Sea Travel

Sea travel:

As we continue our look at travel, we move from land to sea. Few modes of travel are as exciting, romanticized, and evocative as sea travel.  Everything about sea travel is visceral and powerful. The taste of the ocean air, the rocking of the ship, the sounds of boats creaking and bending, it's all immediately clear in our minds. Travel across seas is one of the most fundamental aspects of the development and spreading of culture. The exchange of peoples and customs and goods and ideals across water is always worthy of getting noticed. So let's take a look at some of the most important things to note about oversea travel:

Food: By virtue of being out at sea far away from any land or merchants, a ship will need to provide as much food as possible for the crew. This is to minimize having to make stops and resupply, which is costly and takes time, which of course ends up meaning more supplies are needed, compounding the problem. And that's assuming places to resupply are even available. If anything happens to the food supplies, from mold to rats to thievery, the entire crew could find themselves starving and doomed to a slow wasting fate. Whether a single person rowboat or a massive super yacht, the universal truth is that for each and every person you need will need to procure as much food as it takes to feed that person for the entire trip, plus usually some excess just in case. Bigger boats have more people which means more need for food, and let's not forget that many people have unique eating requirements, especially in more modern times.

Entertainment: Spending days, weeks or months at sea without any entertainment is a sure way to breed discontent, unsavoury behavior and mutiny. Minstrels, board games, videogames, books, tennis courts, fishing, shore leave, and countless other activities can help assuage the crippling boredom that can accompany long voyages at sea. Cabin fever and ocean madness are less common in modern times, but the psychological effects of keeping people isolated to small areas alone in the middle of the ocean for a long time are not to be underestimated.

Dangers:  Whether from pirates (modern of historical), shark people, sea serpents, angry Merfolk, or terrible sea storms a ship can be exposed to a vast array of threats depending on your setting. The sea is an open vast expanse. There is nothing to hide in, and yet it's deeply isolating. There are no police, no guards, no backup, and that makes ships, fat with wealth and people, very fine targets for those who would plunder them. Likewise being so alone, a single powerful tempest can change the lives of everyone aboard, or end them. When trouble breaks out the crew must be equipped and trained to handle any situation that could occur, and if they aren't it could spell disaster.

The company you keep: There are many reasons to travel the seas, and with that there are many people who do so. From wealthy nobles seeking passage, to equally wealthy merchants seeking trade, all the way to poor and desperate stowaways hoping to survive and find work in a new world. Treacherous pirates, noble navy men, tourists and crew and slaves and prisoners alike might all find themselves uncomfortably close to mingling aboard any given ship, and this mix of people, beliefs, caste's and ideologies can make for powerful opportunities.

Opportunity: Of course there's a reason people are willing to tangle with all the above perils and complications. Sea travel presents fantastic and vast opportunity. The riches and wonder of a new world. The opportunity to sell your wares to those who have never even seen them before. A new life in a new place with new people. Escape. The rewards are countless. Of course being isolated with a large group of people whose entire fate rests on just a handful can also lead to less scrupulous opportunities.