The Sound of Monster

This weekend marks 5 months living aboard Monster! Slowly, but surely, I am learning her ways, or perhaps more so the sounds of her ways. Given, there will be a lot more for her to say once we leave the dock, but there is many a creak and groan that our old boat mutters as we go about our days.


I once had a Captain that likened a ship to an acoustic guitar. Every step, skip, hop, and movement on her decks will reverberate below he claimed. I have found through my experiences aboard many a ship that this is entirely the case. In the past I quickly learned to identify my crewmates through their steps and jumps above, by their pitter patters on the ladders, even through their ways of opening and closing a door. Flat footed or in boots, it’s amazing how your ear becomes atuned. In the case of Monster, it is no different. Though these days I listen with a whole new piqued interest. There isn’t as many crewmates, but there is now much more to hear, or so it seems, as Monster is our boat, our home. Not to mention there is our Boy to be continually keeping an ear on. 

The deckboards perpetually creak beneath our feet, but I no longer wake in the night as the Dog walks about up forward. Nor when she slumps upon the deck to eat, her dog tags clinking and clanking against her bowl. Have you ever heard the sound of Lego tumbling and crashing, hitting a bare wooden deck?  

While I seriously hope Spring is on its way, I’ve gotten to know the sounds of the ice heaters bubbling against the hull. You would almost think we were underway with the rush of all that moving water. I have also learnt the sound of an ice heater breaching as it sucks air. There is still the sound of the ice cracking and exploding, but surely this must be coming to an end. I know well the sound of the water pump, especially as the tank nears empty and you know that the pump should have shut off moments ago when you closed the tap. There is the gurgle of the galley drain. I am now familiar with the sound of the refrigeration compressor as it switches itself off and on as necessary. There is the sound of surprise and sudden alertness when the bilge pump begins to whir out of the blue. There’s the twang of the halyards against the mast on a windy night, and the rustle of the tarp in that same breeze. There is the perpetual hum of our heaters. As I said we have yet to leave the dock, this season anyway. 

I am ever longing to hear the sounds of our vessel underway. The ringing of the alarm as the engine is started. The sound of the halyards hoisting, the wind filling the sails, the waves breaking upon the hull, perhaps the sound of a bone in her teeth. The luffing of a jib. The sound of the boom tacking and the winches winding. All followed by the contented sound of silence as the engine is cut. Inevitably there will be the sound as the anchor rhode is let go, the chain racing through the hawse, and the splash of the anchor into the water. The only ice in my drink. Ahh.
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