“I’d have a passport full of stamps rather than having a bag full of perfumes”. One of the few perks of being the wife of a sailor – globetrotting and an opportunity to see three-fourth of the part of the world that not too many people have an access to. Reminiscing the amazing time I spent the first time I went on voyage, I decided why not pen it down! I remember right from where it all began – the call from my husband’s company asking me to join him onboard.
My Maiden Voyage: The Special One
The thought of being with my sailor got my nerves cracking with excitement as I raced to post my passport and started arranging the rest of the formalities for joining. Clearing my medicals, shopping for essentials, cleaning out my suitcase, making a list of things I would require while being away from land became the norm for that week! The excitement just took over every bit of my steamed up energy and soon it was time for me to head to the airport along with the relieving Chief Officer. We had a long flight from Mumbai to Ancona, a port city in Italy including two breaks in Dubai and Rome.
Reaching the vessel was an adventure by itself. Right from racing to the airline gate in Dubai’s humungous airport and then further reaching Rome and missing our outbound flight in Rome due to language barriers and miscommunications in the final leg of our journey! The wait to see my sailor seemed endless! Every minute passed by like something that almost felt close to an hour. It was my husband’s birthday two days later and now I was a day short. I secretly prayed hoping to be with him on that special day and not missing it out after getting so close. Soon we reached Ancona and my heart raced as we headed by boat towards the magnificent oil tanker! As we approached the ship, to add to my trepidation, a flimsy rope ladder was suddenly let down as the ship kept moving on. I was asked to climb the so-called ‘Pilot Ladder’! I had never climbed a ladder before let alone, a ladder made of jute! The waves added a little more to my concerns as it kept swelling up to a height I could barely imagine today! I looked up at the target I had to achieve and then at the Chief Officer giving him one of those flabbergasted look of fear of just falling in between. A series of speculations kept crossing my mind like ‘What if the ladder snaps? What if I lose balance?’ and many more possible perils! Seeing the panic in my eyes, I was given the option of joining in the next port, however, after coming this far I had no intention of losing even a single minute of not seeing my sailor boy especially a day prior to his birthday! I shut my ears, avoided looking around and just started making my way up the ladder!
‘I made it!’. The feeling was sheer bliss for a person like me who got a phobia looking down even from the first floor of a building and there I was climbing something that almost felt like five storey higher! I was welcomed with a big applause from the crew and it was a feeling I could never let go off. (What a daredevil I was, I chuckled to myself). Seeing my sailor onboard after so long made me go red. I made my way to my husband’s cabin…my home for the next few months and thus began a voyage of my life.
The Further Journey On My Voyage
We had a party for celebrating my husband’s birthday the next day. It was the first time we were celebrating together ever since we got married and that meant a lot to me! With a profession like this, one needed to compromise on dates and the celebration just gets shelved till the day you’re together again with your sailor! But when you are lucky, there are also days when you are together and the feeling is just immensely delectable! Whoever said love fades with passing time… wives of sailors sure do prove them wrong!
My days at sea went by watching movies, reading and exploring the ship. I was given a tour of every single wing of the ship – the engine room, the bridge, the galley. I was introduced to the team who handled such a huge vessel and that really made me wonder…HOW?!! I used to watch all the sailors perform their fire drills (which got me thrilled being a part of it); their lifeboat checks and that suddenly made me realize the amount of hard work that went into maintaining and handling a ship. Life was definitely not a bed of roses and my respect for all sailors just went a step further after that experience. It was sleepless nights every time the alarm went or some machinery that required maintenance or during loading and discharging operations. It definitely was an uphill battle and not as glamorous as people perceive it to be. Money onboard isn’t easy money…believe me!
I also got to visit port cities of which I had probably never even heard of or explored much. Only at sea can you experience the best sunsets and the most beautiful sunrise. There were times I would spot dolphins racing along, making leaps, leaps that were so similar to what I had in my heart, times when I would just stand on the bridge wing, taking in the nice, cool breeze as the ship moves. Star Gazing became a hobby. One cannot imagine how exquisite nature can get in the midst of a beautiful ocean surrounded by nothing but water just as if in a dream. It is something every wife of a mariner must experience.
At the end of those few months, I had no desire to get off that ship but all good things had to come to an end. Goodbyes are hard but saying goodbye to the ocean for me was the hardest. We signed off together at Gibraltar and made our way back home carrying in my mind some of the best moments I would treasure for the rest of my life. Moments that I would always keep so close to my heart and I look forward to such an opportunity again!
My first voyage created a monograph so deeply etched in the deepest zone of my mind and my heart which I can never ever forget and I then realized that it’s no wonder why the wife of a mariner is termed as a “Queen” because while onboard or away, you’re not treated anybody less than her majesty herself!
|This Story belongs to Sailor Queen ‘Pallavi’. She hails from colorful country India. She is an avid writer who loves to try her mind and pen whenever she gets time. A lover of country music. She is related to the banking sector. Do you have anything to ask her? Please comment below. If you also want to share your story, please drop a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org|