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Day 1568
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Sailing Solo Across the Atlantic - Part II

Mar 26

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3/26/2013 3:23 PM  RssIcon

2/22 - My mast is the radius of my world. Standing on the foredeck my eyes can scan to the horizon some 10 - 12 miles distant. This is my world. It may seem that a patch of sea described by the old equation, pi*radius(squared) wouldn't hold much variation. Add to it the dome of the sky above and it becomes infinitely variable. Hours can pass only to realize the whole time has been spent watching the small changes in wave forms. The quality of the light in the sea changes drastically from a still sunny day where the light penetrates deeply in waves to a day like today, where the grey overcast sky turns the sea a darker, foreboding shade of grey. Each sunset catches the moon out, chasing the sun. When I first departed South Africa it was only a delicate sliver of light. It dropped below the horizon minutes after the suns final departure. With each passing night the moon has become bolder and risen higher and higher in the sky when the sun has dropped into the sea. As it gains altitude it also waxes from a sliver of silver light into that maternal orb that guides us through the dark and stirs the wild canines to raise their voices at the sky. There is a quality, untouchable, indescribable, that is brought out of the primordial deep when lit by the light of a full moon. The only thing better for sailing than a full moon is no moon at all. In this darkness the heavens open and the depth of space becomes tangible. I am finding my old love of long passages.

2/23 - Visitors came to help me celebrate the ending of one more beautiful day at sea. Other than a few birds I’ve seen almost no sea life since saying goodbye to the Good Hope seals plying the waters of South Africa. Only today did the first pod of dolphins charge Jargo for a surf on the bow wave. It is rare to go for a sail without seeing these lithe creatures, but I never tire of watching them dance on the wave tops. They were still going strong when the sun fell so far below the horizon I could no longer make out their silhouettes.

Soaking up the sun this afternoon I came to a conclusion. Other than a chance to grab a bacon cheeseburger and a good English beer I could think of no reason to stop at St. Helena. At only some 200 miles away it is no longer out of the way. Even with it being on my general course, I don’t really care to break up the routine I’ve settled into. Eleven days into my passage I feel as though I am just hitting my stride. To stop now would be to start all over again. My mind is full of day dreams for the future and I am surrounded with the materials I need to begin making some of those dreams a reality today. The one thing I wish I had done was to download the portable version of wikipedia. Too often I wish I had a very broad scope reference like an encyclopedia for quick research into ideas as they spring to mind. The next best thing is my old blue composition notebook. It is full of lists of ideas, music, books, and projects I want to explore. I find too many thoughts of real potential value are fleeting unless I commit them to paper.

2/25 - It is a sickly kind of strength. The muscles respond and swell with the influx of oxygen rich blood. Yet, a nausea sets in counteracting the motivation to push through to the benefits on the other side of the effort. I hate to break the myth that sailing is a highly physical activity. For some racers working the grinders this may be true. For most cruisers like myself physical atrophy is the real danger on long passages. With four more weeks ahead of me I've finally decided to do something to counteract the negative effects of life in 12 meters.

Jargo continues to glide along nearly dead down wind rolling from one beam end to the other. The winds and seas are light allowing me to experiment. Between scuba weights and basic calisthenics I've managed something that resembles a workout. The physical screaming of my body tells me the effort was not wasted. Now that the initial nausea is passing just the feeling of swollen, well used muscles remain. It isn't unpleasant. The real trick is trying to do push ups and sit ups on a platform that is constantly lifting and falling. One repetition my only induce 90% of the expected weight where on the rise of the boat you may find yourself lifting 110% . In over four years I've never managed to drive myself to a physical exercise routine on passage. With another 4000 miles in front of me it was time.

My time here is strictly my own. There is no excuse not to make of this time what I wish it to be.

2/28 - 16 days into this passage and I feel like I just started yesterday. I am devouring books at the rate of one every other day. On top of reading I continue to make strange noises on the guitar hoping one day it might sound like music. I haven’t yet caught a fish on this passage and I wonder if somehow the guitar isn’t responsible. It took some digging, but I’ve also reinstalled Rosetta Stone’s Latin American Spanish lessons on my little netbook. I am excited to return to Mexico and resume learning a language I love. What little Spanish I had has been decimated by the miserable French vocabulary I’ve picked up along the way. There is only room in my mind for one second language and it feels good to form the once familiar sounds.

My thoughts still drift far and wide throughout the day. One pleasure of returning to life on land will be the purchase of a motorcycle. I’ve had years to think and dream about what bike would be mine. As of today I am torn between two very different ideas. One, the Kawasaki KLR 650, is a dual sport enduro bike capable of going round the world in nearly any terrain. With the addition of some bags and a few upgrades it is a rugged go anywhere motorcycle. On the other hand, something like the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird would make a robust sport touring bike with enough speed to keep it very fun. Both bikes are capable of eating up thousands of miles. One can go cross country, the other is limited to tarmac. I know I would have more fun on the road and in the hills on the Honda, but fear I’d be limited by the tarmac requirement. With the KLR I’d have a go anywhere bike that is beautiful in its simplicity, but perhaps not a bike I would love to ride. The debate continues.

Jargo continues to fly along, wing on wing, heading for the Eastern tip of Brazil. It has been more overcast than I’d like and my energy suffers with the lack of sunshine. Still, the days are warm and beautiful, the water clear and blue. Now if only I could catch a fish.

2,200 miles down, 3,500 miles to go.

Location: Blogs Parent Separator Ship's Log

2 comment(s) so far...


Re: Sailing Solo Across the Atlantic - Part II


Awesome passage, congratulations. Did you use up your fuel keeping the batteries charged or getting through the doldrums? (or both). Enjoy that cheeseburger in paradise, you earned it.

Your for a safe (remaining) voyage,

John M

By John Meyer on   3/28/2013 3:24 PM

Re: Sailing Solo Across the Atlantic - Part II

Sail here to Tesoro Escondido Lodge in Bocas Del Toro, Panama, and I'll cook you a welcome back meal you won't soon forget. And buy you a drink.
Two thumbs way up. Well done.

By David on   3/28/2013 3:38 PM

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