When the waves came hard against the sides of the Rainbow Warrior, you had to be careful opening the little fridge in the mess. As the ship tilted to starboard, all contents shifted toward the back of the fridge. This was the time to open the door and assess the contents--then close the door quickly before the ship tilted toward port. When you rolled back again, you could open the door and grab whatever you'd come for. Under no circumstance should you open the fridge door when the ship was tilted toward port.
It was much more fun when we were heading into the waves rather than against them. Dan'l had been to sea before, and he showed me a neat trick when the ship was plunging into oncoming waves. Standing on the deck, we bent our knees and timed a leap into the air so that it coincided with the ship's highest point on a wave. The astonishing result was that, as the Rainbow Warrior dropped into the trough, Dan'l and I were suspended 15+ feet above the deck, arms windmilling, looking down at the impossibly long drop beneath us. There was time to gaze out at the blue of the ocean, blue and blue and blue all the way to the far-off horizons. As the ship rose up to meet us, we'd land, with the impact somewhat more than if we'd made a typical jump into the air--and then we'd ready ourselves for the next impossible leap.
But Peter Willcox, captain of the Rainbow Warrior, did not suffer fools lightly. He leaned out from the bridge to drawl, "We're two hundred miles from land. If either of you idiots breaks a leg, I'm not turning this ship around. You'll just have to wait till we get to our next port."
"Aye aye, Captain!" we hollered (Peter hated when we called him "captain"), and leaped again for joy.
|The good ship Rainbow Warrior, in a calm sea |
with no fools a-leaping
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