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At Sea and Offline

The North Atlantic
The North Atlantic

Captain’s log, Wednesday, January 8, 2014, 2300 hours, some unknown Atlantic time-zone. At sail in the North Atlantic. Completing the fifth full day of sailing, with one full day to go. Have had up to 7 meter swells, but in general the rocking is very soothing. Lots of food, lots of naps. Good entertainment. Definitely better weather than back in the States, where something has gone wrong with whatever barrier keeps the arctic airmass up around the North Pole, resulting in subzero temperatures. Here it has been windy, but today the air temperature is in the 50s. Not bad.

I had already resigned myself to no cell service in Europe. Wifi onboard might also as well be nonexistent, as bad as it is. It costs about $40 for 120 minutes of Internet service. This may sound like a fair amount of time, but given how slowly the service operates, it goes by quickly. Nothing is worse than spending a few minutes waiting for the Google home page to load. Seeing as we are hundreds of miles from any land mass, having any Internet at all is fairly remarkable. Given this lag, I decided it would be better to forego the Internet until I reach Europe. I might try to upload this to my website tonight, if I can. Otherwise you will be reading this in a few days.

After a day or two of Internet withdrawal, a certain peace sets in — a realization that the emails, Facebook updates, and tweets can wait. Traveling by ship does make one appreciate that there are alternatives to our modern ultra-rapid mode of life. There was a time when the only way to cross the Atlantic was via ship. At that time great ocean liners plied the Atlantic. Now only a few ships such as this one, the Queen Mary 2, make the trip. Most onboard are my age or older. Only the retired seem to have the time to spend a week making a transit that takes only 7 or 8 hours by jet. Yet somehow not too long ago people led productive lives without the “luxury” of jet air travel or the ability to text or look things up on the Internet. I wouldn’t give up any of this permanently. But it is nice once in a while to forego all these modern conveniences and spend some time appreciating a less technological life.

By mannd

I am a retired cardiac electrophysiologist who has worked both in private practice in Louisville, Kentucky and as a Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver. I am interested not only in medicine, but also in computer programming, music, science fiction, fantasy, 30s pulp literature, and a whole lot more.

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