Safe in the Harbor

The funny thing is that I didn’t even need to set foot on solid ground. Simply feeling the ship snug up against the dock, listening as Rob and Jeremy and the crew set the spring lines and secured the bow and stern was enough to send a strange little shudder down my spine. I knew it would be a couple hours before we’d cleared customs, before we were cleared to disembark, but I felt surprisingly little hurry.

Working my way through the RVDAS shutdown procedures, tracking down calibration sheets for the data distribution – it all felt like a slow, deliberate dance, the conclusion of which we would all reach at the proper time. I will admit that I held my breath for a little when the big diesels underfoot shut down, trying to weigh how much of the change I felt within was due to physical sensation, and how much to a state of mind.

Then I let it go, like the anemic surrender of a rubber balloon that’s been kept full long after the birthday party has ended. The air left my lungs, and I was suddenly and completely done. Done. And I’ve been hanging on since. This is our third day in port, and I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve only left the ship once since we’ve been back. Couldn’t miss the end-of-cruise dinner, after all. La Marmita, with the long tables, and drunken toasts, tearful farewells and obligatory midnight climbing of the birds-nest trees in Plaza Sampaio.

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But I found myself begging off early, too overwhelmed by the decibels of merriment, and swirl of celebration. As awesome as the AMLR folks are (and they’re pretty damned awesome folks), this cruise took just a little too much out of me. I’ve got enough left to make it through the port call, and more than enough work to do before the ship pulls out on the 7th (without me). That code I’m writing is supposed to control and log the bewildering array of meteorological and oceanographic sensors on this ship. And this is my only chance to actually turn it loose on those sensors, the only time they’re not busy actually logging all that information for real. So I don’t get to rest – no, not yet.

But we are back on shore. I’ll force myself to take a break and go into town this afternoon – at the very least, I need to buy another pair of pants to supplement the single usable pair that remains of what I brought down. And will probably convince myself to dawdle over a mug of hot cocoa at Ciocolatta while I’m out. There may even be pizza in the forecast.

But I’m guessing that this is going to be my last post for a little while, at least until I’m back stateside and somewhat recuperated and caught up. Thanks for following along!

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Mo, Cassie and Martina put the final cleanup touches on Drylab

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Barry and Alec (left) arrive to relieve George and Sheldon

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