I AM A LIZARD BENEATH LIGHTNING

I’m on Day 3 of 10 knots true wind or less. With the swell and sails I am making some progress. Sometimes the opposite of what I think is true, is true. Them sails don’t like to be full when the wind is light like this. You gotta reef them, especially the jib, otherwise they flop back and forth like fish lost on shore.

I’m squeezing 4 knots out of this sometimes.

Either I’m in sync with the rhythm of the ocean or this honey-eyed full moon is a doozy. The waves are low. My energy is low. The wind is low. My head is low. The clouds are low. My heart is low.

Food is unappealing. Sleep is spurts.

I am lounging. I am a lizard. I am a sphinx. I am the glass just before it breaks. The pufferfish just before it puffs. The secret just before it is told. The king just before he goes mad.

What is this I am feeling? It is dip. A depression. I don’t know where it comes from. I think it is coming from out of the ocean and into me. Ocean are you sad today? Tell me why. Have the people abandoned you? Have they forgotten your magic? Do they treat you like rubbish?

I have three riddles for you. What runs without legs? What waves without arms? What cries without eyes?

I hear a Native American water drum and a peyote song. I sing along. I like the things I hear out here. I don’t know how these sounds, these songs, these voices, get into my ears. The surprise! The sprinkle of spice.

I’m still trying to figure out how big those seas were the other day. They were as
tall as the bimini. I measured with my body. I’m 5 foot 6. They were one of me, plus a leg- and my legs are the longest thing on this body-, and then there is a about half a leg more that I couldn’t reach. So that’s like only 10 feet or something. They seemed much bigger than that. I’m gonna call them 15 or 20 feet. Just for the sake of the story.

Did you know that the crest of a wave is not actually moving forward? Maybe I told you this before. I am just so obsessed by this optical illusion. Mechanical energy, created by the wind or whatever initially caused the wave, is traveling through the ocean at the speed of the wave, but the water is not moving with it. Water molecules just go back and forth, up and down, in a circular motion! Water is just like hula-hooping around.

So let’s say hypothetically my boat has no speed, but there are waves. The wave energy passes under the boat, but once it passes, I’m still floating on the same patch of water that I was before and have only moved ever so slightly.

It’s hard to focus today. I make myself get up. I make myself pour some of the 5 gallon jugs of water into smaller containers. I make myself shower. I make myself clean the boat. I make myself sage the boat. I make myself eat; cabbage salad and some packaged Indian dish. I pretend I’m in a cafe in India. There is a picture of Kali and of course Ganesh on the wall. Incense is flowing like the peaks of a volcano. A man with a turban is playing the sitar. Woman are outside rolling under elephants to ensure the baby in their belly is a boy. I see a snake charmer just beyond them. He’s got a feisty python.

I feel better.

I don’t work on the engine because a friend messages me this, “Looks like you’ll have wind come Monday so just rest up and settle in to a comfortable tack. You’re going to have a high pressure front come over you, go SSW to go perpendicularly through it and when squalls clear, just aim as best you can for Nanuku waypoint. It could be decently shitty come next Friday…30-35.”

I don’t want to be out here until Friday. I’ve begun to ration things aboard the boat. I don’t know how long I will be out here. I don’t know if I have enough. It’s the water and the chocolate that I am worried about most.

Perhaps it is hard for me to be at the mercy of light wind for this many days. To surrender to this circumstance.

It’s 5:52 p.m. I somehow made 73 nautical miles since yesterday. I can see the peak of an island of Tonga. Tafahi is the name, I believe. Beneath the name it says (WOODED), just like that, in parentheses. So, I see Wooded.

But the wind has just died completely. All sails are tucked away. When I dropped the main I noticed that the doo-hickey that goes into the thingy-ma-bob that attaches one of the battens to the mast, is broken. I get out all of my tools and toys and spare whatzits. I make something work. I use another rigging bit with a nut on the end of it.

I’ve been wearing the extra large, faded-to-rose-red vintage Calvin Klein’s tank top for most of the voyage. It’s so soft, I adore it. By the time I’m finished with the repair the tank top shreds off my body in two large pieces that will never sew back together. I wore it to pieces! Never done that before.

I fall asleep at 7 p.m. inside of my empty bottle with no message.

2:00 a.m. I wake up. I hear wind. I get the flags flying. The wind has shifted me to a close reach. There is lightening everywhere. Jagged blue jolts of volts flying down from the enraged palms of Zeus. Dear God, I don’t want to get struck!

I’m throwing all of my electronics into the oven.

I wish it was day time. I wish someone was with me.

10 Replies to “I AM A LIZARD BENEATH LIGHTNING”

  1. Olivia, ENGINE!
    Take the oil pressure sending unit out. I’m sure it just unscrews. If oil wants to come out then you have oil pressure. Teflon tape or pipe dope required if you take it all the way out.
    Please remember if an engine looses oil pressure for more than minutes the bearings and valve train will be damaged.
    If it’s easy for you take the oil filter off and dump the oil in a clean container run a magnet through it if you get metal then that’s bad.you can put old filter back on if no spare. I don’t even know if your getting these msgs.

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  2. I wish I could be with you and or meet you in Fiji per previous plans. You are close and hope you will arrive early to mid week. Human contact and a decent meal should definitely lift your spirits. All my love xoxo, mom

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  3. Olivia, we’re with you in spirit. You are an amazing person but even amazing people have down days. As my mom always used to tell me, “it will all be better in the morning.” You’re a badass!

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  4. Hanging onto every word, Olivia! You are doing it; you can keep doing it!!! You are a strong, brave, courageous being who’s love for life’s adventure and mysteries will fuel you forward! I have faith in you and in Juniper, always! Keep the faith!!! When I’m out on the lake today with Sunny, I’ll be thinking of you and Juniper in channeling our fair winds and sunshine your way! You are my hero!!!! ❤ xoxo

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  5. It is just after 8 AM HST here. I see steady progress in Juniper moving west. You are past Samoa, due north of Tonga. Slow but steady. And yes, the seas are very much up and down. But Fiji is very much approaching.Hang in there!

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  6. Keep forging ahead, Olivia! Also, meditate twice daily and listen to good music to accompany you to your soon approaching destination:). Sorry for the loss of your favorite shirt, r.i.p. 😔 Aloha nui loa! 🤙🏼

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  7. Hang in there!!! We love your posts! Your ability to write so coherently and poetically is a global treasure! Looking forward to the posts when you reach land again soon!

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  8. Sometimes when I read your posts I feel like a voyeur peaking with one eye down through the top of a narrow bottle opening. I shouldn’t feel embarrassed but sometimes I do. I recognize all of this . . . it’s very personal, it’s the inside of your soul looking out, exposed, asking if we get it. In the end, the meanings are for you alone . . . we’ll never get it until we’re fortunate enough to find ourselves in the same bottle someday. And then, isn’t the bottle is an illusion and what you’re actually seeing is EVERYthing, the clutter gone? We should be so fortunate.

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