On a surface the ocean is empty. The water becomes greyer the further you sail. If the sky is cloudy, the dark blue of cold Atlantic dissolves. On a surface the landscape is flat. Your eyes adjust, trying to take in the emptiness and vastness of this new world, unfolding in front of you. The land slowly becomes smaller and less visible. The grass and the redness of the roofs disappear, softening on the morning sky. The ocean is opening itself, allowing you to sail through; still calm and sure you will not be able to steal its secrets.
The sense of freedom is mesmerizing…
You trust your boat to take you to another haven; you trust the ocean to let you pass. When all the signs of civilizations are left behind, you suddenly discover that you do not miss them that much. You gain not lose, your feelings refreshed and strangely unfamiliar, with a hint of excitement slowly dissolving.
Each passage is a different story. Each wave a surprise. The gulls decline in numbers, letting the sailors abandon them and the land. You are switching from the engine to the sails, employing the wind and praying it will not change or disappoint. Your head uplifted, your eyes observant, focused on the sails and the wind bilging its surface, perfect harmony of human and nature.
A day becomes a night…
The sun is touching the horizon and invites the darkness. The vastness of the ocean suddenly shrinks, outlined only by the strength of your eyes in the twilight. Sometimes the sky is red, like an open gate to hell, beautiful and dangerous. Sometimes it’s gold, cold and demanding, but equally charming and promising the better morning. The wind is faster now, colder and stronger, but still helping you out in cutting the ocean with the tip of your prow.
Your shift partner is making a cup of tea in the galley to keep you warm.
Your hands hold on to the steering wheel like there is nothing left. At four in the morning the wind is the most curious, probing under your layers, like it’s trying to count how many wraps you are under, how far your body has been hidden. The tea is a blessing, chasing the coldness away.
The Atlantic Ocean is an unforgettable place. Respect it and you will be awarded with a perfect morning and helpful wind, with a gentle splash of the waves touching your broadsides, rocketing the boat in a friendly way. The gulls will be back the closer to the land you get, sometimes fast asleep on the surface, not bothered by wind and coldness in the air. The land will arise on the horizon, and the ocean will let you through, accepting that for a moment you are going to disappear. But just for a moment… It knows that sooner or later you will be back.