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July 11, 2016

A boat is never completely at rest

BY: Rubén González



It is 3 am, and for me a new day has already started. The rest of the staff are sleeping peacefully, rocked gently by the waves on a calm summer night, which has allowed us to float adrift to the east of Malta after finishing work with the ROVs. I say “goodnight” to my colleague who has been on watch and is eager to grab a few minutes of sleep in the quiet of the night, but not before informing me about what has happened during his two hours on duty. Some stormy nights in winter, when I’m at home and I wake up to enjoy the storm looking out of the window, I think of a sailor out in this harsh sea, frozen to the bone and soaked to the skin, without having slept or eaten anything decent for hours, in the cockpit battered by the wind, waves and rain, clutching the wheel and trying to establish the direction from which most water is coming by sticking out his tongue to see if fresh or salt water predominates. And sometimes I am that fellow, and I look at the lights of the houses and imagine myself looking out of the window, from the warmth of my home … It’s a tough addiction, and those who suffer and enjoy it at the same time deserve respect. Now I’m going to start the engines and disturb everyone’s peace and quiet. It’s my turn to perform this unpopular task, to carry out a bathymetry of the area that we will explore with the ROV. In a few hours everyone will wake up and daily life will resume on the Ranger. Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy what remains of my solitude.