It’s 2:30 in the morning and I’m on the tail end of my midnight to 3:00 AM shift. Michelle will be coming up soon to take her turn at the helm, but in the meantime, I sit in the “Chair of the All Powerful”, aka the helmsman’s seat, monitoring our progress and feeling in control and omnipotent.
The pilothouse on Roam is a modern command center. Here, practically every system on the boat reports its status to me and awaits my command. The panels of data surround and comfort me. To be sure, I can control the speed, direction, and list of the boat. If any system on the boat dares to malfunction, I am instantly alerted. I can follow the progress of other boats around me using the AIS (Automatic Identification System), FLIR (Night Vision), and/or Radar. If I want to speak with an approaching ship, I have three different radios to call them on as well as a satellite phone. If I get cold or warm, the climate control system is within easy reach. No doubt, the many gauges, dials, and controls trick me in to feeling powerful.
Even the helm seat itself seduces me. I step up to reach the soft black leather seat and once I have adjusted the 8 different controls to get just the right level of comfort, I look down on the control systems; I look down on the bow of the boat; I look down on the moody sea and I am truly the master of all that I survey.
And yet…And yet, there is so much beyond my control. I know Neptune is watching me as I write this. I know he is likely to remind me how helpless I really am to control the destiny of my little ship this dark night. If not tonight, then tomorrow or the next day, I will be humbled.