The full moon makes the sky a smokier version of day. It creates patches of reflections and shadows as the boat sways upon the waves.
I just received comments from “Surfing The Deep Blue Sea” thanks to all who posted.
Just wanted to clarify, I have already been at sea for 14 days and am 6 or 7 days away from Hawaii. I am running my anchor light at night and my batteries are almost fully charged via solar with all systems off.
I fully intend to work on the engine more once the seas have calmed and will most certainly use all navigational gear and running lights as I approach Hawaii. That is what I am saving my batteries for. If I can not get the engine, to work I will radio for assistance.
My friend Elana had an engine failure on her solo crossing to Hawaii and she was able to get someone to tow her into the anchorage. I am certain I will have the same good fortune, should it come down to that.
I do have a sextant onboard, should I need it. And I was blessed to learn how to take sun sightings from Tania Abbei, while sailing from NY to Bermuda with her many moons ago. (Tania was the first woman to circumnavigate solo, check out her book “Maiden Voyage”)
Someone posted that I should douse my main and sail with reefed jib only. In my opinion it is not advisable to sail under jib only unless you are in calm seas. “The main provides fore-and-aft support for the mast in rough seas,” according to John Rousmaniere’s Heavy Weather Sailing. He says if you need to reduce to one sail, loose everything but the main. That man has steered down 50 ft waves in 50 knots of breeze with pictures to prove it. I will continue to follow his advice ‘cause lord knows I’ve never seen anything like that.
I have two reefs in my main, my jib half-way furled and I am traveling nicely on a broad reach in this wind and swell.
I have made it this far and I’m not turning back. This engine can’t stop me. This boat was made for sailing.
This is not my first time at sea, nor my first time traveling with my boat, nor my first time in these conditions. This is just my first time alone at sea in these conditions.
When one is alone the same wind can feel more potent. The same sea state can feel ten times larger. The heart beats faster, the mind swirls, sounds amplify and ricochet, and it sometimes takes a day or two longer to find faith in ones own capabilities under the given circumstances.
As a human among the expansive blue space that surrounds me, I feel no bigger than a particle of dust.
I have purposefully put myself in a vulnerable position, to gain inner strength and confidence. Each word I write comes from that vulnerable state of being. I am out here a bleeding heart standing naked in the elements before an audience which I can not see.
I write honestly about my mistakes and fears. I have nothing to hide. My hope is that by speaking truthfully I will encourage others to set out towards dreams of their own.
Each day I wake up, I am as grateful as I can be that I’m alive and that my boat is still floating. Each night I pray that I will make it to the next day.
Tuesday night, the sea became particularly rough. I heard voices creep out of the ether that reminded me of a mental asylum. The wind screamed, the waves hit like hammers on the side of the hull, and the boat rose and fell in jostled thuds.
I awoke knowing that I needed to adjust the sails but was nervous to go out. I took a breath of yellow air, strapped myself in, and went to trim.
As I was returning to the cabin I saw white goop on top of the hatch. What fell out of the sea I wondered? I looked around to see where else it could have come from and above me, sitting on my instrument panel, was that very same bird that I wished would have landed in the cockpit a few nights prior.
The bird sat right there with me, from midnight until 5 am. Left one heck of a stinky mess behind, but it was worth it. The same bird flew back to visit me twice yesterday. I know it’s him by his groovy moves between the main and the jib. I finally got a good photo. Can anybody identify it? Sandy V. do you know?
Before departing San Diego my friend, Dr. Ramona, lead a beautiful prayer on the bow of Juniper. She asked God’s angels to protect me and then turned to me and said, “Don’t be surprised if you start to find feathers on your boat.”
I realized yesterday that these birds out here are the guardian angels that she prayed for. It’s why I see more of them than anything else at sea and also why they provide me with a great comfort. With them I am not alone.
I believe that our thoughts are powerful enough to create and destroy everything that surrounds us. That there is a force interweaving everything, not just humans to humans, but humans to everything else in the natural world. And if we believe wholeheartedly, without a doubt, that something will happen, then it will. This can work both in a positive sense and a negative sense.
Did that bird feel my need for it and come back at the very moment I needed it most? All I can say is that I had written only hours before that I wished it would have landed on the boat and then two nights later it landed on the boat! A bird landing anywhere near the cockpit seemed a little far-fetched, but as I wrote it, I had no doubt in my mind that it could potentially happen. And it did!
Another example of this came when I was backpacking through Alaska in the middle of July. My birthday was the following day and I said out loud, “I would like to see bears and snow.”
When you are in bear country you create a triangle of scent to confuse the bears. So you sleep in one point, cook in another, and store your food in another.
The next day, on the morning of my birth, I was eating breakfast on the hillside- which served as the cooking point of the triangle- and I watched from afar as a family of bears charged through my campsite leaving scratch marks on my backpack. A few hours later I hiked through snow and it was the only time in six weeks out there that I ever saw snow or bears.
Beyond creatures I have done this with cars, jobs, housing, you name it. I once had no money in my account but said, “I have a BMW.” Three weeks later a friend, who is a painter, called to say that someone just traded him a BMW for a painting and he asked if I wanted it. The car barely works, but hey I got it. I also realized that I forgot to say “I have a functioning BMW.”
There are cultural examples surrounding the power of believe as well. Among the aborigines in Australia it is believed that if someone waves a lizard bone in your face and recites a specific incantation you will drop dead. The cultural belief is so strong that people do drop immediately dead when it happens.
There is a belief in Nigeria, that a specific statement can make a mans penis fall off. And this is so firmly believed that even though the victim to the statement still has his special part, he can no longer see or feel it and is convinced that it has indeed disappeared. He will then run to a doctor seeking advice on getting it back. I read a great article about it by a western doctor who practices in Nigeria and has spent some time convincing men that they definitely still have all of their pieces and parts. It was in Harper’s Magazine a few years back.
Then what about the Placebo effect. A persons belief in the power of the pill has a greater effect than what is actually in the pill.
So if you want something, all you have to do is believe in it without a doubt and it is so. That is the magic of life.
I’m not saying you can summons a unicorn in a pixie forest, don’t get carried away.
It works in the reverse too. If you spend too much time worrying about what could go wrong. You will create that wrong.
I worried a lot about my engine the first week. Kept thinking it was going to fail me. And it did.
I also think that our responses to our current situations have a huge impact on the rest of our reality.
I could have looked at the lack of engine and clung to a state of despair over it. This would have caused more stuff to go wrong on the boat and in return created more despair.
Instead, I explored the options and moved forward in confidence without stressing over it.
I am now several days without the engine and I see it as a great blessing. Sailing without the navigational gear on all of the time has made me very in tune with the boat and the wind and the waves.
I can feel the wind shift. I can feel the swell rising. I can feel the boat off course. I even naturally awake from my slumber when the boat needs adjusting.
Out here I can now move based more on intuition rather than a computer and that feels amazing. That’s what this is all about.
There can be beauty in the loss of something once relied upon!
This adventure has taught me above all else, to stay positive, to let go, and to trust.
Nothing will ever be perfect, but I will always have exactly what I need.
Thinking like that is the only way to keep floating on.