Here are more of my musings, ramblings, wanderings.

Last night I dreamt that the wind picked up something fierce. 60 knots. When I “woke up” both whisker stays were broken and the whole anchor chain had popped. I had only 10 feet of chain left and nothing tethering me to anything. Juniper had sailed herself around the corner from my Aunt and Uncles house, straight onto Cantrell Road in Little Rock, Arkansas. She was next to a dumpster in a parking lot, which doesn’t even exist there on that road, around that corner. I was trying to dive and grab her anchor and the rest of her chain, when I realized that the dream was but a dream.

“People repress and ignore the symbols of their dreams because they find them primitive.” I wrote that down on the back or a receipt from 2009. I rediscovered it today. I did not write such brilliance. Maybe it came from “Les Maitres Fous” which is a film that I love and is referenced elsewhere on the receipt, or perhaps it came from the genius mind belonging to Joseph Campbell.

I’m not repressing my dream, I am mulling it over. Milking it. Dissecting it’s meaning on a broader level. I can tell you this, sometimes I feel as if Juniper is falling apart and perhaps will end up in that dream parking lot next to the dumpster. Bigger picture; I think humans long to belong. Humans cherish and at the same time resent being tethered. Humans crave novelty and at the same time need consistency. I am human, I think. Maybe I am subconsciously soiled by the fact that sailing shakes up these human desires, tosses them into the wind and keeps me on the edge of belonging and untethered in a world that is nothing but novel.

A flock of birds is relentlessly chasing schools of parrotfish off of starboard. I see an orange parrot. They are a rare and scrumptious sight. On shore, through my binoculars, I see a grass-green dove sitting on a palm tree. I think he is singing.

One of my neighbors, 15 feet away, is bathing naked off the stern of their boat in broad daylight. I can see everything. EVERYTHING! Does he know that I can see? Does he want me to see? Does he like for me to see? Perhaps he is an exhibitionist.

I do the same on my boat, but only in the crawling crack of night.

Speaking of night, the little boy on S/V Wilderness asks me, “What is beyond space?” I say, “Beyond what we can see there is more of what we see. The stars and planets and galaxies and suns and moons and comets continue on.” I can tell that he is not satisfied by my answer. He knows that there is an end to everything and therefore space must have an ending too. But he doesn’t know yet that life is a snake eating it’s tail and every ending is a beginning. I want to tell him, “Nothing ever really ends and therefore the world will always be soft even when it feels hard.” But his mind shifts gears, he says, “Your necklace looks like candy and when it sparkles it makes me want to eat it.” He is 8, he means my opal.

I convince a neighbor, who is Swiss and waves a Buddhist prayer flag from his mast, to help me tighten my stuffing box. The shaft packing is leaking three drops a second and my bilge is always bulging and Juniper on the verge of sinking. I do not tell him that I am not quite certain how we tighten it. I just know that I need two pipe wrenches and four hands, cause one part has to be held while another spins tighter to it.

I hail him on the VHF. Channel 72. “This is S/V Juniper to The Three Goddesses of Fate.” Ok well, that is not the name of his boat, but that is what the name of his boat means, so I call it that. There is a long pause before, “Olivia is that you?”

He comes over. I take the stairs apart. He says, “Why is your engine backwards?” I say, “It’s a V drive.” He says, “A what?” I say, “Nevermind yourself with that.”

We look at the troubling drips of ocean dropping into my boat. Everything is so corroded that there is no distinction between my packing nut and locking nut. I tell him what I think we should spin them closer to the shaft bearing. We end up spinning the packing nut the opposite way and more water comes in.

We struggle for an hour or two trying to solve the problem. Then we enlist the help of another neighbor. That neighbor comes over. The first thing he says with his British accent is, “Oh you have a V drive. Then asks, “Do you happen to have any Nigel Calder books.” This neighbor knows all the right things!

We get out the books. We look at the index. We find a page called “Stuffing Box Blues.” With the help of that page my neighbor figures out that we do need to spin them towards the shaft bearing, but first we need to back off the packing nut (as we initially did), spin the locking nut towards the shaft bearing on its own (which we did not think or know to do), then spin the packing nut towards the locking. We do it. The drips stop. We turn the engine on. She drips a drop or two a minute. That’s how she should do and now I know exactly what to do the next time.

I scream, “Y’all saved me from sinking!”

I cook them dinner. I have a fresh surplus of food because I convinced a nearby pension to grab me groceries the last time they went North.

I meet some true artists here at anchorage. Cici is dating one of them. His name is Romano. He owns a Formosa which is also built in Taiwan and has an interior like a mansion.

We sit in his saloon that looks like a ballroom. We play chess. He plays his keyboard. We sing. Oasis. His crew member paints and writes poetry.

I am reverberating. I want to cry. I love my life. I love this element. I say, “Tears are the ocean crawling out of us.” Romano says, “Sometimes tears can be the dirty rivers of your fears.” We decide that if something does not have the potential to make us cry, then it means that it wasn’t that good.

Romano teaches me the names for parts of the boat in French. Do you know what they call the gooseneck? He says that they call it the “dick of a donkey!” I can’t believe it.

Cici and I are leaving in an hour or so. I see a big high pressure system headed this way. We must fly before the wind dies.


  1. Interesting tapestry of primitive and deep. The naked man on the boat next to yours “in full daylight” was perhaps shocking at some level . . . subdued by our cultural trance we spend a lifetime trying to break free while, ironically, feeling guilty about making those around us uncomfortable with our new-found freedom. “Perhaps he is an exhibitionist . . . “, noted the performance artist from her perch.

    What an incredible tribe of spirits to hang out with there!!!!!

  2. Olivia, All boats are sinking. The harder (i.e. smarter) you work, the longer it takes. Good job on finding the right resource to handle that stuffing box job. Remember, too tight and it’ll overheat. Too loose and you’re sinking faster. If you haven’t already done it, next time you haul out, install some new stuffing. It’s cheap. Looks like greased rope. Fair winds and Aloha on your passage.

  3. oh baby, you are now in the poo every moment. if you need it hot, it will be. to save you. it’s like you finally stepped off the edge and are truly getting it. tomorrow is an illusion.
    so when you have taken that bite of the apple, doesn’t it just make you want more?
    don’t forget ahe’. they deserve to have you there documenting the energy transfer imagined for the isolated Maoris in North NZ. a couple of days could really spread it out and do so much good.
    living naked, eating your catch, taking what is given freely with gratitude, freedom that makes you cry, will never let you go now. you think there is another world, but if it’s not with JUNIPER, it ain’t.
    keep on keepin’ on. bob said that.

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