Day 89: How to Avoid Huge Ships

It’s happened. I’ve finally run out of things to say. Or I’m just so brain-dead after a day of bashing my way across choppy waves that I can’t think of anything other than getting some kip.

So I’ll share with you an email sent to me by my literary agent, Taryn Fagerness. She thought I would enjoy it – and she was right. There is apparently a book called “How to Avoid Huge Shipsthat has developed a cult following, not to mention a slew of sarcastic reviews on Amazon. These are my favourites:

“I bought How to Avoid Huge Ships as a companion to Captain Trimmer’s other
excellent books: How to Avoid a Train, and How to Avoid the Empire State
Building. These books are fast paced, well written and the hard won
knowledge found in them is as inspirational as it is informational. After
reading them I haven’t been hit by anything bigger than a diesel bus.
Thanks, captain!”

“Read this book before going on vacation and I couldn’t find my cruise liner
in the port. Vacation ruined.”

“This book really is one of the best huge ship avoidance references I’ve come
across, not just for the effective methods it teaches as to avoiding huge
ships, but also for exploding some of the huge ship avoidance myths that
many of us take for granted.
For example:
– Do not charge the huge ship at full speed in an attempt to scare it off.
This may work with coyotes, but it is less effective with huge ships.
– Similarly, do not roll your boat over and play dead. Unless the huge ship
is captained by a grizzly bear, this will not work.
– Do not attempt to go under the huge ship. This is typically not
– Do not attempt to jump over the huge ship.
Captain Trimmer presents a rather novel technique for avoiding huge ships –
move your boat out of the path of the huge ship. I know what you’re
thinking, this goes against conventional wisdom, but Trimmer presents
significant empirical evidence to support his theory. Indeed, over the long
run, moving out of the way will dramatically decrease the number of huge
ship collisions you will have to endure in your daily life.”

“I am a huge ship. Imagine having an entire book devoted toward actively
avoiding you and your kind. I have always been bigger than other ships – and
yes, I have endured years of being moored in the distance, never being able
to enter the shallower bays, requiring tugs to guide me in – but now THIS!
Mr. Trimmer, you sir, should be ashamed! Please do not be swayed by his
drivel. I ask that you judge me not by the size of my cargo hatch but rather
the content of my wheelhouse.”

“Much better than the sequel book, “How To Run Over Little Boats.”” (gulp!)

Just in case you’re wondering, huge ships are (so far) about the one thing I haven’t had to worry about on this voyage. I haven’t seen a single vessel since I set out from North Island nearly 3 months ago – large or small. Probably just as well. Given the way things have been going recently, I might have been tempted to ask for a bottle of whisky and a tow.

Other Stuff:

I saw a small orange mooring buoy today. Just bobbing around, many miles from anywhere. Going backwards as I do, by the time I saw it I was already past it and couldn’t get back to retrieve it. So it’s bobbing out here still, probably with an entire ecosystem growing on its underside.

Made a half-dozen miles today. Burned about 5,000 calories in the process. This is quite possibly the most inefficient means of locomotion ever invented.

It is now pouring with rain, and I am glad of an excuse to be hunkered inside my cabin to write this blog. The zip on my Marmot waterproof has rusted so badly it needs some WD-40 before it has any chance of working.

Thanks, Jay and Doug, for the, ummm, interesting information about barnacles. Who knew?! I shall look at them in a new light and all due respect from now on….

Quote for today: Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes. (Oscar Wilde)

Photo: encounter with a big ship during the Atlantic crossing – the Royal Navy’s HMS Southampton dropped by for a visit on Valentine’s Day 2006.

Sponsored Miles: Steve Maskell, Andrew Loughhead, Nick Perdiew, Alexandra Stevens, John Griffin and Diane Freeman. Thank you.