I’m a sailor’s spouse.
And today is World Maritime Day. ( 25th September )
Unfortunately, I can’t wish him in person because he’s sailing and there’s no communication.
His “boat” ( he hates it when I call it a boat! ) is in the North Atlantic somewhere. MarineTraffic.com gives me Latitude and Longitude that was updated about 16 hours ago.
They’re headed to Rio, Brazil. And no, it’s not a party like I would so desperately want it to be. For him and the rest of the crew.
I’m learning to be a sailor’s spouse. No voice conversation, no text messages, no photos, no email, no skin / touch and no sex.
When the ship is anchored at a port for a few days, the crew gets local SIM cards for their mobile phones so that they can call back home and talk with family and friends. They usually purchase SIM cards that have Internet Data access and then use VoIP for making calls. ( So far, Skype has been the most reliable. ) The shipping company also sets up an email for each of the crew where they can exchange text-only emails. But my boy’s email hasn’t been set up yet – after 20 days of him having signed on. Waiting.
The boy and I have been together for half a decade. He’d quit sailing before we got together. This is the first time we are spending so much time ( six months and maybe more ) apart.
I walk around the house aimlessly sometimes. When his ship was docked in Europe some time back ( and he had a SIM card for voice calls ), I told him as much and his response was, “Heck I wish I could walk around aimlessly here.”
It’s a bitter-sweet thing. On the one hand I want to be ok with not seeing him for six months – because I’m a strong, independent woman and I don’t need a man etc. On the other hand I miss him so much it’s crazy. I try to keep myself busy and considering it is the “festive” season in India, there’s ample opportunity. I’ve been accepting event invites indiscriminately.
Till I hit a low where I don’t want to leave my home and reject all invites indiscriminately.
Apparently 90% of the world’s trade is carried out by seafarers. I learned that only today.
Considering the vital connection they form, the Merchant Navy isn’t a very talked-about profession and stereotypes are limited to “Ooooh! Money-mint!” and “What port has the best booty?”
I’ve been thinking about photographing and writing and getting involved in some form of PR for the Merchant Navy and despite a few very helpful emails from other sailors and ex-sailors, I haven’t made any headway. It isn’t really a “thing” apparently. I’ve heard Merchant Navy companies ( both owned and managed ones ) are averse to allowing cameras on deck in a majority of cases and that everything is up to the discretion of the Captain / Master. Which is understandable considering the high risk operations but it nonetheless agitates my itchy-trigger-fingers.
I want to sail with the boy and do a photo story. Can’t think of a better way for both to be together and gainfully employed.
Of course, hopefully his next sail won’t be for six months because then I will be missing people other than him.
Happy World Maritime Day!