“The night I felt the Wrath of Poseidon”
Just off the cost of Tiawan it became clear to us that we in were within range of a powerfull typhoon. With most of the crew throwing up in their cabins I was on the bridge, keeping watch on the radar for signs of any ships that might be within range.
It would have to happen in the middle of the night when visibilty is at it’s poorest, I have never been on any ship. that has rocked as much as it did that night. Esspecially one as large as this being 250 meters in length and at least 35 in width, fully laden with cargo weighing 105,000 tonnes.
The bow was barley visibile due to the wind forcing the waves to smash upon it like some mighty rock. We continued to plough on through, even though the engine and its 18,000 horse power, were being unleashed, upon this most savage of seas. We barely managed to maintain a speed of 5 knots.
The captian informed me in his best English, that I should go to my cabin, I insisted on staying. Telling him in my non-existant Greek (slowly spoken English) that I knew I could help, he quickly thanked me, and agreed as we both knew, he would need as many eyes on watch as possible.
The bridge was being battered by the wind and rain, and it’s 5 stories from the water line to the bridge, you can imagine why it was not comfortable being up there. Holding on as best we could.
A boat like the ones I am used to sailing, would have been thrown around by the sea, in the state that it was in that night, much like a rag doll in the claws of a playful puppy. With visibility on the bridge being extremely low, the windows have turned in to water falls, the wipers are un able to keep the water off, I voulenteer to go outside on to the starboard wing where visibility is better.
As I stepped out side the winds bit into me, my jacket and I seemed to merge in to one as the 68 knot winds, tried to force me into submission. Just as the rain and salt water attempted to soak me through, were it not for my hood and balaclava I am sure that it would have felt like walking naked into car wash, with the large wet brushes on full spin consistently.The typhoon is near, the harsh crack of thunder is barely audible over the howling of that wicked wind, just as blue streaks of lightening slammed into the ocean, or whatever debris the typhoon had left in it’s awesome wake. It was pitch black, the moon struggled to shine through the thick cloud, that hung above the Astrea that night. Another flash of lighting, as the ship once again SLAMMED into the ocean, and I saw the shape of our tormentor….and for the first time in my life, I knew true fear. But I knew that I could not give in to this feeling, so to stir my soul, I gathered my self, and shouted back at the wind “ IS THAT ALL YOU’VE GOT???!!!! IS THAT IT???!!! COME ON GIVE ME YOUR WORST!!!”
I dared the wind to blow harder, and trust me, kite flying weather this was not, however for some reason, I could not stop my self from singing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” from Marry Poppins. Not entirely sure why, but this moment of maddness, helped me focus and concentrate on the task at hand more intently. It is in circumstances such as this, where you have to force your self, to bear the worst that mother nature can throw at you, that you discover a strength of will that I had never imagined possible.
There I was, with the weather trying to rip me apart like a wet piece of paper, and the sea throwing the ship around like a dodge ball, every muscle in my body taught, my right hand, gripping on to the ship as tightly as possible, and with my left I raised my binoculars to observe this aweinspireing sight.
My heart racing, I was flying on an adrenaline fuelled high, no roller coaster could ever equal that sensation, no film could ever match that spectacle.
The time that I spent out there could have been hours, but when I returned inside, I saw that only half an hour had passed. That was with out a doubt the longest half an hour of my life, so many feelings of wonder, passion and dread. The captain then ordered me to return to my cabin, as he wanted only key personnel on the bridge, but he thanked me for my asisstance. You wouldn’t be surpised that after that I could hardly sleep a wink, even though I did manage a few hours. It was like trying to sleep in a washing machine on the wash cycle. I could hear chairs creeking, unclosed doors SLAMMING open and shut, curtains being dragged from one side to another, the engine roaring, the whole ship was creaking and vibrateing like some chaotic orchestra.
The next morning when I finally woke up, it was like having gone to sleep in the middle of a heavy metal rock concert, and waking up in the countryside on a beautiful summers day. I went up on to that very same wing. The once stormy sea was like an eternal pool, still and the most spectacular blue you could ever imagine. There was a slight cooling breeze, and not a cloud in the sky.
I was over come by a feeling of such ecstasy. Having seen Mother Nature at her most destructive, and then to see her at her most radiant, there are no words, to describe a beauty such as this.