Movements on Dry Land
Reindeer's 1976 Transatlantic Crossing
June 27 - 28, 1976
Blog Entry #17
I am choosing to describe Reindeer's crew's next twenty four hours ashore in Reykjavik as musical movements. Having the least possible similarity to any Beethoven or Mozart concerto, my comparison should cast no aspersions on these great composer's concertos. My comparison only seems apropo for two weak reasons. 1. the word "movement" had other relevant meanings. Their music would have created the necessary background contrast if someone in 1976 could have filmed those hours beginning with the crew's getting off our saddle sore-butts off riding Reindeer until our returning aboard the next day. The resulting video very possibly could have become a viral sensation on YouTube, if YouTube had existed at the time.
Begin the concerto...
The capital spire
Walking" to a Room
A few hours after we had secured Reindeer, Newbold returned to the boat and announced that we all deserved a good night's sleep; he had generously reserved a few rooms for us at the Loftleider. Almost immediately the morale improved on board. We were not eager to stay on board any longer than we had to. After all, none of us had showered with warm water or knew what a stationary toilet felt like for almost 11 days. The prospects of sleeping in Reindeer's sweaty and damp bunks and sharing the limited space was a grim and dreaded prospect at best. While we were all exhausted, I think we were equally dazed by our arrival into Iceland's calm waters; we had actually grown accustomed to the 10-day roller coaster ride. Even though we had become acclimated to the conditions at sea, it did not mean we could endure each other's odors much longer. We needed a hotel room with something resembling a soft and dry mattress.
I was almost delirious with anticipation and exhaustion. As soon as we climbed off Reindeer, I could not help, but choke on my impulse to laugh at the scene that subsequently unfolded. Almost as soon as Reindeer's crew departed its deck, all 7 of us staggered down the pier towards the nearby street like drunken sailors. Not one of us could walk in a straight line. All of us kept bumping into each other. We still had our sea legs about us and as we were to discover, our equilibrium would not improve significantly for another 24 hours.
By the time we "walked" down the hallway toward our hotel rooms, I was almost drunk with laughter. Watching us move was like watching bumper cars at an amusement park; we all continued to bounce off the hallway walls and each other until we finally found our rooms. I don't remember any coherent conversational exchange between us either. We all knew each other had three thoughts in mind....toilet, shower and bed.
Visiting the Facilities
Once in our rooms, I remember wondering which of the us would use the bathroom first. I shared a room with Orlin; thank goodness his graciousness allowed me first dibs on the toilet. The last time I had sat on a toilet with any success was way back in North America; I had as yet been unable to have a bowel movement for now closer to 11 days. I was ready to explode.
As I mentioned in my
, going to the bathroom during our voyage was an adventure in itself. Little did I anticipate a stationary toilet being anything but amazing relief. I was wrong; it was an adventure as well. My shaken and stirred equilibrium made the toilet feel like it was still moving, and I remember having to prop myself up to stabilize myself erst I would have fallen off this hotel toilet. I couldn't believe that I felt like I was still on Reindeer.
My roommate and I took turns showering in something foreign to us - warm water! I do recall that neither of us took anything resembling a short shower. A shit, a shower but the shave will wait. Ah, finally clean, now heaven awaited...Bed beckoned!
Staying in Bed
Orlin snapped a photo of me on a calm day at sea later on our voyage.
A cottony-soft bed with white sheets and a dry, sweat-less pillow appeared to be heaven-sent when I finally lay down to sleep for what I hoped would be at least 24 hours. Boy, was I once again in for another surprise. A few moments after I shut my eyes, the bed started to move. So instead of drifting off to sweet slumber, I found myself holding onto the mattress until out of sheer exhaustion, I fell asleep. When I awoke, I discovered myself and Orlin on the floor. Apparently, both of us had rolled out of "our beds"....and slept on the floor. I had no idea how I had fallen out of bed. I must not have felt tied into my bunk like I had been for much of my off-watch time on board Reindeer.
Eating Breakfast in the afternoon
After I shaved 10 days of stubble off my face and visited a seemingly more stable toilet, I made my way down to the dining area where the remaining 2 crew members, Orlin and Newbold, had a table for what I thought was breakfast. When I sat down Newbold told me that it was early afternoon. Newbold was paying so I remember ordering a plate full of eggs, bacon and toast which I inhaled as if I had never eaten before. I was still feeling wobbly and groggy sitting in a stationary chair.
Returning to a drenched Reindeer:
Once we felt fed and reasonably restored, the three of us returned to the boat to clean up. As the youngster by over 25 years in the remaining trio, I had to muster some youthful "vim and vigor"...though honestly, I could have gone back to bed...or even to the floor! It wasn't until I stepped foot on Reindeer later that afternoon that I finally felt stable again. What amazed me was my sea legs had made me almost feel helpless on land.
Now some 24 hours after coming ashore, it was the ocean's motion was still lodged in my being. I realized how true one of Newton's Laws was....that a body in motion tends to stay in motion. I was still riding the Reindeer and her movements.