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  • Writer's pictureIanna Luna

Final-stretch Fever

Updated: Aug 24, 2022

After nearly thirty days on board Sarmiento de Gamboa, its passengers are beginning to display curious behaviors that stem from what I've baptized as final-stretch fever, an infectious disease suffered by those who reach critical turning points after prolonged contact with rosettes, Snowcatchers, turbulence profilers and other oceanographical equipment.

It turns working shifts of any duration into 24-hour shifts, being able to manifest during sleep. The symptoms that characterize it, and that are highly contagious, are the following:

  • Inability to perform simple calculations

  • Distortion of reality; inability to tell reality and dreams apart

  • Losing track of time

  • Waking up terrified, much earlier than the alarm, believing it never went off

  • Nervousness

  • Nightmares about ruined samples, dry filters and rosettes that arrive early without notice

  • Lack of appetite/excessive appetite

Eddy collapses, and apparently its photographer is about to.

Recommended treatment includes carrying out daily rituals, which may be collective or individual, and according to my careful observations during the last month, consist mainly in what were mostly happy coincidences at the start of our trip, but that have now become indispensable healing traditions:

  • Silent congregation to watch the arrival and departure of the sun, every day without fail

  • Scanning the horizon in search of shearwaters, cetaceans or island silhouettes

  • Post-shift meeting in the living room, the objective of which is the use of uninteresting audiovisual content as an excuse to fall asleep

  • Spreading butter over toast, slowly and religiously

  • Inhaling the aroma of coffee in front of the sea

  • Labeling tubes and preparing work without hurry and in silence

  • Screaming a little bit sometimes

  • Pincho's Sundays (only a weekly dose)

  • Spine-crunching hugs

Luckily, on board, we have all we need to combat the effects of the disease, which by the way, behaves in a way in which once it's gone... you kind of miss it.

Images: Mar Nieto, Ianna Luna

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