At the fuel dock in Kona, I saw a sea turtle that must have been 5,000 years old. He was the size of a flying saucer and had barnacles growing all over him.
I don’t know if it’s true or not, but a dude told me that this type of barnacle only grows on turtles. From what I’ve now read I think that the “turtle barnacle” gets around town. Apparently it also grows on sirenians, whales, other crustaceans and sea snakes.
I kind of feel like Juniper is a sea turtle and I’m a barnacle latching on and hitching a ride. I am growing into her shell and skin until our skeletons twist and twine together. She is me and I am her.
And for a long time I was the only barnacle calling her mine, but now two more barnacles have joined the journey. They don’t know her just yet. Not the way I do. They don’t know her ticklish spots. They don’t know where she stores her hidden tears, her secrets, her soft surprises. They don’t know how she zigs. They don’t know how she zags. They don’t know how to make her swim the direction they want to go or how she swallows the sea.
They don’t know, so I am showing them all her ropes. Today I showed them how to deploy her life raft and EPIRB. It’s most important that they know that now, because together we are letting go of land and flying our turtle south. It’s roughly a 2,078 NM journey. We will be offshore for two weeks, maybe a little more.
I feel many different ways about doing this adventure with other barnacles aboard. Most troublesome for my head is that I am the captain of this turtle and the responsibility of their lives rests in my hands. It’s not my first time playing this role, it’s just my first time playing it offshore.
Just before sunset two red-footed boobies played between our turtles sails. That always excites me. I see it as a good omen. That bird has always been my guardian angel at sea.
It’s midnight now and the others are sleeping. Our turtle is almost to the southwestern edge of Big Island. The wind is light. The swell is small. The moon is echoing across the clouds and stealing all that shines from the stars.
In a few hours it won’t be like this. The light air. The calmness. My whole being palpitates knowing what awaits us beyond the leeward side of this island. The wind is to quicken to 30 knots and the swell will be up to 8 ft. And there will be no visible shore anymore. Just a watery blue.
We are going to be heading close to the wind during it all. I hate that point of sail, especially in a heavy breeze. It’s hard on the body. It’s hard on the rig. It’s hard on my heart.
I’m shaking all over now and I don’t know if it’s the dampness in the air or the dampness in my mind that has lead to this.
The way I feel right now reminds me of another thing I saw at the fuel dock. These fishermen came in with a Blue Marlin that they caught. A woman at the dock strung it up on hooks to weigh it, the fish weighed more than me! It clocked in at 153 pounds. The woman kept it dangling there so the fisherman could get a photo. They sat there posing with the fish when all of a sudden it’s innards fall out of its mouth. All of it’s guts were on display for all to see.
I am that fish and here are my innards.
It’s 3 am and the wind kicked up as predicted. I threw two reefs in the main and hoisted the staysail. I hadn’t been back in the cockpit two minutes when I heard a loud pop. I ran up to the bow. My surfboard had shaken itself loose and floated somewhere far away from our turtle. And the stay for the staysail broke at the base.
I think my ring for the cotter pin had worked its way out and caused the issue. As a result the plate that the stay sits on has slackened and the fitting for the stay was severely bent.
Sava tried bending it back to shape with vice grips but it was of no use. In the end we had to modify it by threading a bolt through the fitting and putting a nut on the other side. We also tightened the plate back down.
It doesn’t look pretty anymore. It looks like a hodge podge of parts that have never known each other before. It doesn’t matter how she looks though. What matters is that she has been holding strong in breezes blowing in the mid to upper 20s. So I imagine she’s ok now.
It’s 8 am. I slept a little. The swell is quite big and I’m soaking wet. I just saw a big aqua blue patch in the water. When I checked the chart instead of the depth, like all the other blue patches on the chart, that area read “Lava.” I don’t know what it means. I like to think that part of Hawai’i is spilling out into the sea. I can still feel her islands around me, even though I can no longer see them.
Speaking of lava, I just made coffee. I make it pour over style, which is not the best for these conditions. The boat is being tossed about so much that I couldn’t keep it in the filter. It splashed and singed my hand before dripping its way down into the cup.
I ran my hand under water and then slapped some cold salmon on top of it. I’m wearing it like a bracelet. Cooling it down while I watch schools of flying fish ride from wave to wave.
Josh is baking bread and Sava is sleeping.
A lot has happened in less than 24 hours. we lost a crescent wrench overboard, busted the stay, lost surfboard, burned my hand, and broke the handle off a key cabinet in the galley, but the sun is shining down on our little turtle now.
Who knows what tomorrow shall bring.