3,000 miles from land

16-May 2012, 23:33
Leg 2 to Marquesas, Day 14

.. from Panama actually, our origin; 2100 miles from the Galapagos Islands, last land we’ve seen; only 900 miles to the Marquesas Islands, our next landfall; and then another 900 miles to Tahiti (the first real airport and chance to jump ship, should that be the case.) For now, though, I’m right here and happily so.

But you may wonder, what the bejeezus have I been doing at sea all this time? I ask myself this question every day. I ask myself a lot of questions. Especially when I wake up in the morning and ponder what I’ll do… hmm well I can read, write some, eat, exercise, stare out at the sea, and continue my tanning regime. My schedule is roughly planned around the watch schedule, or alone time (especially in the dark hours.)

My schedule tonight: I’ll type on this a bit, take a sponge bath, finish my David Sedaris book (last story, and savoring it), and then I’ll sit in my new favorite spot, close my eyes, and feel the great black sea. Later I’ll open my eyes (looking out on the dark horizon, upside-down), and identify stars on my iPhone.

As I was coming into this I had some ideas of things I’d do. Top of my list was to learn all I can about the boat and this way of transport, and admittedly, at a certain point, I felt a frustration that I wasn’t learning enough. As I mentioned earlier, Julian can and basically does sail this boat himself, not that I’m not at least somewhat familiar with the rig and how to go about working it. Learning the philosophy and craft behind maximizing efficiency and practicing optimal safety is ongoing… and like many other sciences, especially given the multitude of variables, the science is bullshit, and I feel like intuition and my own common sense renders calculations of little use.. it’s the language of the world I’m thinking in, and it complements (if not completely undermines) Julian’s 57 years of experience. Makes me smile (in private). The steady weather conditions of riding the trail-winds along the equator make it fairly easy-going regarding the actual sailing.. although the sea is much “lumpier” than we expected (borrowing one of Julian’s many funny English phrases). Conditions range from being inside a washing machine to riding a camel, but the pitchi-ness doesn’t affect the sailing so much.. sails are set, wind is constant, and the waves make it interesting. By the way, no motion sickness!

Hmm, seems less interesting to read about than it is in person (and it’s not that interesting ;) What’s infinitely more fun is all this personal time to play with… letting my tightly-wound brain loosen. I enjoyed the hyper-activity in my head so much over the past months, being extremely switched-on since traveling with Natalia, as well as with the Poles, and now the surprise blessing is that Ican now process all of that. The conversation amongst us three is pretty minimal – not that we’re sick of each other, rather we’re all happily settling into ourselves and the sea. This is where the real trip is.

About half way through this leg (when I started writing this, 4 days ago) I was feeling rather lumpy myself, with the lack-of-sailing issue manifesting in restlessness. (Update: I raised the issue and more efforts are being made to employ my help :) The what am I doing [if not commanding this rig]? feeling would last a short while, usually in the morning, being unclear of my higher purpose here.. until I’d find myself happily occupied with many other things. Then I kicked-up the exercising, personal writing, reading, and meditation. All the other stuff: crew-politics, cooking, duties, have been demoted to bare essentials… it’s beautiful. (Ok, I still kick-ass in the kitchen – can’t help it!)

[ food.. sexy bread? ]

While before, the purgatory of endlessly being in the washing machine might hijack my mood (and sleep), now I’m feeling invincible, almost super-high on I-don’t-know-what.. I suppose the therapy of writing this plus voicing my concerns (and feeling quite resolved about them) has me back to 100% [attitude]. It’s all in the attitude… the attitude of gratitude! I’m sleeping much better too, with eye mask and earplugs-in, splayed-out in ‘spider monkey’ pose, I have to flip my pillow three times a night to stay out of my own drool. (This is a good thing.)

And my body is stronger. I haven’t been into exercising for a while… like years. Now it’s a regime that gives me discipline which helps everything else flow. Hard to explain, but it somehow makes everything else I do better. I look forward to it all day, saving it for the late afternoon. Using water jugs, or mostly just playing with the forces of our boat’s movement against the weight of my own limbs, I focus on parts, leveraging and creating tension, and work it till I’m tired. I end up with a fountain of energy that won’t quit until I’m in bed (like tonight… I got up again to type.) It’s not about upgrading my self-image.. it’s a vehicle to do more.

Yoga is hard, and I kind of gave up on everything beyond sun salutations, to keep my stretchiness. Meditation is actually really hard too, but I’m committed and making progress. I feel like a big buddha smile is my biggest breakthrough.. and cheating a little, by resting my back on the main mast, blind-folding myself, and getting naked.. somehow I can almost forget my balancing, gyrating body long enough to zoom around for a while away from it.

All my books are awesome (thanks Natalia, who brought me seven to Costa Rica when we last met-up), and I treat each one like a bar of fine chocolate, savoring just one chunk or short story at a time, then putting it down to enjoy in my head until the next occasion. The short stories by Herman Hess, David Sedaris and Kurt Vonnegut are my favorite. In contrast to Spencer, who’s reading a different book on his Kindle (voted on-board as the m.v.p. of travel companion-tech) each day, mainly of the How-to, Getting rich, Law-of-attraction, or Sailing variety, I’m nibbling on beautiful nuggets of literary genius. I read one long-head book about decipherment of Mayan hieroglyphics, awesome indeed, and started the Bhagavad-Gita, but after re-reading the Tao of Pooh I’m more inclined towards the simple, emotional, and light.

It’s a small thing, but I’m finding a universe in my music collection. Maybe because my time is not cut-up between where I’m going or what I’m doing, that I can listen to everything with a patience I never had before. My FF button has never felt so lonely. One night I listened to the Smashing Pumpkins for three hours, learned the lyrics to Gish (their first album) for the first time, and didn’t skip through any of the live or rare tracks that I haven’t listened to in years. 347 tracks and it felt all-new again. It’s like that with everything. Amazing.

I’ve made sketches, nearly filled my journal with dreams, scribbled a few sentimental notes, and cast out a million messages of love into the sky — I hope ya’ll got ’em. Good night!

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