It’s 7 p.m. the air is light and my main is bashing in the swell so bad that it just broke the lazy jacks off of my stack pack. I will miss the lazy jacks, but it’s ok, I know how to flake a sail.
Night one and I’ve already broken something. I have no emotion about it. I think I’m so accustomed to things breaking now, that I’m finally enveloping a true state of non-attachment. It’s only taken me my whole life and owning a boat to get here…. there’s so much you can learn from a boat.
Beaver dropped their main entirely. They just radioed to say that they’re gonna motor through the night. I want to stay near to them, but I can’t stand the sound of an engine, it’s like sticking my head inside of a tractor.
Actually, I don’t know which sound is worse, the motor or the main luffing. What do you pick? Do you keep your main up when it’s like this? Do you let it bash around a little like I do? I don’t know what to do. I want to drop the main, kill the engine and just float, but I have to keep some speed, because Big Brother is watching! We’re living in strange times.
Ok well, the engine appears to be smoking a touch and all the gauges are so hot that they have condensation forming inside of them, so that settles that. I just centered the main and killed it. I’m barely going 2 knots, I’ll never see Beaver, ever again. They’ll be 30 nautical miles ahead by morning, looking like a toy boat on the horizon, lost among the waves.
This night is a cave bejeweled with glow worms and I can’t find the little moon. I have set an alarm for every hour, because I’m the on dog watch until I get to Fiji. Now I’m curled up into the settee with all of my pillows. Sleeping, but not sleeping. It’s very difficult to sail or sleep without air.
I just awoke, awoke to the yellow splash of dawn and a steady breeze. I’m moving again. Heading more north of my course than I would like, it’s a struggle to go any other direction with this swell and I’d much rather move than not move. Maybe I’m secretly being forced further north to save me from the restless weather developing below me. Systems here. Systems there. Stirring it up and spitting salt.
I don’t see Beaver on the horizon or AIS anymore. Sometimes I hear them hailing me on the VHF in broken bits, “ This… Beaver….69.” I respond, but they can’t hear me.
Far off of my port, so far that I can’t see it, there is an atoll called Motu One. North of me is the Marara Seamount. And in the sky there is one lone boobie circling Juniper. It must be my best friend, Pluto. If he lands aboard, I’m gonna throw him a party. I will feed him his favorite fish. I will pet his feathers and gaze into his beads. I will teach him how to play chess and how to braid my hair and we will sing love songs together. “Seabird, seabird, fly home… like a lonely seabird, you’ve been away from land too long.” You know that one? That’s what we’ll sing.
I’m moving mellow out here now. I just ate a mango and I’m really exhausted. I feel dirt and days and grit and sun, all caked onto my hot skin. I wash it, but it never feels clean, not on the boat, not underway.
I don’t want to scare you, but sometimes I find myself just staring at the sapphire, for I don’t know how long. There is a golden light illuminating from it and calling, urging, begging me to “Swim, swim, swim.” I have gone inside the cabin to get away from it. It wants me, I want it, I don’t know what else to do.
I think now I have some space to tell you about a few things that occurred over the past two weeks. I’ll keep it brief, I’ll just tell you about the boat stuff for today, but honey if you get bored, just hang up the phone whenever you feel like it, won’t offend me none….
On my first day in Bora, I discovered thousands of spiders hidden inside Juniper’s storage compartments. Big ones, tiny ones, pregnant ones! We had a battle. Me with white vinegar and a rag. Them with their webs and eight legs. I thought I had won, until I awoke with spider bites up and down my right leg. I need a pet gecko. I will name her Bittybop and she will get fatter than fat on all my stowaways.
The next day, Juniper got ravaged by a concrete pier and everyone was staring at me like I was a dogtoothed tuna. I was tied up, gathering provisions, when a ferry charges by with its massive wake and sends Juniper kangarooing all over the place, causing her best fender to break. And I’m screaming and the concrete is scratching, and Juniper’s bleeding teal, then smash, a chunk of her wooden rub rail snaps into splinters. And you really should have seen how the people were staring at me after that.
(By the way docking on those piers is like docking on broken glass and me doing it, is a spectacle of its own.)
Juniper’s damage led me to meet this cool dude, Alex. He sailed around the world twice on a 70-footer that he designed. It has gimbaled beds! Damn what I would give to sleep on a gimbaled bed tonight. Before sailing, he was a mason, and for just one day he became a carpenter, to help me and Juniper get back underway. He told me that Bora Bora is also known as Pora Pora which means “Clap Your Hands.” I thought well hells bells, flip me in a forest and call me a passion fruit, that lady in Ta’haa was right! Upon further research, I discovered that pora pora also means “time is time” in Polish. I like that. Time is time!
The next morning, I woke up to the police taking photos of me and Juniper. I was illegally anchored with a dozen other boats, but I didn’t know it was until then. I got very good at catching moorings on my own after that.
Speaking of anchoring. I have a new anchor. It’s not a perfect fit, it feels odd in my hands, and you’ve probably never heard of it, FOB Rock. Cool name right? I spent three days in an wormhole of anchor testing studies and it’s the only one I could afford that performed well. My old anchor, the CQR, gave such erratic results that it was removed from most of the studies. If you have one, throw it overboard, it’s only good for decorating lawns and sheltering fish. And mark my words, should you keep it, one day while you are sleeping, it will drag you into uncharted waters.
Anyway, the sun is gonna set soon. Gotta get ready to kiss the night. Love you. Miss you. Never give up the ghost!
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