sadness, nostalgia, love, loneliness, peace, excitement, anxiety etc. So I thought of devoting this article to all these various emotions that people at sea face at the time of sailing. I am writing this article from both sailors and their queen’s point of view; what I have felt, noticed and observed. Being closely surrounded by sailors, I thought of penning down this post. And As when you are on board, you are not less than a sailor- Seriously!
Just like that sailor said; being at sea has its charm. You are out of the fast pacing city life into something that is peaceful for your nerves and mind. You don’t have to undergo any unnecessary formality or responsibility and enjoy your freedom to the core. But is being free without everyone is enough?
Here comes my first emotion. Yes I agree that you have your sailor by your side and he has you, but if you notice carefully, he is busy all day!! Either in engine or on watch he keeps doing one thing or another. Even in room his mind isn’t at ease and you never know when he is gonna get a call from Engineer or the Captain. Yes for officer’s wife it is a bit easy to go on bridge and enjoy the view knowing that he is nearby, but for engineer’s wife it is difficult to be present at engine room at all times.
Also non presence of any other girl on board makes your stomach roll as girls don’t have anyone to talk to!! Can you imagine?!!!! Same goes with other sailors. Think about times when you are not there with him or about others sailors who are not sailing with their better halves on board. After coming from work, all they have is a lonely cabin. Time difference makes it more complicated, as when they are free, you might be sleeping and vice versa.
Next comes the internet. That’s our second best option to keep us busy and connected but that also is either very slow or fully absent. In this era of advanced technology, sometimes you think what is so advanced about this internet?!! If it is good then you can have a chat with your family and friends or you can share some pictures and enjoy their comments.
Or you can download some good books to give a read or some games that you can play. But if it is not good then you just stare at those circles rolling and curse your phone. This really shows the emotion of anger in you. And TV: don’t we all miss that- Favorite shows, songs, new movies, trailers etc. Internet is one of the most important medium to connect a sailor to its family and for the family to check out the face or voice of the sailor.
Sometimes the sailing schedule falls on all the important big festivals at your home place during which you are not at home but at sea. Since sailing under an International flag has Christmas and cakes but sometimes you miss out on your own local festivities. That’s when you undergo a feeling of nostalgia. You miss your mom’s preparation for the festival and what she used to cook and how you used to dress up and go to various places. You miss the aura of the environment at your home place. But I see it in a different way.
Being at home without your sailor and celebrate these festivals alone is much more difficult. Even thinking about him that he is all alone there and I am celebrating with everyone gives me creeps. So I overcome this nostalgia on board by involving him and the crew into the spirit of festivals on board. Not just I, seeing other sailors celebrating their birthdays, anniversaries alone on board without their better half and kids by their side make me emotional. How can they endure such sentiments alone, so far away from family and friends and yet having a smile on their faces just by celebrating with fellow crew members.
Now that Mom word appeared, I miss the food and I guess every sailor does too. Being the master of our own kitchen and cooking in our own style makes us ladies very critical (good or bad) about the cooking on board. Some chefs are awesome as they cook as per your taste and they involve you in their kitchen or if you ask them to cook something they take pride in doing that. Others own the kitchen. Their kitchen their rules!! So it becomes a necessary evil to eat whatever is offered on the table. That makes you miss the food you enjoy at the luxury of your home. So many sailors on board miss the local delicacies and customs, even if they are spending Christmas on board.
Also port stays are sometimes not exactly how you plan them. When you wanted to go out and do some shopping, right at that time the stay is too short or in the middle of the night that all your plans go to waste. That brings frustration. Again at times your sailor is busy with his watch that either you go out alone or with other crew members or you don’t go out at all. Same goes with the sailors as well. They are not sure of anything. Their plans are often spoiled by delays, anchorage, odd timings, watch timings etc.
But at last, even if sea doesn’t always offer what we want, but hey who guarantee a total happiness when you are at home celebrating and eating all the delicacies without your sailor or your sailor enjoying the shore leaves alone eating in a restaurant on port and thinking of you. Some part of you also goes to sailing when he is gone and some part of him is left at home when he goes away. So make the most of it when you are as a whole together. You are at the right place at the right time and you better enjoy it with all the positivity that it has to offer. But remember, going through all these emotions is what makes us human and remind us the importance of each other!!