The first thing that Shanley and I noticed when we stepped back aboard Sea Dragon after 5 weeks on shore was the smell. Not rank or foul, or any other number of nasty names, but new – a kind of dampness in the air, that had been missing on shore. I’m not sure if it was a side effect of the cold wet trip to Iceland and then down the north sea, or whether we had just gotten acclimatized to the scent of land, but either way, there it was.

We’ve certainly covered a lot of ground (and smells) while Sea Dragon made her way to Europe – conifers and cedar shavings in Maine, where we learned to build small wooden boats, dense, dripping heat as Hurricane Arthur churned by just a few miles offshore of the house where we were staying in North Carolina, wet mud and dirt from melting snow in Lapland. In between, of course, the man-made smells of transport – the dry, chemical air of an Austrian Airliner across the Atlantic, the smell of old couches on Amtrak, and wet dogs on the Swedish Night Train.

Now we’re back aboard, and I can’t smell the strange scent anymore – is it gone, as we clean and air out the boat? Or are we merely familiarized? Instead all we can smell is the sea, with the familiar soundtrack of the wind generators chattering away in the stern and halyards clapping against the mast.

It was good to get sailing again, up the coast a few miles from Gothenburg towards a rocky cove near Marstrand, effortless motion in the flat water as the afternoon sea breeze built, followed by a swim in the oddly warm sea. We’ll have to work to remember these moments, to keep trying to find them, as we get back into the swing of the research and programs, dealing with all the day to day stressors and concerns that so easily drive me away from the simple pleasures of the sea, make me feel like I am sometimes more of an office dweller with an inefficient office. But today Sea Dragon is no office, anchored amongst the rocks of Sweden’s west coast, with the sun dipping ever so slowly towards the sea.

– Eric Loss, Captain, Sea Dragon, July 24, 2014

Eric Photo 3

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