ADRIFT

Last night was crystal and the wind a perfect patter. I saw three fireball meteors cascade like a spell, so bright and liquid and long, that to bare witness to their glamour made meteors fall from my own eyes. I watched the stars radiate the sky until sleep cocooned me and I became silk.

SLEEP Slēp (noun): A condition of body and mind, in which the nervous system is typically inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.

I don’t think sleep is the right word for what happens when I close my eyes. I think sleep is what my body wishes it was doing. Pretends that it is doing. Tells itself it is doing. But I’m always conscious of the fact that I am out here, alone, in the nectar of nature.

Nature is a beautiful beast. It is unpredictable yet patterned. It is chaos yet organized. It is merciless yet tenderhearted. It is neglectful yet nurturing. It is turbulent yet peaceful. It can be dramatic. It can be boring. It can bleed death. It can breathe life. It is Genesis. It is Extinction.

If only I could suspend sometimes from it.

Did you ever read “Into The Wild?” It’s a true story, about a guy who winters in the Alaskan wilderness. He finds an old school bus and hunkers down. He makes it to Spring, then misidentifies a poison berry for an edible one. During his slow starvation, he writes down, “Happiness is only real when shared.”

I read that book while backpacking through Alaska and one summer mountain morning, I stumbled upon a school bus. Way out where no roads go. In a place that took me 10 days to hike to. I always wondered if it was the bus, his bus, his box. How does a school bus end up that deep into the wild?

Anyways, I was thinking about that line he wrote. For the past few months, I was really feeling the weight of having Juniper on my own and of being alone on this adventure. That’s why I made myself sail to Fiji alone. I wanted to explore the emotions encompassing that further, and dissolve them at their source. I think happiness is real shared or not shared and that it’s important to be able to experience it with or without somebody. in fact, how can happiness be real when shared, if happiness isn’t real when alone. I don’t know. I could be wrong. But I feel a lot of bliss out here right now, and I’m glad that I pushed myself to be here.

My mornings look like this; I wake up, meditate, clean my teeth, clean the cabin, make coffee, put my personal flotation device on, tether to the cockpit, start the engine to charge the batteries, have a dance party, kill the engine, and step onto my front porch to play with the wind. On days with little wind or too much wind, I spend a lot of hours capturing the wind in the right way and staring at the deep in between.

I’m having a hard time finding good wind today. The squalls have abducted it. Sometimes, I am drifting. Backwards. Have been for a few hours. Becalmed in a vessel at sea. Nowhere to run to, but within.

I don’t mind being a drifter, not after I spent the night before riding a dragon. Four near gales and one gale. Back to back. What a ride!

GALE – Beaufort scale 8. Winds are 34-40 knots / 39-46 mph. Edges of crests begin to break into spindrift; foam is blown in well-marked streaks. Twigs and small branches broken off trees, progress generally impaired.

I was spindrift that’s for sure. Pieces of me scattered all over the frothing foam of water. I heard from the other boats. They had squalls all the following day as well. One boat went through nine of them between night and day.

I think when I dropped down, closed my eyes, and let the boat do whatever it wanted for those three hours after the gale, it saved me from running into more. When I woke up I don’t know where I was but I was way off course, which forced me to sail north of west, while everyone else was traveling south of west. I could see all the squalls just south of me on the horizon, but I was in place surrounded by bright sun and soft clouds and fair wind. It was dream pop.

One thing I am sore about, is that I didn’t know the gale was coming. I hired a weather router to track me and warn me of impending weather. I’ve worked with them on every crossing. I told them that I was alone, that I must be cautious of my rig, that I must know what mood the wind is in. They assured me that their eyes were all over this journey. That gale didn’t pop up out of nowhere, it takes time and distance to accumulate the power it had.

I messaged them. Told them I got nailed. Asked if they could see. “Yes, but we didn’t realize you were still that far east.”

I thought I was being monitored, I felt safer that way. To know that I’m not, has made the size of me shrink even smaller. I am a piece of sand inside a little seashell that is floating in a hungry ocean beneath a hungry sky.

Out here I’ve got either too much wind or no wind at all and my lips are licking for a Fresh Breeze (17-21 knots), that’s me and Juniper’s jam! We just love us a fresh breeze.

I just hung the Coconut Wind Goddess up in the cockpit. She is singing and the blue sky above me has become surrounded by squalls. I have wind now, but only enough to travel on a close reach, which coincidentally carries me into the only gap of blue between all the black.

That wind lasted until sunset. I just dropped the main entirely. The sky is a lollipop. Blue, pink, yellow, violet. Pluto is flying in circles around Juniper. He still cares and so do I.

Without wind or sail, Juniper is one with the swell. I am floating. I am drifting. I am bobbing. Billowing. Rippling. Rolling. When I close my eyes, I am a drop absorbed by the ocean. I am the rising of a wave. I am the rhythm of a tide. I am a reflection of the sky and I am lured by the moon. I am flux. I am the hydrogen and the oxygen. I am tropical and arctic. I was a raindrop. I was an iceberg. I fell from space. I am nothing and everything. Something! When I open my eyes, I am just a grain of sand inside a seashell, far from shore.

Tonight I will sleep, really sleep, a deep and dreamy and suspended sleep.

6 Replies to “ADRIFT”

  1. Glad to hear from you to ease our fears and once again to know you survived the night from hell. Your weather folks have always been attentive in the past. Hopefully they will be more attentive during the rest of your journey. You will always find happiness within yourself. Mom & Dad Xoxo

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  2. Olivia,
    I say this with all due respect and love for your being. Could you um…… possibly write in just a little less acid tripping lingo. 😬. It’s hard to follow you at times. 😬. Thanks. Be well.

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  3. I enjoy reading about your adventures. Do you post videos of your travels also? It sounds like you see alot of cool stuff to share. How long are you sailing for?

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  4. This should be part of a manual for would-be single handers. The weather router part was entertaining. I suspect that after you’ve been “surprised” enough by Mother Ocean’s weather patterns, you will become an expert yourself and will not need a weather router. Also, seconding Aaron’s comment above, I would love to see some of the video from this latest adventure.

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