The archipelago of Norway’s rocks,
now undisturbed, consists of blocks
which either show above the sea
or hide below, thus not to see.
For sailors those are surely stranger
and present the real danger.
For rocks are hard and don’t give in,
a fight with them you do not win.
That is why sea charts are at hand
to always see where you just stand.
You can’t neglect a single dot
when you plan the trip and plot.
Norwegian mountains reach up high
and scratch the clouds when low.
The air, therefore, hangs wet not dry
and mists obscure the show.
Whoever once has sailed the seas,
anchored in sheltered bays,
has found the rocks as steep as these
don’t block all waterways.
They are as deep as mountains high
but shallow rocks exist
which carefully one must pass by
When you look across the plane of the sea
you can’t see where there are shallow stretches.
So sea charts are meant a help to be
the guidelines that the sonar etches.
As paradoxical as it might sound:
the danger lies not in the deep
but where the shallow sands are found,
or stones near the surface sleep.
Deep waters run still with the currents below
which are normally hidden, but eventually show.
Continually twice in a day
the oceans come and go.
It is the moon, so people say,
which draws the water flow.
The power of the moving tide
keeps us on our toes,
we wouldn’t dare put it aside,
respect how far it rose.
And when sea levels go on rising
the flood builds higher waves.
So engineers are now advising
to watch how it behaves.
The sea will claim all land that’s low
unless our dykes do grow and grow.
Take the wind out of the sails
and everything goes still.
All motion pitifully fails
and somehow dulls your will.
A paralysing blanket sinks
on one’s mood as well,
and the troubled sailor thinks
he hates motorboat swell.
It makes the boat sway at its place
and shakes the helpless boom
Forfeit the chance to win the race
makes desperation loom.
The lack of wind stops your ambition,
but forces you to think
what could be done in this condition:
you enjoy life and drink.
The wind of the day has finally stilled,
orange skies promise calm weather,
some clouds that have been left to build
are at the end of their tether.
But now the sailor’s skill is asked
when the trip in the dark is risked.
With luck the sea is moonlight basked,
bad – if away it is whisked.
Then you hope that other sailors know
to put up their lights as you do.
You rely on equipment to trustworthy show
where to go when the plotter is new.
Sea mist is a tricky bitch.
It creeps up suddenly and hides
all the ships around you which
were coming at you from all sides.
What helps in dire situations
is consulting radar screens
and rely on power stations
the likes you find with the Marines.
The hobby sailors stay in ports
to avoid potential fog,
but it is a shame of sorts
and looks bad in the log.
Sometimes when clouds cover the sky
there is no wind to blow.
Like a soft cloak the grey clouds lie
above the sea quite low.
You try to catch a glimpse of blue
but seldom you succeed.
And on the boat your sailing crew
from boredom starts to read.
But in a storm the clouds rush past
so that clear sky is seen,
movement on board becomes real fast
until all sails stand clean.
I would prefer a middle way
of a mild breeze, blue sky,
and not the hectic storm with spray
but sunshine bright and dry.
Depending on the weather you
must always look up to the sky.
But when you don’t find any blue
there is no need for you to cry.
Nor should you feel depressed or low,
not every grey cloud carries rain.
It is, however, good to know
which ones do, or are just plane.
More often symphonies of light
accompany a covered sky.
Before you start to growl and fight
enjoy and let the clouds pass by.
No, sorry, but it’s still too cold
to go out sailing in the morning.
And the weather forecast told
us a thunderstorm was warning.
The sea looks treacherously still,
the sky brews heavy cloud,
suggesting soon extreme ill will
to burst with thunder loud.
So the sailor waives his trip,
secures the hatches, reads a book,
enjoys the wind shaking the ship
and somewhen later risks a look.