To the lonely sea and the sky, I left my shoes and socks there, I wonder if they’ll be dry.
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.
Steering a tall ship at night by compass is tiring, watching a dimly lit needle sit exactly on the number you want sends you cross-eyed and after a while you can lose concentration and follow the needle around full circle.
Disconcerting for all on board who suddenly find sails flogging and a ship heading the wrong way.
The solution since Pontius was a pilot, is to select a star which matches the desired heading and all you have to do is keep that star in line with the masthead. Much more relaxing and you have about half an hour before needing to select another as they journey across the dark.
Ship crews are becoming button pushing automatons whose knowledge of weather conditions is relayed by instruments on an air-conditioned bridge. Watch keeping is reliant on radar and the voyage is completed using tons of ever diminishing fossil fuel.
Worse is the enforced cattle class of fare paying passengers. Not on ships but on aircraft. Long distance passenger ships were scrapped with the last of the P&O, Sitmar and Chandris liners in the early ‘80’s. Not economically viable.
Here I am marooned in the Antipodes and the only way to return to civilization is to submit to the interior of an aluminium tube and suffer 24 hours of DVT inducing cramp in a recycled virus laden atmosphere. If lucky, the adjacent seat won’t be occupied by an obese, snoring creature overflowing into my personal space. Maybe I won’t have to tolerate the drunk or screaming baby and I might even be given a seat by the exit to stretch my longer than average legs. Perhaps I won’t need to queue for the toilet and find on entering that the floor is covered in used paper towels and whatever liquid on the floor has soaked through my socks. I once forgot to wear shoes to the hellhole.
Gone are the days when I could visit the front office to relieve the monotony of trying to peer through a bogseat shaped peephole for a glimpse of blue. That was only if I was lucky enough to have the window seat, more likely I’m sat next to some prick who’s shut the blind to play with his ipad. Bad enough that there’s no longer a smoking section, 9/11 etc now prevents me even sharing a smoke with the crew. Shock horror ! Smoking pilots what a travesty. Hang them, flog them, force feed them Nicorettes.
If, perish the thought, I board a flying machine, I’ll have to suffer a full 24 hours of close proximity to people intent on instructing foreigners how fucken wonderful Strya is. I don’t know why they bother leaving, they certainly don’t shut up long enough to learn anything. Four weeks at sea just has to be better than a single day of that. And now we come to the problem, even a cargo ship requires booking two years in advance and is more expensive than a cruise liner.
Escaping the Great Southern Gobshites as a passenger is only possible by queuing up at an airport. You can’t even get a boat INTO the country anymore without being thrown behind bars and bullied by the world’s most pig ignorant law enforcers.
Wouldn’t it be marvellous to board a ship that actually goes somewhere, to have the joy of the voyage and arrive at a chosen destination and even better…if it was powered by sail.
There’s no port in the world that isn’t visually improved by the arrival of a tall ship. Do we really have to suffer an aviation monopoly to travel somewhere?
The photos are an example of what can be achieved, not just for millionaires floating around the Caribbean but for people who are prepared to spend a bit extra rather than fly. That ship can be managed by 20 crew and I’m sure with a specific design agenda, could manage with so few that their wages would be offset by not burning fuel.
Electric technology has advanced to the point that a wind turbine could charge batteries and extra charge created by variable pitch screws used both for charging and propulsion. Solar technology has given us a thin film which could coat that enormous sail area and charge in the absence of wind.
Climate change is a reality but adapting can improve our lives in every way. Getting a lungful of petrol fumes and exhaust doesn’t have to be mandatory for modern travel. Aussie Sheila can breathe the fumes of her gas guzzling, black Toorak Tractor on the way to the airport for the obligatory Chrissie shoppie in Melbie.
I’d prefer to stand on the deck of an ocean clipper puffing a cigar and knowing that at my destination I won’t have to listen to her whining, hypocritical lecture on what her over-indulged, asthmatic, screaming little shits are breathing.
Leaving behind maturing natural vegetation created from a leeched, weed infested paddock, has made me a pariah in a colony intent on burning, slashing and speculating. How they love handing koalas to Putin but the trees they inhabit are felled with impunity. It’s called eco-tourism. Tourists pay for hotels built on clear-felled land, koalas don’t.
Once I’ve left this parochial, xenophobic land of $ grabbing, domineering Bronwyn Bishops, the only way I could be persuaded to return is at the helm of my own clipper, importing cigars from Cuba and only long enough to wipe my arse on their plastic money.... I too can dream.
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking,
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.