This has been a religious experience, all of it. My lessons: Don’t rush this. Don’t rush anything. Don’t force anything. Don’t chase the wind. Don’t try to change the wind. You can’t change the wind, you can’t change anything outside of you. Enjoy the wind for what it is.
I spent the morning running from lightening bolts. If I was out here with a tornado, I’d know exactly what to do, cause I’m from Arkansas and I’ve been flinging myself in closets or under desks, for tornado drills, since the age of two. But I don’t really know how to protect myself from lightening when I’m sailing on a massive lightening rod and I’m the only bate around. All I know is to put all the electronics in the oven. Which is what I did. I was wishing that I could put my self in there too.
So lightning is flashing and the sky is squid ink. And Zeus is all like, “I know what you did last winter!” And I’m like what on earth is he talking about, but I can’t pay Zeus any attention because I’m jibing from starboard to port like a mad woman. I’m trying to find the right angle to escape heading further into the lightning and also stay on course.
There is no right angle, because there has been a reversal of the trade winds. The wind is blowing from the west! Only 10 knots true or less, but still, I can’t hardly believe it. I’m sailing towards sunrise instead of sunset.
I decide to move at 1 knot. Slightly west of north is the best I can do. Storms are circling all around. From every direction. But the lightening has faded. I’m in a calm patch in the center of it all. I don’t know how I got here, but I love it.
The sunrise is faceless, it’s just thick ruby-red rays shooting up above the black clouds. The rays remind me of Japan. There is even a cloud shaped like a geisha up there. Hair in a bun. Laying down. Breast up. The sky is an art museum.
I feel wind. I jibe to catch it. It’s traveling west. I ride it. It’s a dead end. I jibe back. Pluto flies by doing a bunch of his best tricks, but I can’t even be bothered. Bird boyfriends always come back when you’re super busy and so over it.
Hours go by of me chasing wind around the squalls and getting rained on. I finally catch a a good breeze, and it takes me west and continues taking me west. After days of looking at its triangular peak, I’m passing Wooded and I see sunlight up ahead.
I’m back in the wind jazz and I’m clapping my hands and jumping up and down and thanking God. Three days without it felt like an eternity.
I’ve got 12 knots true on my beam, but a purple current serpent, born while the wind blew from the west, is against me. I’m traveling at 4.5 speed through the water (STW), but have 3.5 speed over ground (SOG).
Storms catch up to me. The sea stirs. The sun runs. The wind is vigorous. I have a double-reefed main and a reefed jib. I pass north of Durham Shoals. It’s got a depth less than 98 feet. Birds and fish and waves are flying all over it. I’m thinking about the creatures under the surface. I’m wondering how the sharks and rays, with their ability to sense electricity, respond to lightning in the sky. And I’m thinking about all the creatures down there more potent than lightning; box jellyfish, dogfish, dragon fish, scorpionfish, stonefish, pufferfish.
I feel so vulnerable out here, and a lethargy mixed with a dose of fog and damp chills that I can’t shake, has taken over my body. Sleep comes often now. Too often.
I forgot to tell you something spooky. So, I don’t get emails when they are sent, because I only check them once a day. I discovered that at the exact time that I was writing that post about my dad, he was emailing me. It was the first email he has sent since I’ve been at sea. His email said, “Olivia… just a quick note to let you know I’m thinking about you and love you.” And he sent that email the same day that I heard the smoke and glass spirit voice say, “I know you can hear me. I love you. I miss you.”
The ocean is very powerful. It is a conduit. It is a healer. It is a magician. And the veil out here between worlds and time and space and dimensions, is as thin as lingerie.
The conditions are quite rough out here and day is night, but I’m making my way. I wrote down the names of some things on the chart that rest between me and Fiji. I will leave you with them; Bacon Islet, Mango Island, LomaLoma, Vulga, Volcanic Activity, Always Breaks, Toku, Hydra, Zephyr, Rochambeau, Komo, Cakau, Lasemarawa.
*Wanted to send my love and appreciation for everyone who has been messaging and commenting. Means the world to me! I especially wanted to thank my friend Kirstin from Hoonalu Voyaging, who has been sending me regular updates on the weather and hot tips like; how to make more yogurt, how to reach the navy upon arrival to Fiji, and how to sail downwind using a snatch block instead of a pole.
*Greg Cerniglia, messages are coming through. Thank you so much for all of the engine advice and thanks to all who have commented on ways to troubleshoot the engine. I must stay focused on sailing with these conditions and I am waiting on my body to gather more strength, but I will circle back to the engine, if not at sea, as soon as I hit shore. I will keep everyone updated on the latest discoveries as I go. I’m enjoying solving this puzzle with y’all!
*If you dig the ramblings of my wanderings and want to follow along on the map, click the contribution page on Wilderness of Waves, send any donation amount you desire, and my tracker password will be automatically emailed to you. Check your spam folders and/or send me a message on my sea email, if you have any issues receiving.
4 Replies to “THE SKY IS SQUID INK”
Like a pirouette dance, moving towards Suva. The effort to make it feel like progress is tiring, but you are getting there. Progress it is! The names of the atolls and tiny islands lends credibility to the notion that those who came before had the time to be imaginative on the way. A good sign. 8:20 AM here in Hawaii
transition near complete. you had a ‘normal’ life period before this but the sea pushed you into a corner you could only negotiate coming from the other side. soon you will truly find that place where ‘it’s all OK’. i can’t see a way you will ever let yourself be stuck in that corner again. the best steel must be forged in the hottest fire.
fiji will be magic.
stay aware of every detail.
yes, using the main boom as your pole to lead a headsail will definitely quiet things down. this worked especially well for them on SEA DRAGON. they did days and days with the main down and the genoa sheeted to the wide lead. like having a boat twice as wide as normal.
Olivia, I’ve been following you on your tracker and I was zooming in to see all of the places you mention. I love the name Hydra — I think that there is an island called Hydra in the Aegean Sea, too. Here is something to make you chuckle and also as it relates to a ‘Dad story’ of mine for you: Yesterday, when I took Sunny sailing, I was ready to hoist my main, but my main halyard was strongly objecting to complying. Turns out I had to go up on deck and do the ‘halyard tango’ as, unbeknownst to me, my main halyard got tangled around my forestay and also, somehow, tangled around my jib halyard. Oh boy. What a silly sight I must have been up on deck, twirling halyards around, trying to right everything. Not sure how that all came to pass, but lesson learned: I’ll be sure to check my halyards are in order before departure. As for the Dad story, when my dad was helping me step Sunny’s mast earlier this season, I expressed my concern about the halyards getting tangled up in the stays… my Dad calmly said to me, ‘Don’t worry, it wouldn’t be sailing if that didn’t happen from time to time.’ ;-D Eagerly awaiting your next post — are you feeling your appetite is better yet? Sending love and light — Chelle and Sunny xoxo
Olivia, you are definitely within reach of Fiji. Looks like a couple to three days max provided you have the wind in your sails and the storms behind you. I know you’ve got this. Xoxo, mom