OSN Practice Management Section Editor John B. Pinto has launched "Voyage to EHR," a new project sponsored by Compulink Business Systems and Ocular Surgery News. This project will culminate in John's month-long solo sail from San Diego to Honolulu aboard the 24-foot Aurelia starting May 6. John's practice management blogs will resume in July. John's voyage is meant to raise awareness of the similar "expedition" surgeons undertake when converting to electronic health records and will also support the work of the Hawaiian Eye Foundation.
To learn more about the foundation's work and to make a donation supporting its eye care and surgical training services throughout the Pacific, please go to www.hawaiianeyefoundation.org.My sail to Hawaii is timed to begin and end in the bright light of a full moon. This will be a real advantage at the start of the trip, when there are lots of rigging and boat management issues to resolve throughout the first few nights - and an even greater advantage after about 30 days at sea, when I'll be a bit wooly from sleep deprivation and am surfing the channel between Molokai and Oahu.
With or without moonlight on deck, night sailing is a special time. Offshore, where the plankton density is higher, Aurelia's hull throws off phosphorescent waves that I could watch forever. As the moon wanes, the stars are vastly brighter than in any city sky, and if you lie on deck looking up at the night sky, you can imagine yourself falling off the surface of the planet into the vast, twinkling firmament. As vision dims (and the dimming is somewhat greater for me, a 27-year RK postop), auditory and physical signals become more important. After a few days at sea, you instantly sense from the sound of the water sweeping the hull and the changed angle of the wind in your face if the boat is off-course.
When night comes, every sailor has their own ritual for getting ready. Here's mine:
- Eat dinner well before it gets dark to allow time for a safety walk around deck to check the rigging and set of the sails. Get a weather report if possible. Write down anything interesting in the ship's log.
- Hoist a battery-powered strobe light high in the rigging to make Aurelia more visible to shipping traffic (not exactly kosher - actually, against international regulations - but a mild act of civil disobedience to counteract sleepy helmsmen aboard oncoming supertankers).
- Set aside the evening's music and books-on-CD selection - helps to make the long evening pass.
- A sponge bath (fresh water is scarce) and then an all-over sprinkling of talcum power to keep the salty damp at bay and reduce chafing.
- Change into nighttime attire (ocean temperatures drop fast, like in the desert). Almost everything I wear offshore is made by Patagonia, including fleece long johns, fleece pants and sweater, an extra vest for the first third of the trip before we reach the tropics - all topped with foul weather gear and sea boots. The most important piece of this wardrobe, which stays on day and night, is a safety harness clipped to the boat with a 6-foot tether.
» Comments (0)