Morning was about to break and the strawberry full moon was hanging above the jagged peaks of Mo’orea like a prayer. I have lost track of days, months, and moons, and this moon was not the flower moon, as I have been calling her, but she bled across the sky like a wildflower bleeds across grass, anyway. Tangerine and low and round and vast. If I sailed any closer to her I would slip into the milk of the galactic.
Coffee was created only after Cici soothed the propane tanks with this song “Oh propane, please light your fire, everybody needs their coffee in the morning, my captain and me, we are tired, so we really need the coffee in the morning.”
At 8 a.m. I motored between the reefs of Avaroa pass and into Cook’s Bay. We dropped the hook and stared at a landscape where legends linger of giants petrified by daylight.
The anchorage is surrounded by green cliffs as high as creatures of the Jurassic and petals float all around perfuming the water. My eyes needed something this wet and tall after the flat salt deserts of the Tuamotus.
Cici and I were dirty and dazed. We sat. We swam. We stepped over sharks to eat at a French restaurant and we ate until our thoughts were all afterthoughts. The owner of the joint drove us to fill water jugs from the free spigots in town and to the Super U Are grocery store where we bought chocolate bars and effervescent water.
Sleep came fast. Before sunset, and lasted until the wind blew loud enough to sway me. I woke to see that the anchor was sunk good in the mud and that my sailboat neighbor has a living room lamp in his cockpit. I blinked a bunch. It was like I was looking at a lifestyle magazine.
The roosters called for the sun in unison, ukulele strings were strumming, and a cat was meowing somewhere close by. Like she was in the water.
In the new day, we made sun print pareo’s with a local artist. Green geckos crawled all around. There were so many colors and shapes to create with that I was creatively paralyzed. I need fewer choices when it comes to everything in life. Otherwise, I can’t see straight enough to know what it is that I want. In general, this has been more severe lately. Something feels off. Something within is disconnected. Perhaps you could not know this from my writing. I can be very good at hiding.
We met a gaggle of spirits that surround the pareo artist. A prophet, a witch, a wanderer, all seeking the spirit of a tangible dream. The prophet, who looks like Jesus had Jesus lived a touch longer, pulls me aside and says, “The universe has been giving you many signs which you have ignored. You are to let go of something which you have held onto. This something once gave you freedom and is now keeping you captive. It can’t carry you where you are going next.” I know it all sounds as vague as a fortune cookie to you, but then he said, “It’s your sailboat.”
Before I came back to Juniper, I had the idea to sail her a little longer around here, then sell her. I don’t know if I even told you this. It’s a hard thought to say out loud and I choke as I swallow it back down. And when I got back to her, I changed my mind and decided to sail her to Fiji.
I think the signs that the prophet mentions are these- the electrical fire, her going ashore, the leaks nobody can explain. I can’t afford financially or energetically or emotionally to keep doing the major repairs needed to take her offshore. I have been told more than once, by those helping me repair her, that I need to sell her instead. I think she prefers to sail closer to coasts, 200 nautical miles at most.
Cici and I ascended into the tropical gardens. An elderly woman with a crown fed us fish and fruits. It was there, that I met, by chance, two people who had been on the pearl farm and helped to rescue Juniper. They were the only other people in the garden besides us.
Chance meetings are never by chance.
They told me of the day it happened. About how a mooring line had broken free from Juniper almost a month prior and someone had just announced, “I need to go replace the line,” when they all looked over and saw that Juniper was already on shore. They told me other things too. Words that were spoken of me by one individual before Juniper went ashore. Words that weren’t kind. Words attacking the sensitive nature of my character. Words, that of course, cut deep to hear.
Maybe Juniper could hear the things said of me from across the water. Maybe that’s why she let herself loose. Maybe it was her way of protecting me.
Accidents are never by accident.
And when I think about that. About the connection that Juniper and I have, how can I let her go? Where will I go when I do? How long will it take to find the right boat to continue this journey on?
7 Replies to “ACCIDENTS ARE NEVER BY ACCIDENT”
if you are planning to sell a boat you feel is not safe 200 miles offshore, you are definitely in the wrong place to get fair value from JUNIPER as there are few places close to you that fit in the category. I know what you are feeling. I have been broke and with broken boat things far from home and the ease with which you can accept defeat is the Devil’s way. either you are of the sea and will make it work… or not.
you’re right though, nothing is by accident. Perhaps you were never meant to be in Ahe’. Whatever.
The main thing is, make up your mind or the fence sitting will result in more things you don’t want to happen. The Universe is always listening and will give you what you fear in order to make you SEE. Harsh lessons sometimes, life changing, but just another drip in the fountain of life.
