I’m loosing my mind. Where is it? I left it back there with the dolphins as soon as the wind shadow hit me off of Saint Isabel Island. There I was in the New Georgia Sound a.k.a “The Slot,” making good way. I had just passed the Buena Vista Islands and the dolphins were all flipping around in my bow wake and life was so sweet, so beautiful. Then the wind died leaving me dangerously close to a little pile of wrecking rocks in the middle of the blue water.
The sails were all flapping and I was forced to turn the engine on. Those are the most dreadful sounds. The sound of the engine and the sound of sails without wind. Bashing back and forth and back and forth. It sounds like a curse from some hoodoo voodoo doctor.
I’d like a hoodoo voodoo doctor to summons the winds back for me now. He’s use the blood of a stone and a seagull feather or something cool like that. And the doc would sing a song like this, “mamamamamamammama windddddddd lalalulala shananananaaaaa.” Yea that’s right. That’s how it would all go down.
Guess what the sun was wearing today? The biggest rainbow ring I’ve ever seen. It was the size of Atlantis. I could have put an entire circus with twenty elephants between it and the sun. You know what that means…. ice crystals are up there. “A ring around the moon or sun, rain will come upon the run.” I don’t know when the rain is coming, but it’s coming.
All of my wind instruments are broken now. All of them! Even my windex- that’s the arrow at the top of the mast that points to the wind. After the wind transducer broke I was like at least I still have my little arrow up there. Then I thought what would I do if the arrow broke. And now the arrow has broken, so you know what I’m doing? I’m just sticking my head out of the cockpit and feeling the wind with my face. My face is doing pretty good. At one point I clocked the wind coming from the northwest. Just like them monsoon winds and I couldn’t believe it. There’s a ring around the sun and the wind is coming from the northwest. It makes me nervous. But my face wasn’t lying. I confirmed the wind direction with a passing ship.
All day I’ve felt like I’m sailing backwards and won’t get where I’m going until yesterday. The wind has just been coming in spurts. Testing me. Teasing me. It’s been engine on, then a little bit of wind, engine off, no wind, engine on, small wind, engine off, no wind, and so on. I’m moving at 2 knots now and I have 90 nautical miles to go. This is the longest shortest sail of my life. Slow wouldn’t matter if I didn’t need to get over to the next island so I can volunteer and witness some baby turtles hatch. There are only three nests left and nobody knows when they’ll crack. All at once. Like they do. Hundreds of little turtles running on the sand towards the sea. I’ll cry if I miss the baby sea turtle show, it’s been a dream of mine since before I was dreaming.
All of my old buddy boats are still at the anchorage with the insect children and the Stonehenge- looking surf break. They just messaged to tell me how epic the surf is. And how more friends have arrived. And how one of them speared a Giant Trevally. And how they had a massive BBQ. I could be there right now, but I’m out here because I have chosen to do this race and now I have to hustle around the world and I will no longer be living every day like it’s the 4th of July weekend!
I am conceived some ancient salt-headed sailor ghost has taken over my body and is making me do the race. I do feel possessed by thoughts of it. Do you think that could happen? I mean there is so much beyond “this” reality and we are so permeable and even more so on the sea. Also you know what is weird. In a recent blog I wrote “sun, blazing sun” or “sun, oh blazing sun.” I can’t remember which exactly, but then I kept reading on in Moitessier’s book and he has the exact same line in there, “sun, blazing sun.” That’s weird. What are the odds? I don’t even know if he’s dead or alive. Maybe I’m his puppet right now.
Anyway, let’s rewind a day or two in time. I’m afraid to tell you how dreamy the bay with the shipwreck was for fear you’ll all go there and ruin it. Don’t take that the wrong way. Please. You know how sacred something is before the whole world gets hip to it and muddies the waters. And it’s just such a magical, mystical, paradise that I hate to see it turn brown.
The place is called Roderick Bay. And it’s on the Nggela Islands a.k.a the Florida
Islands. There is spot around here called Cockatoo point, I dig that. The pass to get into Roderick is called Sandfly Passage, I dig that too. You can enter from the north or the south. I was coming from the north. Try as I might to arrive in daylight, I arrive at night. Oops, there goes my never ever ever ever.
