N 23°29.08, W 151°31.72’
Sounds, Noises, a Cacophony, & Strange Voices
Today’s rambling has to do with sounds and the various classifications of sounds. I’d like to start with the general category of sound. As mentioned earlier, Richard and I are sharing watch duties with a 3-hours on and 3-hours off schedule. During my helm watches, I am usually listening to my iPod, which I brought along specifically for this purpose. I have over 5600 songs on my iPod and so the variety of music available to me is quite diverse. I have recently enjoyed going through the various artists that have, over time, proven to be my favorites and relived days gone by when specific songs would play. Perennial favorites such as The Cure (Pictures of You, Love Song, High, Lullaby), The Smiths (How Soon is Now, Stop Me If You Think That You’ve Heard This One Before, Hand in Glove, Bigmouth, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now), Cocteau Twins (everything on Treasure and Garlands), REM (everything!), just to name a few of my all time favorites, have allowed me to paint the blackness of the night time sky into a time from years ago, recollected by a particular song. These veterans of the music scene have held stage with a number of my more recent finds including Silversun Pickups, The Doves, Band of Horses, Kings of Leon, Flaming Lips, The Dandy Warhols, Darker My Love, Helio Sequence, The Cave Singers and Fleet Foxes, again, just to name a few of my more recent finds. All these bands, and many, many more, too numerous to name here, have provided me with reflective moments through the dead of night when there is nothing else around me but the moon, the stars, and the ever present open ocean.
[Sidebar: I never play my iPod at ear shattering levels. In fact, I rather enjoy the blending of the music and the sound of the water lapping against the hull of the boat as we sail through the night.]
These are pleasant sounds. Another pleasant sound is the sound of the waves lapping against the hull of Osprey as we sail through the night cloaked in darkness. For most of this trip, the moon has been rising later in the night and the watch from 21:00-00:00, once it gets dark that is, is in complete darkness. Something about the darkness heightens the sound of the water as the boat sails through it and I rather enjoy that sound as well.
Then there are noises. Noises usually cause concern, alarm or at least pique your interest, but usually not in a good way. Like the funny sound you hear coming from the engine which is totally different from any other sound you have ever heard coming from your engine. That sound suddenly becomes a noise because of what it might lead to in terms of hours cramped down in the engine compartment trying to track it down. Then there’s the fixing part because no new noise in the engine ever presents itself without the need to fix something. Just ask anyone who’s ever taken a marine diesel mechanics class, they’ll tell you.
Next we have a cacophony which is basically a mix of harsh sounds or noises. As detailed previously, when the boat is rocking and rolling while being pounded by opposing waves from every which direction, and everything in the cabin starts crashing into everything else in the cabin, you suddenly find yourself in the presence of a cacophony. The problem with a cacophony is that, like a single noise, you really have to track down the sources of these noises and fix them so that they don’t make noise anymore; otherwise you won’t get any sleep during your off watch. And we all remember that magical number for how many hours of potential sleep are available during an off watch, right? That’s right, three. And just to be clear, anything and everything on a boat that isn’t nailed down has, deep within its being, the potential to create a noise.
The first time Richard and I took scopace, we were both surprised by how much of a “drug effect” it packed. We took it one morning with breakfast and I remember getting up to clear my dishes and asking Richard if he felt like he was experiencing anything weird from the scopace. His dose hadn’t kicked in yet but by the time he got up to clear his dishes, we were both feeling the effects of the drug. I’m not sure what the mechanism of action is for this drug, but it seems to affect your perception of reality. In fact, hallucinations are listed as a more common side effect (great, our seasick medicine prevents seasickness by altering reality!).
One of the main effects that I noted was hearing voices and Richard acknowledged that he heard these voices as well. The voices sounded like you were at a cocktail party or something, just walking by lots of people who were all talking. You couldn’t make out what they were saying, but you would catch a word here or there. Once we stopped taking the scopace, Richard stated that the voices went away. Hmmm?
Despite not taking any more scopace, I continued to hear voices. Now before each and every one of you has some kind of “Ah ha!” moment and claims you knew you were right when you thought that I was crazy, let me explain. On scopace, I heard voices more or less all the time; nonspecific. Off scopace, I only heard voices when I was trying to sleep down below. These strange voices appeared to be coming from the water and the diesel sloshing around in their respective tanks, and when waves would hit the hull as we sailed through the water. Very specific, ergo, not crazy.
Before I forget, today I spotted a Brown Boobie doing a fly by.