I wish you well and have envy for where you are anchored. I was there many times and often had to pinch myself to believe it was real and OK for me to experience it when so much else seemed wrong with the world. Enjoy every minute, make up your mind, and either way, you can move on.
There is a long list of boats being sold in desperation in the South Pacific. You would not be alone.
Beautifully wirtten post as usual.
In the West many say to pray about things we need help in; in the East many say meditate to a calm state, then pray about it – to whatever source you consider abundance and prosperity to flow from – PETITON IT AND DON’T BE A BEGGAR it wants more than any of us realize an incredible flow of abundance, joy and prosperity in all things – yes, bumping our heads and egos along the way. Does this seem preachy, too personal, I hope not, I would not know how to navigate life all on my own, which doesn’t mean I still do not try to.
For what it is worth… I do not know if not monetizing your adventures on YouTube was a decision made or you just never thought about it. It is never too late to produce (which you know how to do) a series of YT videos and gain a plethora of followers who can’t, won’t, or are perhaps in the process of pursuing the cruising / adventuring lifestyle. You have the creativity, skills, lifestyle to capitalize on your accomplishments – which are many.
YT doesn’t care if you are shy on camera, YT rewards those with compelling content. I don’t document my life on YT. My siblings and I once tried out for Family Feud. That is when I realized my disdain for being in front of a camera. My experience with YT has been as a viewer of many, many sailing channels. There are apparently millions of folks somewhat like me that will at least for a while support the folks that make videos of their sailing / cruising lives, adventures , DIY projects, best and worst days on the water, all of it. The followers come as trickle or a flood, some stay and pay, some just subscribe; some like myself make the “buy us a beer” type contributions that attribute to s/v Delos for starting. I watch way too many channels to be a patreon (sp?) for long. When I do sign on as patreon member to a channel I always choose the startups that are not just cleavage and bravado producers – there are way too many of those. Revenue starts as a trickle that barely helps and eventually, for some content makers, sailors, families, adventurers et al ends up partially or fully sustaining their lifestyle.
Start a YT channel, use the frickin clickbait thumbnails and captions. Let’s face it, most cruising sailors have stories to tell that deserve what are construed as a clickbait title and / or photo. And, there are millions of folks that will tune into those stories – I am one and we learn from them. I went from a landlubber to a live aboard to being ready to cast the lines for Mex after hurricane season – not knowing where I’ll go after that. Call your friend Sam Homes, he’s making it work and has had for the most part crappy equipment and is not at ease in front of the camera – he had a strong desire to make it happen – just like you do.
I’ve been biting my tongue about your boat for a long time. A boat is many things, but primarily it’s a tool. Use the right tool for the job at hand. I had good luck going to New Zealand and getting a boat approved for offshore. Spent nine years sailing around the Pacific, before selling her in California.
Boats are labors of love. Mine moved sideways on its own while 1 foor above the trailer I need to drive out from under her in the next couple of days: to remind me that she will not forgive me if I let her down? Perhaps you need to rededicate yourself to her.
Hi Olivia, Just read your post about your sweet Juniper. I am a friend of Livvy’s from childhood. We are selling our 2008 Beneteau 373. She has only been in freshwater on Greers Ferry Lake. Let me know if you have any interest in her. Hate to let her go but arthritis is preventing me from enjoying that life. Adele Lloyd
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Hi, Olivia ~ I’ve been binge reading your blog the past day to catch up on what I’ve missed these past few months I’ve been away. When I read this post about parting company with Juniper, my heart sank deeply. What you feel and think is, of course, what matters most in what your decision comes to be in the future. I understand that constant breakdowns are exhausting to deal with, and when the uncertainty factor is always revving at high values, the weariness of dealing, coping with challenges can, at times, gravely interfere with the journey, figuratively and literally. I just recently watched ‘All is Lost’ with Robert Redford. I had been avoiding watching it as before watching the film, I had already surmised the fate of his ‘Virginia Jean’…but watch it still I did, and then subsequently read somewhere that the movie is, or could be interpreted as, a metaphor for growing old. I am at that age when it is, quite literally, one thing after another that fills my plate with health challenges. I’ve made a decision that I need to keep pressing on, at least for now. There is another sailing blog that I follow of a woman (who is also an amazing watercolor artist) who is in her mid 70-s; she has been solo sailing her 40 ft sailboat for close to 10 years now. Her blog is http://yachtswoman.blogspot.com/ (‘Sailing on, Single-handed’ is its title). She, just like you, is an inspiration to me. ~ Chelle and Sunny
P.S. The woman I mention in my other comment is Elizabeth Tyler and her sailboat, ‘Aquarella’ btw, is over 40 years old. They sail together on the Aegean Sea.