The north part of Sandfly is the part that has the coral bommie that caused the shipwreck, so you can imagine how jittering junebug I am going into it. I feel like both the spine and the spineless and it is the darkest dark, but certain parts of the night are luminous as always, like my wake. The current in Sandfly is ripping against me from the side! It takes all my muscles to steer the ship. It feels as if a lot of creatures are underwater holding onto my rudder. Perhaps they are. Little sea nymphs and mermen.
I make my way into the bay. Dodging reefs left and right. A little dugout canoe comes out to meet me. It’s Chief John and one of his many sons. They guide me to a mooring they have built just for me. It’s hard to follow them, they are so low on the water and they have only a Tinkerbell sized light. Somehow I make it and get Juniper tied up. I can tell, even in this weary darkness, how sweet the spirits of these men are.
The next morning I wake up. I look around. There is the mountain green of shore, and two other boats- a big power boat and a catamaran, plus the shipwreck which is a monstrosity sticking out of the land. I’m looking at it all and thinking about how I’m running out of rainwater and face lotion and sunscreen and I’m wondering where I can find those things.
An hour later the folks from the power yacht come to say hi. The owner asks if I need any water for my tanks, says they can easily make a lot. I can’t believe it. Then one of his crew says she’s flying home and offers me her face lotion and sunscreen. I can’t believe it even more. Get this, she hands me the exact same scent and brand of face lotion that I’m running out of! Rosehip by Sukin. Can you believe it? I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe my life! It’s total magic! I didn’t even ask them for anything and they offered everything I needed! My thoughts are powerful right now. I must be careful what I think. I must prune my thoughts of all their weeds. I must water my thoughts. I must plant new thought seeds.
My next visitor is Chief John. He has hibiscus flowers and a fresh coconut for me. “Here is your welcome drink,” he says. I feel like some kind of a queen right now. The queen of hearts! I ask the chief what he needs. He needs a tape measure. I’ve got two, I give him one. This man is one of the purest beings I’ve ever met, such a good old soul.
The rest of the day people paddle over in their canoes with starfruits and vegetables looking to trade. In the Solomon Islands you don’t have to go to the grocery store, it comes to you. That’s a beautiful thing.
I hike a mountain for panoramic views. I swim the coast and the coral is so alive I can see it pulse. I check out the main attraction- the shipwreck- and of course I zip line off of it. It’s all a nice thrill.
The wreck is a boat called the World Discoverer. It has three levels with a blue-tiled pool and ballroom and all sorts of luxurious passenger-ship type things. In the year 2000 (I think) the captain hit the reef on the north Sandfly pass and couldn’t stop the boat from sinking, so he decided to run the boat up onto the beach. Everybody survived. It’s only partly submerged. Tree trunks with rope swings drip down into the water around it and I love all the colors on the ship created by it’s peeling paint. Beneath the water the has turned into a reef. I stare at the batfish and lionfish that live inside the reef-wreck. I can see the old engine room and smell the strong scent of diesel floating around it. Still to this day!
At night Chief John puts on a traditional dance show and feast. My favorite local food is the swamp taro fried with jungle nuts. For the traditional dance, the woman have grass skirts and cool beaded head wraps and they all have small white dots painted into patterns on their faces. They sing a song about a magic coconut crab backed by a bamboo band called “The Rattle Sounds.” I’m their number one fan now.
I meet a man who killed a crocodile. He shows me the skull. He says, “The crocodile was barking like a dog. First I hit him in the head with a rock, then I cut his legs, then I cut his tail, then I cut his head.” He tells me that they talk to the crocodiles. They say, “Crocodile please don’t hurt our friends. Please don’t bit them,” and the crocodiles listen. He also swears up and down that he once saw a crocodile stand up like a man on his back legs and tail, climb a fence, catch a pig, and run down the beach – still like a man- and into sea with the pig in his hands!
I would like to keep chatting but my freaking gooseneck just broke! That’s what holds my boom to my mast. I heard a heart-crushing sound and looked up and the boom was dangling. I won’t be able to fix it underway. I’ll just have to drop the mainsail and carry on with genoa only. The crazy thing is that the night before I set sail I dreamt that I was sailing to the sea turtles with my genoa only. When I woke up I chose to ignore the dream and hoist my main in order to gain more speed and stability. Now here I am, genoa only, just like the dream said. At this moment my reality is so surreal! Am I alive or just dreaming that I’m alive?