As a journalist, I am inundated with press releases on a daily basis, clogging both my email and my postal box. Now that I live in Florida with no fireplace to burn them, they either suffer the delete button or the circular file.
Some, however, are intriguing. A couple of years ago, one was from the House of Creed, a famous perfumery in France. Creed had a new perfume, Love in White, which was “inspired by Mr. Creed’s travels on the high seas.”
I considered the possible scents: fresh varnish, barnacles in a boatyard, teak sanding dust, bottom paint and even eau de bilge water. Would I spray these on my manly chest to replace my Old Spice?
I think not.
Still, that experience prepared me for another press release, this one offering the “sounds of the sea.” Skimming through myNoise.net, I discovered its intent is to provide “background noises and interactive soundscapes.” These sounds replace background noise and supposedly help to calm “your inner voice” and help you get a good night’s sleep.
The first sound that came up was “Irish Coast,” with wind, waves and rain. Yep, that’s clearly Ireland. Every one of my Irish voyages, on both sail and power boats, have included those noises. What I found missing, however, was the glurk glurk glurk of our crew downing beverages for which Ireland is famous.
Moving on, I came to “Rain on a Tent.” Yikes, that brought back every bad experience I had in the Cub and Boy Scouts. No way was I going to sleep, wondering if a trickle was soon to turn my sleeping bag into a soggy lump.
Clicking further, I discovered “Sailboat Anchored.” Lots of creaks of timbers and lines, pitching and rolling, splish splash. You can tune the soundtrack by adding “Thunderstorm” or “Rough Seas.” Naah.
Looking for a trawler-style effect, I found “Tanker at Sea.” Not bad. It had a steady sound of engines throbbing, some muted talk on a bridge, and a distant VHF radio reading off a weather report. You can fine-tune this one by opting to mix in “Bad Weather,” “Rain at Sea” or, horrors, “Seasick.”
The folks at myNoise ask that you report the effects of “Seasick.” Did you do the Technicolor yawn? Did you hurl on your pillow at midnight? Inquiring minds want to know.
Still, I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted something that might be called “Trawler to Nowhere.”
And then, I found “Tibetan Choir.”
It had never occurred to me that the “ommmmm” of a Tibetan choir is the exact duplicate of a trawler, diesels purring, everything right with the world.
However, I would, if I were a sound engineer, mix in the occasional splash of a bow wave, the intermittent clink of a glass or bottle rolling around somewhere in a galley locker, and perhaps the sound of a crewmember scratching as he comes on watch, asking, “Where the hell are we?”
Searching further, I found the calming sounds of a quiet anchorage: “Pebble Beach” made me think of a trawler anchored off a rocky shore, or I could choose “Tropical Rain,” with rain on palms, although I’m not clear on “Vegan Rain.” I’m guessing it must be the sound of rain on nuts, seeds, beans and lentils.
Cruising the Internet, I came across another company (Ambient-Mixer.com) with “Pirate Ship.” Ahoy, me hearties. This one had someone with a peg leg moving around, the carpenter repairing a wooden block, and all the squeaks and groans, plus wave splashes. For those of you who have transitioned from sail to power, this might be for you.
At a place called SleepySounds on YouTube, I found “Below Deck Sailboat,” which is nine hours of splish splash and creaks. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ve ever spent nine straight hours in my bunk. Someone always wants to tell me the bilge pump is running a lot, the autopilot is wandering, or we’re out of coffee.
On a cruise, I’m so finely tuned to odd noises, both underway and at anchor, that I’m out of the bunk in a flash if I think the wind has changed, the sea is rougher, or something went ping somewhere near the anchor chain. I could never possibly enjoy these sounds at home in my own bed, because I’d always be listening for that wrong sound.
Perhaps I should stick with “Rain on a Tent” and hope the scoutmaster will fix everything.