Monday, October 13, 2008

double Dutch

I'll enter again a time of radio silence, as I head out to sea after a hiatus on land. I'm in Dutch Harbor now, sitting in the only spot I've found so far with public wifi access, and in the background is a bar filled with Deadliest Catch people. They are filming in the hotel bar, making everyone sign releases before entering. Nothing against the show, but for now at least, I remain outside.

Dutch Harbor is unbelievably beautiful. Not the town so much, as the architecture remains the boxy functional crap that seems to be all the rage in Alaska, but the buildings are fewer and the landscape more dramatic and much closer. It doesn't simple fill the background, towering behind all the strip malls like in Anchorage; the town is stretched along the water at the base of mountains and hills here.

There are ravens everywhere, particularly around the hill I have to pass to walk to my boat. They make fun clicks and whistles and do a rolling dive when I go past; I'm not certain this has anything to do with my presence or is just something they like to do, but I'll pretend it is for me. I haven't spotted any eagles yet.

I got placed on my boat today. I make it a point to not discuss my actual job, as we all know that blogging about work is a recipe for disaster (even if temptingly cathartic), but I'll say that however much the Bering Sea is a more threatening body of water than the balmy expanse of the Pacific around Hawaii, I still think this is going to be a smoother ride than anything I've every experienced. Compared to what I'm used to, this boat is huge and amazingly clean and seemingly stable. I'm psyched. And most importantly, no smoking indoors! If you ever want to puke your guts out, shut yourself up in a floating prison with bad ventilation and chain smokers. Thankfully that does not describe my upcoming trip. Just being on the boat felt good. I'm anxious to get out on the water. Time on land has been nice, but I'm in work mode now, and there is something comforting about the water. It calms me and makes me feel, for a while, balanced. I'm really good at relaxing anytime anywhere, but most of the time on land I'm faking it. Not faking it so much as forcing it: I can sit and be calm, but I have to fight to achieve it, constantly fighting back nagging reminders of all the things I should be doing and need to get done. This is impossible at sea. I can think of things I wish I was doing and want to do, but not things that I should be doing. My tasks are limited and demand to be done when they present themselves, so no lost hours procrastinating. Reading here is not procrasting, it is its own task demanding its own time.

There is much I'll miss while out at sea, but I'm looking forward to the recharge.

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