Compass Rose

I feel like we are moving towards the equator at the pace of a dying lizard that is dragging its body across the sand and towards the shade of a palm tree, so that it can die with a shred of dignity. But the catch is, whatever is killing the lizard is dragging it back the opposite direction, so that every move the lizard makes towards the shade is in vein. And the lizard is praying along the way, “Dear God, in my next life let me be a coconut, so I’ll always be in the shade of that palm tree. Always! And when I am ripe and I fall, don’t let the coconut crabs get me, instead let a pretty girl pick me up, slice me open, wrap her lips around me, and drink my juice. Please, let that be my next ending.”

Soon after his prayer the lizard has his last view of the world beneath the blazing hot sun. Then a wave crashes across his body and pulls him down into the ocean. That’s it.


That’s what it feels like sailing against this current. Seven steps forward, one hundred back. We are sailing backwards.

I am hard on the wind. As hard as one can get before pinching it. I’m hugging it tight and telling it a story about an eel who stole a princess and the school of jellyfish that saved her. I figure if I can entertain the wind, give him a little chuckle, then maybe he will let me hold him just a little tighter.

I think we’re all looking for something that keeps us giggling. That’s the freest emotion. The one with the greatest magnetic field.

I’m trying to sail southeast, but the wind is blowing from there. In fact, its shifting more south as I type and pushing us west of south. If the wind does not shift closer to the east, we will have to tack and tack and tack.

Looking up at the southern cross, I’m so east of true south that you would think I was going the wrong direction. I regret that I do not have a compass rose for this area, but based on the sky, I think the variation between true and magnetic is getting much greater here. And I think that the variation is easterly. This is something I wish I could look up and verify. And if I’m wrong I will curse the logic that brought me to this conclusion.

Note to self, always carry a compass rose for the area in which you are traveling. No matter how vast that area is. No matter how distorted the Mercator projection of it becomes.

Magnetism is cool. Opposites attracting. Likes repelling. And knowing that the core of our earth is unevenly magnetic. And that the magnetic poles are nowhere near the geographic poles. I think one day south is gonna become north and east is gonna become west. And that’s gonna rock me as hard as the loss of Pluto as a planet did.

The sliver of the moon smiled at us just as the sun set. Then off of port something bright rose in the sky. Josh said, “That must be a planet.”

I said, “Yes, that is planet earth.”

There was a long pause while he digested my joke. He said, “Wait, what?” Then I laughed and he laughed a lot. “You almost got me,” he said.

What if we could see earth hanging in the sky from earth? Like if the sky reflected it onto the sea then the sea reflected it back up into the canopy of heavens?

It’s 2200 now. Everybody is sleeping and I’m on my favorite night watch schedule; 2000-2300 (8-11 pm) then 0500-0800 (5-8 am).

I take my finger and trace the stars until I draw heart-shapes all across the sky. I pretend that an electric current flows through my fingertips the way it would a wire. I pretend that it creates a magnetic field so strong that the hearts in the sky and I become intrinsically linked. I pretend that I am a now a heart made of stars.

I sleep easy. I dream of going to a grocery store. I tell the guys, “I’ll be right back. I’m headed to the store.” They say to me, “Olivia, there’s nowhere to go beyond this ocean.”

I wake up. I drink coffee. I adjust sails.

I watch a flying fish fly out of the Pacific and all the way into the Atlantic. At least that was the direction he was heading in when he left the horizon.

I sail through a pile of birds. I think they are petrels. They sing to me while flying behind the boat. Their song is more like a shriek. It feels foreboding. Are they trying to warn us of a storm or are they back there screaming “Fish, fish, fish” or are they just saying, “You idiots, you’ll never make it to the equator.” I don’t know.

I’m gonna go now. I’m gonna go so I can water my soul. I’m gonna hurry before the sun gets too high and the sea gets too hot. I’m gonna do it now while there is still a slight breeze blowing down my neck. I’m gonna do it until life is all aquatic and I am a bubble expanding into it.

***Want to know where we are? We have a tracker. Donate any amount you feel to receive the password for this adventure. Check the “Contribute” page or “Tracker” page via the main menu on both will lead you there. It automatically sends a message to you with my satellite email in copy when you donate. If you donated and can’t find the email, look in your junk mail for a message from Olivia & Juniper Or If you still can’t find it, message me on my satellite email – and I can send it your way.

****If you are reading this and would like to receive the posts straight to your Inbox, put your email in at the bottom of any page on the blog and click “Sail Along” then go to your email and confirm that you would like to follow.

***Special request for anybody reading from California. I am in the July and August isssue of Latitude 38. Hoping someone can scoop me a few copies of both months issues. Forever grateful if you can. X

5 Replies to “Compass Rose”

  1. Olivia, Magnetic variation is zero where you are. You may have to tack to get your easting; even if it means going away from Tahiti for a few days. When we left Pago Pago en-route Hawaii, the course was NE. To get our easting after departing Pago, we sailed SE for four days before tacking.

  2. Sounds rough trying to fight the wind and currents but you are getting closer to the equator, hopefully late tomorrow or early the next day. There is the first Eastern Pacific Hurricane headed towards Hawaii, the Big Island. Hopefully a tropical depression by Sunday. Maybe that is somehow effecting your progress. Just taking a wild guess. Other Hurricanes popping up in the gulf. Smooth sailing is on the way.
    I love you,

  3. Our Boat Name and Logo. We collect Compass Roses. Your Mom and I grew up together.

    On Wed, Jul 22, 2020 at 5:18 PM Wilderness of Waves wrote:

    > wildernessofwaves posted: “I feel like we are moving towards the equator > at the pace of a dying lizard that is dragging its body across the sand and > towards the shade of a palm tree, so that it can die with a shred of > dignity. But the catch is, whatever is killing the lizard is dra” >

  4. Is there any way you can work with the currents so you can move a lot faster, even though the as the crow flies distance is longer? Im not a sailor but some quick googling tells me that you may want to go with the current more East and after you cross the equator cut back toward Tahiti as the current south of the equator goes the other way? Just a thought stay safe out there!!!

  5. The doldrums, like slow, sweaty torture, can work on a mariner’s mind. The only redemption can be . . . ice cream! . . . But, alas, there are no Mr. Softees at 2-north, or even 10-south. Be strong and your reward awaits you at an ice cream parlor in paradise!

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