THE ARROW-HEADED PURPLE SERPENT

This morning, while the stars still soaked the sky, I heard the blowing of a conch shell. And I’m like, “Creature of the abyss, does thy greet me, or announce thy plans to swallow me, or have I just been cursed to an endless traverse?”

I think it’s the latter. Another arrow-headed purple serpent rests not too many nautical miles north of me on the chart. He slithers at half a knot with his arrow pointing the same direction as my vessel, yet I have found myself amidst waters unfavorable to my direction.

I’m on a broad reach. My STW (speed through the water)  is 5.3, but my SOG (speed over ground) is 4.8, meaning that the current is against me. That current serpent is a liar, a thief, and a tramp. Why he’s as, he’s as, he’s as mean as a snake!

Dagnabit! The current wouldn’t effect me much if I had more wind. I’m in 10-12 knots true out here on my seashell carousel. But hey, at least I’ve got wind in my sails and the doldrums are behind me.

I kept the first reef in the main, but the jib is full. I’d probably gain a few knots if I shook the reef, but if some weather creeps up on me, the loss of my mind would be greater than the knots gained.

You know what they say, “Reef early, and reef often.” I might just stay reefed.

I’m still squeezing air out of the jib at night too. It helps me doze more effortlessly to do so. And doze I have been doing. Dreaming sometimes too, but my dreams runaway, like dreams often do. Trying to catch a dream is like trying to catch the moon.

The sun is rising in streaks of lavender and rose. Every cloud is blushing. I’m laying down on the bow, floating beneath it all, from one crest to the next.

It’s so spectacular to me how supersonic a sea change can occur. In the ocean. In life. In the mind. I must remember this. To dwell anywhere is pointless. One moment you could be in a cloudburst, the next a rush of sun. A high will always follow a low and there will be another low, but then another high.

When it comes to the atmosphere there are highs and lows and they are clashing around these waters that I sail. A high pressure system or “anti-cyclone” is made of cold dense air and brings delicious weather with weaker winds. A low pressure system or “cyclone” is made of hot less-dense air and brings the bone shaking wind and weather.

The air from the highs flows into the lows. Causing dissonance. A friend messaged and said that on her sail from French Polynesia to Fiji, they went all the way up to 10 South to avoid the high, low, high, low, high, low pattern on the route I’m on. She said it was smooth sailing up there. To go up there adds a lot of miles to the passage, but it might have been worth it, I should have done it. She also said that I should stock up on cheese for Fiji.

I found out about the cheese part too late. But don’t worry, I used to work on a goat farm, milking goats, if we can’t get cheese in Fiji, I’ll buy a pet goat and make us some. I’ll name the goat Tootsie Pop. She’ll be brown and small enough to fit on Juniper but big enough to make enough cheese for 15 people per week.

A big bubble just floated by. I wonder who that bubble belongs to. Probably the blower of the conch shell. What if it’s Triton with his fish tail? If it’s Triton, I would be like, “Dude put the conch down, I’ve got some questions for you. Now don’t lie to me, I know you have seen the Sirens. What do they look like? Are they drop dead gorgeous? Where is their island? Is it just a mountain of bones? Do they have sex with the sailors before they kill them? Or are they lesbians? Do they really ‘know all things which shall hereaft upon the earth?’ Are they…. ”

Before I would be able to ask another question, Triton would blow the conch
and call all the purple arrow-headed current serpents my direction. I’d be attacked by so many at once that Juniper would be moving sideways and backwards and heading straight for the Siren’s island, wherever that might be.

Oh, look who we have in the sky. It’s Pluto, and it’s official, my bird boyfriend, has a bird girlfriend. This is the fourth time he’s flown by with her. He’s such a Don Jaun. She’ll be wearing his favorite feather around her neck by tomorrow and by next week they’ll be fogging up the sea.

Who is gonna land aboard the next time I get into a gale? I’ll have to find a new bird or perhaps a mollusk to comfort me.

I’m long past Suwarrow Island now and I regret not going there. I read about it today. It’s an atoll that is a part of Cook Islands. It’s got a caretaker who deals with the boaters. You don’t even have to clear into Cook to visit it. Jimmy Cornell says it’s an, “idyllic place.” I knew it was just but looking at it on the chart. Next time I suppose.

I heard from S/V Wilderness. They were cruising at 10 knots yesterday and saw a whale shark. Now they are in foul weather, 25 knots on the beam with a confused sea. Nobody has slept.

