The Long Run, by Capt. Bill Pike (continued)
Shortly after we’d come aboard, Joan introduced BJ and meto the two distinct sides of life on board “Zope,” as Bruce sometimes calls his 20-year-old oceangoer. On one hand, hospitality’s a biggie—our stateroom was as spiffy and comfort-rich as a high-end hotel room. The big, double berth was made up with fresh bedding; an array of sweetly joined cabinets, drawers, and bins awaited our duffel, and the air conditioning system had the place chilled down to the perfect on-board temperature—frosty.
“Lunch is nearly ready,” said Joan with a smile. “I hope you like tuna salad. And just so you know about financial arrangements—you are allowed to pay for one meal this week. One meal, that’s it. That’s the rule. And here, please read this.”
She handed us each a form entitled: BOAT REQUESTS AND SAFETY INFORMATION. Not only did it explain exactly where all the safety equipment was on board (PFDs, the EPIRB, fire extinguishers, etc.), it also requested that we empty all hard-shell luggage for stowage elsewhere, that we “make up” our stateroom each morning and leave its door open when elsewhere, and that we immediately make known to all and sundry anything that might sound odd or appear to be malfunctioning.
I gave the form an admiring look. To my mind, it was the recreational equivalent of a “station bill,” a printed guide that’s officially posted on ships and other large commercial vessels. Generally speaking, it specifies the location of safety equipment and outlines how to deal with potential emergencies.
“This is good,” said BJ, reading along, “I like knowing where everything is. Just in case.”
Joan smiled. During the early ‘90s, she and Bruce had circumnavigated the globe aboard a 70-foot trawler—the original Zopilote—visiting some 28 countries and crossing three oceans and two seas along the way. Since then, they’d added thousands and thousands of additional nautical miles to their seafaring résumé, and dealt with countless unforeseen developments. Hospitality was indeed a biggie on board Spirit of Zopilote, but so was safety, commercial-style.