Sunday, December 25, 2011

Changes of Scenery

Christmas Day, I'm sitting in San Juan Airport waiting for my next flight and I thought that I would try and make a post about something that's been on my mind for some time.

I'm sure that many of you think that the scenery must get awful booring when making an offshore passage. Oh sure, you've probably heard that the ocean looks different each day or even throughout the same day, but how different can that really be? It's not, after all, like driving around the USA, where the scenery changes constantly. It must get awful old.

Well I have to tell you that while I certainly welcome and even prefer the variety of land based scenery, a funny thing happens to me whenever I sail offshore. I don't know if others experience this or not. Now it doesn't happen when I take a cruise has to be from the more intimate setting of a small boat where your connection to your surroundings is much more intense. Let me try to explain.

You might look at a map of our trip, or of the Atlantic, and just see one big ocean... To me however our trip was broken up into... Well let's call them neighborhoods for lack of a better word. Areas where the scenery was similar... At least to me.

Sailing from Gibraltar to the Canaries you might recall that I commented on the reddish haze caused by the fine sands blown off the Sahara. This gave that whole portion of the trip a particular ambience if you will.... This was one neighborhood.

For the first 12 days or so of the long leg to Grenada we had strong winds of 25 knots and greater. This built up big seas with breaking tops, the whole sea was a mass of whitecaps, the sea was a beautiful deep blue during the midday, the top curls of the breaking waves would occasionally show that beautiful translucent blue spot, and the sky was dotted with fair weather trade wind clouds.... This was another neighborhood.

For about 36 hrs or so we were in an area of heightened squall activity. Looking ahead a few miles or so, sometimes you would see a line of dark clouds that stretched down to the sea blotting out the horizon. You knew that you were going to have to penetrate that storm and best be ready for whatever it intended to dish out. Other times there would be a little break between the dark clouds... A small passageway to the light area just on the other side.

One time in this squally area there was a long line of flat clouds crossing our path. As we passed under them they looked like some sort of heavenly highway overpass that we were passing under. This 36hr period became another one of my Atlantic neighborhoods.

There were several more on the trip. Each some distinct change in the scenery. Each sharing some intangible quality that caused my mind to group this section together. Mind you - this was not a conscious choice on my part. It was only after we left that neighborhood that I started to remember it as one.

Each of the offshore passages that I've made in my life have always self organized in my mind this way. I've made a dozen or so and it was always the same.

So.... No the scenery never gets boring for me. It's always changing quite dramatically.

Greg Kerlin

Sent from my iPad


  1. Welcome home Greg...back to our neighborhood! I'm glad you experienced a memorable journey and am relieved that you're home safe.

  2. Very interesting perspective, Greg. Looking forward to reading through the blog entries, and try to live the experience through you.

    Welcome back....

    Bob Vaniglia


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