I feel guilty that I’m on a pleasure stroll in the sun up here, not a dark cloud in sight. It feels like I’m sitting on a porch swing.

I got the high, they got the low.

There is a tradition of giving sailors gifts to open on specific days of their voyage. The kids on S/V Wilderness gave me letters. I opened one today. It’s from Isla. She’s 12. This is what it says.

“Dear Olivia,
Yay! you are already halfway to Fiji! I miss you so much. It has been lonely not having your funny sense of humor around! How are you? What have you been doing on passage so far!? Is Juniper ok? I really want to go surfing with you! Maybe we can catch a party wave where me, you, and Merrik (her little brother) all catch the same wave! That would be so fun right! What is your fastest speed so far?! Have you seen dolphins or rainbows? Has a bird landed on your boat? One time a bird landed on our boat and dad got to pet it, but when Merrik tried it bit him! Ha Ha! (Smiley face). I hope you make it to Fiji safely.

See you soon,
Isla

P.S. is your nail polish still on? I can paint them again in Fiji.”

I love boat kids! The letter came with a drawing of a rainbow and dolphins.

Speaking of rainbows, here’s a weather proverb for you that’s infallible: Rainbow to windward, foul fall the day;
Rainbow to leeward, rain runs away

If a rainbow is in the direction of the wind, it’s moisture will reach you. If it is on the lee side of the wind, then you won’t feel a drop, cause the shower has already passed you by.

I told you we would talk about the hole in the sky that lets the rainbows in.

Alright petunias, hope you catch the moon tonight!

8 Replies to “THE ARROW-HEADED PURPLE SERPENT”

  1. Hey Olivia!

    Not sure how your email setup works on your boat – if you’ll get this or not – but I wanted to tell you how much I’m enjoying your trip descriptions. I also wanted to point out anytime your SOG is higher than you STW you have a favorable current. Your current serpent isn’t robbing you this time 🙂

    Hope the weather continues to be pleasant and you make a speedy arrival to your next destination.

    Bill Taylor SV Why Wait!

    On Mon, Aug 16, 2021, 11:57 PM Wilderness of Waves wrote:

    > wildernessofwaves posted: “This morning, while the stars still soaked the > sky, I heard the blowing of a conch shell. And I’m like, “Creature of the > abyss, does thy greet me, or announce thy plans to swallow me, or have I > just been cursed to an endless traverse?” I think it’s the l” >

    Like

  2. a good rule for making passages without stress… never have a set destination, and NEVER have a schedule for arrival. you set yourself up for stress. JUNIPER and her safety are your only priority. without a schedule you are free. it takes how long it takes and you can enjoy every minute knowing you won’t be late for anything. your world has nothing to do with time. only the movement of celestial bodies counts NOW.
    you’ll be fine.
    aloha
    barry

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  3. Dear Juniper, Carry Olivia over the serpents below and guide her toward the rainbows ahead. Wrap her in safety and fill her dreams with popsicles and candy bars. Tell Olivia that she is a Heroine to us regular folks, the Queen of Waves, the Goddess of Pluto and that I miss her face and cant wait to have lunch with her at MOMA. Tell her I continue to send her my love and prayers each day. xx

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  4. Enjoy your adventure! Remember you will arrive when you arrive. Thanks for sharing the sweet letter from your wee friend. Mom xoxo

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  5. Re: Boat Kids . . . children raised at sea on boats sailing around the world are always next-level precocious . . . the only way to raise the young’uns.

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  6. Next level precocious indeed. Have you seen Lenny on the La Vagabonde? Proof positive. Suva Fiji is less industrial than Pago, enjoy the journey!

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  7. This landlubber feels as if he is reading words from the Queen of the Sea. I cannot imagine anything you are heading towards other than your poetic description of the scene and your emotions. I seem to recall in my literary studies that most all that I read of seafaring authors were of a similar style. Thanks to Hunter B. I have been receiving your blogs but the dry stretches in between give me angst.

    Despite my capable swimming ability, and my diving experience in Hawaii for two years, I have always been fearful of drowning. To cast myself in a nutshell on the vast ocean seems wonderfully foolish. Reading your descriptions constantly reminds me of two things: 1.After reading Chitchester’s account of his voyage around the world I told a seasoned sailor who had lent the book that I thought the would be something I could do. He was quietly gracious and neither smiled nor commented. 2. The closing refrains repeated in Odysseus regarding the “wine red sea”.

    There is no palpable reason for you to have any idea who I am, but know that I am trying to blow the needed wind into your sails and hoping for another message from Juniper.

    Like

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