Last night one of my feathered friends kept flying in between the mainsail and the jib. He circled around like this seven times in a row. His wings were twice the size of his body and he is one of the larger birds I have seen out here. I kept wishing that he would land in the cockpit and sail to Hawaii with me. I would tell him jokes and teach him to play chess and read books out loud to him. And he could put his wings around me when the waves got big. And we could watch the sunset together.
But alas he eventually found a fish and flew away.
At least he flew around me a sacred number of times. Seven! My friend who is Navajo taught me the ways in which the number seven is patterned in nature. One of those ways is on the human head. Two ears, two eyes, two nostrils, one mouth. Which I had never thought about before and love. That’s seven entry points between the body and the spirit.
I saw my favorite spirit in the sky this morning, Sirius aka The Dog Star. It’s 8.8 light years away, made mostly of hydrogen, a part of the Canis Major constellation, and the brightest little star in the sky.
Scientists did not discover until more recently that Sirius is not just one star, but it’s actually a binary star system, so there is another star called Sirius B that rotates around Sirius A.
Now, while most people didn’t know there were two stars up there posing as one, this tribe from Mali, called the Dogon, have always known it. They have been worshipping Sirius B for eons. That’s where their Gods come from. They even have ancient drawings on their cliff dwellings depicting aliens from Sirius B landing in a lake near to them.
The Dogon not only knew Sirius B was there, but they knew exactly how far away from earth it was and how long it took Sirius B to travel around Sirius A. They have a big masked festival every year a rotation is completed. (I cant remember off the top of my head. I think it’s something like every 27 or 57 years.)
Everything that the Dogon said about Sirius B was proven to be true by astronomers around 1970 something.
This is why I make ethnographic films. There is so much knowledge and wisdom being lost due to our continual disconnection from nature. We have to learn from the communities who still live in harmony and symbiotically with the earth. Scientist could spend a lifetime researching something that a community like The Dogon, could know innately.
Anywho, back to the boat….
The sunrise was pale as if the night stole all of the skies color and forgot to give it back.
The sea has grown fangs and it foams and froths at the mouth. The children of the wind come at me from two angles, both behind and on the quarter of my stern. When I am in the trough of the waves they stand as high as Juniper. It is best for my mind if I just don’t look back.
Juniper fish tails and snake slides from side to side as a wave gets her from one angle and then she is quickly greeted by one from the other.
I am on a broad reach which is the best angle I can be at under these conditions.
Flyingfish are flying all over the place. The little fish are only 2-6 feet long and can torpedo across 100 feet of water by using their enlarged pelvic fins. There like little winged water rockets.
This morning I thought it was strange to have seen so many and to have not yet found one on the boat. Then this afternoon I looked out and laying on the cockpit floor was a flyingfish. It was far to late for him to fly any further by the time I found him and threw him back to sea. I wish I had found him sooner.
When I was in first grade my parents took me trout fishing. I was the only one in the family who caught one and I was over the moon. Our fishing guide said, “Just take it on over to the KFC and they’ll fry it up for ya” (Remember I’m from Arkansas). So anyway, that’s what we did and that trout tasted awful and greasy after KFC fried it up. And I cried because I had killed the little guy, stolen his last breath, and I didn’t even want to eat him. I knew even at that age that we should not take an animal from this earth if we were not going to eat it.
So by the age of 6, I was a mindless trout murderer. After that I vowed never to kill or eat fish again. I stuck to that vow for 28 years until a few years ago when my doctor made me start eating fish due to my autoimmune disease.
My favorite fish to catch and eat when I’m sailing is a Mahi Mahi. Ironically the Mahi Mahi’s favorite fish to catch is a flyingfish! There is a legend that Mahi Mahi mate for life and if you catch one, keep a hook out because it’s mate is close behind. I researched this and haven’t found any truth to it, but I like the idea.
When you do catch one, their bodies are a brilliant iridescence of purplish-blue, emerald, sea green, and gold. Once on deck they make a firework display of their colors. Like a chameleon they change from one to the next, growing bright, growing silver growing polka dots, until finally they turn a cold grey.
Speaking of cold grey, I have not worked on the engine since two days ago. I am waiting to collect all opinions, for the waves to subside, and for my energy to rise. My solar is charging the batteries nicely with all systems off. I’m almost back up to a full charge. I turn everything on twice daily to check my coordinates and make sure my compass heading is good. I leave my anchor light on at night as it is at the top of the mast and consumes 1 amp vs. the 4 that it takes to have my running lights on.
No need to fret about the engine. I will fix it. And if I don’t, it’s not the worst thing in the world. It’s a sailboat! I only use that loud thing to run the alternator and to get in and out of a slip. I am in good wind now. Moving along at a steady pace even though I’m surrounded by tall waves and carrying low sails.
*In case I don’t get it working if anybody knows somebody with a boat in Honolulu I would love to connect. Or maybe they have a tow service? This isn’t my first dance without a working engine and in the past a friend would meet me with their dinghy and I’d use it as an auxiliary to get into the slip. Somehow this will all work out. *
Today I wrote a message in a bottle that I will send out to sea in a few days. It goes like this……
You need no map. The treasure you seek is buried in your heart.
It calls to you like waves in the images of your sleep. In the meanderings of your solitude. In your stillness on a sun-drenched day. In your gazing beneath the shooting stars of night.
Can’t you hear it?
Don’t fall victim to the external voices of the world and the web of false truths your mind has spun. These only create anchors and cages that trap the song of your soul in fear.
To hear the calling of your heart you must let go of the howls of fear and get back into the bosom of nature.
Listen to the voices of the seashells, soak your skin in the dew drops of the morning, and smell the wildflowers of the forest.
Stare into the flames of fire, the rainbows of prisms, the galaxies of space, the wild waves of mother ocean.
Watch the sun rise and fall and rise again.
Roll in the grass of a meadow, crawl through a cave, climb the tallest tree of the jungle, hike a jade-colored mountain.
Kiss the snow of winter and the rain of spring.
Lick honey straight from the hive and run through the pines.
Watch as sparrows fly, horses gallop, fish swim, lizards lay, coyotes run, whales sing, crocodiles crawl, and fireflies glow.
Bathe in the light of a full moon.
Hold the wind in your hand and stare at clouds until they change shape and disappear.
Then, once you can hear what your heart truly wants, and you are most certain that it comes from the heart and not the head, then move towards it as if you are lightning falling from the sky. Let go. Let no shadow stop you. Be lionhearted.
Don’t worry about lack of gold, or time, or death. Don’t worry about what everyone else wants you to do. Don’t worry about what you think you should do. Don’t worry about anything but getting to the place your heart calls you to.
As you move towards it be grateful, be truth, be love. The deepest, purest state of love.
And I promise you that getting there will feel just like you are floating down a river.
Olivia O Wyatt
(Just a little gal from Arkansas who held onto a dream of sailing around the world for 10 years and is now halfway across the Pacific on a her first solo crossing)