We climbed back up to our level and used a hotel-standard magnetic key card to enter our room. Due to long travel day, and expected dawn rise, we climbed into our metal bunks early. Newhardt and I read naval warfare books before switching lights to night-time red.
I awoke to the sensation of being pressed by ever-changing gravity into my bunk, with the foam mattress mimicking the ocean's undulations, transitioning from full expansion to pancake-flat compression. The ship had increased speed overnight and was facing a more active ocean. The motion was more soothing and novel than nausea inducing - at least until morning when we began our drunken walk down the corridor wearing a towel and fungus-protecting flip-flops. Use of the Spartan stainless toilet and shower aboard the rocking ship was a challenge, requiring a staggered stance and firm grip on any stable surface.
Weather advisory recommended that the ship return to San Diego to avoid sailing through the equivalent of "The Perfect Storm." After consulting charts and fellow officers, the hardened CO, Captain Doug Dupouy, ordered the Abe Lincoln to continue its mission to Washington state, navigating through the storm's center. Most crew had been onboard for 10 months, and they were naturally quite anxious to return to their families. The Ship Store could've made a killing by raising prices on the precious, lunch-saving Dramamine.
Before the weather hit with a vengeance, we went topside to tour the bridge and the air boss flight control station. Climbing the narrow stairways several stories while rocking and rolling in every direction was enough to give us each pause to keep nausea in check. The higher we ascended, the more exaggerated the effect became.
Once to the command station, Rear Admiral Phil Belial explained basic operations and invited us to sit in his chair. We were offered a chance to man the helm, with the clear realization that we were surrounded by wary officers and any steering input into the modest wheel would take minutes to have an effect. Our traditional 600-foot slalom course would be flattened by a vessel whose handling maneuvers are measured in miles. Still, it was an awesome feeling to briefly command the floating city within an armed flotilla.