How to see the difference between a long distance sailor from a "normal" human being

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Thu 27 Sep 2012 15:32
You have seen the pictures, they look healthy in their suntanned body and they smile of course when the picture is taken. But let's have a closer look and see what reveals under that sailing cap and sunglasses.
We start with taking of the cap and notice that the head is white as snow and flat! How come? Well, anthropology study will show a different behavior from others. When the sailor needs a tool or a spare part or a new box of rice they have to dig into the boat. That means that they usually open a sofa without taking off the cushions, then they hold the lid open with their head while they dig down three layers of stuff to find that "thing". As they go about down there you can hear them swear and mumble. Actually never play memory with a live aboard, they will win, reason being they are trained to play the game every day in five different layers on their boat. There is ALWAYS a hunt for things that are "somewhere". Do you want to find out how well organized the owner is? Open the top drawer by the navigation table. That is the place where everything goes that belongs "somewhere".

Next thing take off those nice looking sunglasses and a gloomy face appears, with tired eyes from that terrible anchorage last night.

Shoulders and arms are subject to an abnormal look. The arms being longer than normal and the shoulders point down (you cannot get a skirt to stay on those).
Why is that? Another study shows that they carry about ten bags of grocery in each hand about four to five kilometers to get to the boat with best price possible. You would think they use something on wheels, well they just happened to see that store on a walk and took the opportunity…

Chest and stomach can be very different depending on lifestyle, lot's of sundowners or/and beer tend to make a big stomach and a small chest. If it is the healthy life style type they look the other way around so to say. Some will have some strange tattoo from some remote island in the Pacific.
If they wear a T-skirt, look close and you will fins stains of food. It's not that they don't know how to behave, its just very hard to eat spaghetti Bolognese in a rocking chair on top of a truck running down a road at 90 kilometers (55 mph) an hour. Well that's what it is like to eat in the cockpit when there is some hard weather.
If there are no signs of tomato sauce it must be mold.

Another thing the photo does not reveal is the smell. Sailors are always short of water and that means one shower a week, and that is done with one liter of water. If they can afford to be in a marina, well then there is another challenge. Most marinas today are so large it takes 30 minutes to walk ashore, and that is if you find your way right away.In flip-flops it takes 40 minutes. This means that the entire morning is used for a shower only, and marinas have learned the lesson. Liveaboards taking a shower with plenty of water cost money. So now you have to buy a token that opens the hot water for three minutes. Well it is still a blast for a person that coo coned out of a damp weather gear and can get hot water.

The butt is a strange phenomenon, it is able to sit on an edge of glass fibre or teak for 28 hours without problems. On watch when sailing they can sit there watching the wind (I guess) hour after hour. Nowadays that poor butt does not get a break ashore anymore. The reason is that where there is free wifi, there is the long hauler. That means they can sit on the edge of a pavement in a busy street and take care of their mail, bank account, weather check, blogg, Facebook, you name it. And they just do not seem to care unless someone walks on their computer.

The legs do not look very different from homo sapiens but behave strange, they are so called sea legs. This means that the sailor is always prepared the any movement can happen on earth that can possibly not happen. But since the brain is programmed from how a boat can behave they tend to stay that way ashore, wide spread legs and some kind of rocking about.

We left fingers and toes till the last observation. You will find they are really in bad shape with bruises, blue nails and cuts everywhere. The fingers are in bad shape because of all the work on their diesel engine or they cut their hand on everything they have to work under the bilge. Toes, well if they could learn not to run around a boat without shoes they would probably do better.

One last thing, fingers and toes seem to be extremely strong, why is that? Well if you sleep in a bunk in heavy weather you spread out to stop the body rolling with the waves, and then you use your fingers and toes to press against the walls not to fall out…
See that healthy look again on the picture? It is gone, int's it?

©Staffan Ehde 2012

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